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Consistency matters, Dada!

PTI | BySajjan Singh Thakur (HindustanTimes.com), New Delhi
Apr 06, 2005 12:13 PM IST

Technically sound batsmen can adapt themselves to all situations, writes Sajjan Singh Thakur.

"Dhoni ne Pak ki Dho Di," shrieked a colleague, laughing hysterically, as the Jharkhand boy bulldozed his way to his maiden century in course of his mammoth 148 on Tuesday against Pakistan. "India have found a Gilchrist. Will give him 10 out of 10. Whadya say?" averred another.

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HT Image

"Premature," said my mind, which, though, refuses to entertain the thought: Another flash in the pan. Truly Indian psyche. But deep down my heart, I always believe Test match temperament pays. And well. A Dravid and Laxman, though currently out of form, will tell you. Gavaskar discovered later against New Zealand in Reliance Cup, 1987 with that blazing century.

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When you are playing at the highest level, technique and solidity, coupled with consistency, take you places in both forms of the game. Only technically sound people can adapt themselves to different situations. Brian Charles Lara, arguably a better Test player than the best batsman in both forms of the game Sachin, could play at any ODI slot with remarkable ease. Technique gives you solidity and ultimately, consistency, and that assures you place in the team. Jaques Kallis is an all-rounder in true sense in modern cricket, courtesy his style, technique, temperament and character. All these have earned him -- the backbone of African line-up -- a permanence in his side.

When you lack technique, you end up doing Sourav, a very poor struggler against high-rise missiles from say Akram. Leave out Donald; he was too much for Dada, who after Akhtar, is now trying to evade press eager to quiz him on his relevance in the squad.

Though one cannot discount Ganguly's consistency that has seen him play not one or two, but at least 20-25 innings of remarkable brilliance. No one can forget his majestic 186 vs Lanka in Taunton during World Cup 1999. As he was walking back to the pavillion, Sunny Gavaskar had said, "He may have fallen short of his target (ODI record of 194 set by Saeed Anwar), this is certainly one of the top class innings of one-day cricket."

We have seen upteemth numbers of one-film wonders in our ranks a la Kumar Gaurav of Love Story fame on cricket firmament.

Kirti Azad and his ilk will be remembered for one knock here and one knock there, but one cannot tie Jadeja to Bangalore India-Pak one-dayer of 1996 World Cup. He did that on countless occasion. He revelled in shouldering burdens when chips were down. These qualities separate leaders from also-rans.

One has seen the player of a calibre of VVS slump to a new low in ODI after he led India to series win against Pak last year.

His indifferent form in Test was too much for his fans who have seen him in action at Sydney on both occasions, in 1999 and then in 2003-4.

Numerous intances point to one single and most important aspect of one-day game. It is consistency at its supreme form that keeps you going. Consistency matters for a batsman like Sachin Tendulkar too, who having given so much to Indian cricket, is never short of brickbats whenever he has failed to deliver.

So, even as one relishes the thought of Indian team 'having got a great all-rounder', in Adam mould, it will be long before this talented wicketkeeper-batsman can take his place for granted.

When I finally made up my mind to speak up, "Kucch keh nahi sakte." Will have to watch him (Mahendra) over a period of time. My friend retorted: "Premature may be. You see his first class records are impressive." The last thing said was music to my ears.

But then you do not dream international matches without considerable performances at first class matches. Do you?

Parting Note: When we talk of technique and consistency, where does Indian skipper (who should show the way) figure on a scale of 10? It remains to be debated.

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