India Uncut

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

How to perform a prodigy

Bowl like Venkatesh Prasad. According to the intro of this piece, Prasad was "a bowler who had the skill sets to perform prodigies." I can't think of anyone else who can "perform prodigies," whatever that is.

Actually, what really caught my eye about that article was a comment at the bottom where someone says, "Bring more muslim fast bowlers, they don't get scared." This reminded me of a chat I had in 2001 with a national selector. We were speaking at a function in Mohali the evening before the Test in which Iqbal Siddiqui made his international debut, and I asked this selector about what had attracted them to Siddiqui.

"He is a Muslim," the gentleman said.

I almost dropped my drink. "What?"

"Yes, you see, Muslims are better fast bowlers than Hindus. Look at Pakistan's fast bowlers vis-a-vis our boys. They are more aggressive. They eat meat. They have more killer instinct. So we picked Siddiqui."

I won't reveal the identity of this gentleman -- he is no longer a selector -- but cricket journalists who were reporting in those days will instantly know who I'm talking about. As it happens, I rather liked Siddiqui's bowling, and I think all the Muslim fast bowlers who went on to play for India made it entirely on merit. Still, this is what the guy said. And he was a selector.

(Link via email from Sanjeev Naik.)
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