Discovering Openers
Was it only the little man of India?
Rajeev K Jha

The induction of Shiv Sunder Das into the Indian team in the coveted opening slot and the way he displayed both composure and determination on the seaming track of just concluded Zimbabwe tour is remarkable. In fact Das has shown that he is a man of immense promise, a precious commodity in the Indian eleven.

It’s always easy to feel pampered, on homely flat track, making hundred of runs. The technique and temperament comes under scrutiny abroad, when the rising delivery passes with a furious pace in a whistling sound within a moment, in a hundredths of second, one has to shown the class, keeping the bat straight, right footwork, heads down, eyes on the ball and ready to defend or attack, mind you this is not an effortless task, not at all. It is altogether different ball game is that, great batsman make it looks easy.

Looking back into the number of openers India has produced, Sunil Manohar Gavaskar was class apart. From Chetan Chauhan to Arun Lal, to Shastri to Srikanth to Ramesh, none of them could be defined as a complete opener. Though most of them have had spark of great batsman they were not highly consistent in terms of bearing and quelling the brunt of red-hot ball, which is the hallmark of a good opener in the longer version of game.

Abroad a very few great innings being played by Indian openers. Ravi Shastri and Navjot Singh Sidhu had wonderfully knocked out some marvelous innings. Shastri inspite of his limited stroke play was man of courage and determination and he had a right aptitude and attitude to handle the heat. He has to be given credit for showing the heart in the demanding role, and his hundred in the Barbados test 89, where he locked, stocked, and barreled the dangerous attack of Marshall and co, with élan and aplomb. Again he had shown his element in Australia, where he scripted a classic double century in the Sydney test, this is the same tour, from where Sachin built his reputation, his hundredth knock at bouncy turf of Perth along with Sydney is an epoch in cricketing history. Coming to the point Shastri knee injury didn’t allow him to run into the cricketing field, though ha had a couple of years left in him, when he called his day.

Navjot Singh Sidhu a wonderful stroke maker was also known for his confrontationist approach in and outside of the field. Being termed as stroke less wonder by Clive Lloyd. He had grown himself into the mature batsman, with an average of forty. He was more known for the destruction against spin bowling. The flip side of batting was his footwork; he always took more time to settle down. His one of the best innings at overseas also came against Caribbean’s where he made an outstanding century against their pace attack. His double ton against at a Port of Spain was more remarkable in terms of patience and concentration. Though Krisnamachari Srikanth was a fearless opener, most of the time he slaughtered the bowlers in the one -day games. He played some fine inning at he test series in 86- 87 against West Indies in India but rarely he was in the element while touring abroad. Regarding Sadgoppan Ramesh this talented southpaw from Tamilnadu has a got ample chance to explore his potential in a complete manner but most of the times he has just gifted his wicket in the corridor of uncertainty.

At the same time one has to remember that talents are in born, which comes in a relative manner. So Bradman is only one, so for Gavaskar. This is a high time for Indian selectors to take care the needs of cricketing youngsters, groom them properly for the opening slot, because you always need a solid foundation. It doesn’t matter how beautiful and expensive the house is; without foundation it crumbles down.  Hope Indian cricket doesn’t fall to those dismal levels.

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