Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tail Enders Are Front Runners

Well, since the teams over the world resumed cricketing ties after a couple of months went off without any cricketing action, owing to the cancellation of the ICC champions trophy that was to be held in Pakistan, the game of cricket has somewhat changed with respect to tests. This is what as a cricket enthusiast I felt. It has been the tail end batsmen, who have been walking away with the honors of the game, after the known batsmen were found to make a mess of their batting. This was the thing that was observed since the Border-Gavaskar trophy 2008 that was held in India-needless to be said.

In the first test at Bangalore, it was tail enders in Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan who held the scoreboard ticking, by scoring 54 and 57* respectively, after Australia put up 460 runs on the board. In the third test which was drawn, it was Craig White who scored 43 despite coming in at no 8. Coming to the first test between India and England, it was Matt Prior, a no 8 batsmen who scored an unbeaten 53 that halped England take a first innings lead, and for India, Harbhajan Singh's 40 aided in India's mammoth run chase. Then, in the first test between West Indies and New Zealand, it was Jerome Taylor for Windies who scored 106 to help them close in on New Zealand's 365 by ending at 340.

The way the Bangladeshi batsman Mushfiqur Rahim posed problems for Sri Lanka in the second innings is still afresh in the minds of the cricketing buffs. Until Rahim was there on the crease, Bangladesh had every chance of making history in the game of test cricket. And Rahim being a no 8 batsman is a delight. In the second test at Chittagong, it was another tail ender in Mushrafe Mortaza who displayed his delight with the bat by scoring 63. And, at last we have the recent South Africa-Australia series, where it was the work of tail enders who have seen their team through when everyone had called it as "all over".

Jason Kreza's 30* & 32 in the first test, that was followed by Dayle Steyn's 76 in the second test- which involved a 185 run partnership that saw South Africa register their first ever test victory on the Australian soil. And in the third, all credit should go to the Australian tail ender Mitchell Johnson who scored a handy 64 with another tail ender Nathan Hauritz who scored 40. This laid the foundation to Australia's victory in the third test. In the very same match, Albie Morkel scored 40 for South Africa, and the match ended with South African tail enders Dale Steyn and Ntini scoring 28, which is a rather good score as far as their batting caliber is concerned. So, it would not be wrong if the tail enders be considered as front runners, who in addition to bowling (which is why they are ther in the team) could also bat.

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