In popular perception, fast bowling is often an ode to masculinity. Its relative traits feature aggression, muscles, speed, sweat, mayhem, screams and anger. But under that external core dipped in testosterone, lies intelligence and game-awareness. The act of quickly bowling the cricket ball has to find a balance between brain and brawn and acclaimed speed merchants accomplish that.
Zaheer Khan, who retired last week, ticked most of the above mentioned boxes and India will be forever grateful to the man from Shrirampur, who ensured that the conveyor belt of speed and swing did not stop once Javagal Srinath quit. The nation will be even more indebted to Zaheer because besides the obvious strengths that he brought to the table, he made another significant contribution, which can never be quantified — friend-philosopher-guide to the junior crop.
The guru-shishya (teacher-disciple) analogy that formed the bedrock of many Indian mythical tales, finds ample expression in cricket. You don’t have to look far for that, it is within our borders and beyond too as it is common knowledge that Imran Khan groomed Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis and the trickle-down theory that spread skill and pace continued unabated in Pakistan.
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October 31, 2015