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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Kapil's F O U R sixes

July 1990 - India under the captaincy of Mohd. Azharuddin and coaching of Bishen Bedi went to England for their 3-test tour. This turned out to be the tour where Graham Gooch had nothing going wrong.

First Test at Lords - India or Azhar put England into bat after winning the toss (Bedi would later distance himself from the decision!!!). Gooch went on a rampage after Kiran More, the Chairman of selectors of India, dropped him of the bowling of Manoj Prabhakar when he was less than 50 surely, scoring a high of 333!!!

This was the 6th highest ever test score; the Gooch/Lamb partnership of 308 was the highest England partnership v India and finally, England's total of 653-4 was the highest score against India!!! Lamb and Robin Smith also scored centuries for England.

This meant that India had to score a high of 454 to avoid the follow-on!!! Shastri and Azhar scored centuries in the reply but the middle-order (including Tendulkar) couldnt score much. Azharuddin's century is also spoken of in great delight from the sports pundits, but that is not the focus of this blog.The situation came to a point where the score was 430 for 9 with Kapil Dev and Narendra Hirwani at the crease. Hirwani was known not to contribute much with the bat. Hence, there was additional pressure on Kapil.

The over started from Eddie Hemmings (he was an old man by then as is typical with English spinners then) with Kapil on strike. In fact, Kapils mini-battle with Hemmings was the highlight of this series.The field was set in such a way that the singles could be taken easily, if required. The first 2 balls were defensively played by Kapil with no runs given away. The pressure was rising on the follow-on to be averted. Kapil, on the 3rd ball, jumped out and hit it over long-off for a six. Same followed on the 4th ball also. The 5th was more straighter six compared to the earlier 2. The last ball, Kapil just had made his decision to hit it for a 6. Hence, he pulled it away for a huge six thereby avoiding the follow-on with a 6. The importance of this was reflected in the fact that Hirwani was out in the very next over (since Kapil had not managed to retain the strike because of the sixes).

In his own words, Kapil mentioned ‘‘I wanted to deceive Hemmings, so played out the first two deliveries. He tossed up the next two, which I met on the full and hit over the top. The fifth ball, I was looking for a single, but when I danced down the track, I saw it was of fullish length and made a split second decision to loft it. The last was simply a slog. It was a very tense situation, but also great fun.’’

India went on to lose the match but it was Kapil's moments of Glory that stands out in the match that India lost. England won by 247 runs and the series 1-0.
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