Cricket Uncut

A group blog run by professional cricket writers from across the world

Friday, March 11, 2005

Sir George Balaji

This first appeared on Cricinfo's Plays of the Day.

"Bala, Bala," a few members of the sparse crowded chanted when L Balaji walked out to bat. After he'd hit Shoaib Akhtar for six last year, John Wright had written on his bat, "to the next Black Bradman". Here, he played out a couple of overs from Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, before finally getting a full over against Danish Kaneria. What would happen? Would Kaneria beat him in flight, or with a googly? Would Balaji try to tonk him out of the ground?

First ball, Balaji steered it to third man for four. Not entirely intended, perhaps. Next ball, dot. Third ball, a two to midwicket. Surely he was getting impatient. Then, a lovely square-drive for four, backward of point. Then he played forward and was beaten by a legbreak. Last ball, fullish in length. Balaji played a majestic off-drive, that evoked memories of, well, what Wright had written in jest on his bat.

"You can call me George," he must have said to himself. "George Balaji."
amit varma, 11:51 AM| email this to a friend | permalink | homepage