India Uncut

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Monday, February 21, 2005

See my shoes

I made an unscheduled visit to my office yesterday afternoon, and guess who dropped in.

So where am I in this picture? Well, with atypical modesty I decided not to thrust my way to the front, and I've ended up as the bobbing head behind Mohammad Kaif's shoulder. Of all the shoes in the picture, though, my shiny ones made arguably the greatest impact.

For those interested in seeing what Cricinfo writers look like, this is the line up: Left to right, Rahul Bhatia, Chandrahas Choudhury (standing), Anand Vasu (sitting), Rahul Dravid, Mohammad Kaif, my head, Sambit Bal, Mangesh Zemse, Leslie Mathew.

Dravid was kind enough to face up to a few balls in the corridor, and I am proud to say that I bowled him twice in a row. After the second time, beaten by sheer pace, Dravid exclaimed: "You guys allow him to bowl like this?" Somebody murmured "Shoaib", and I slunk off embarrassed.

Lest I become known as a cheat, let me explain. We play on a 9-yard pitch with rubber balls that are slightly less hard than the rubber balls one normally plays with. This means they can be squeezed a bit before release. So what I do is, using two fingers, squeeze the ball tightly and impart tremendous forward-spin on it, which makes it accelerate through the air furiously as the spin kicks in. My arm-speed and velocity of elbow-straightening – for we all chuck – are less than any of my colleagues, and the finger-spin does the trick. I often have to restrain myself and bowl slower – my legspin is especially docile – but bowling at one of the best batsmen in world cricket, I suppose I got carried away and let it rip.

Lest all this be misconstrued as a boast, let me confess that I am as out-of-place at regular 22-yard cricket as Parthiv Patel would be in the NBA. But I do have shiny shoes.
amit varma, 2:21 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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