June 18, 2009

India's biggest hitter?

Andrew McGlashan

It’s not been a good few days for India’s cricketers with the current crop crashing out of the ICC World Twenty20 in the Super Eights. Perhaps they should have been looking at English league cricket for the answer where Abhijit Kale, who played an ODI for India in 2003, smashed 39 off an over included six sixes in a row.

Kale was playing at Catford in London for Linden Park when he took apart bowler Damion Grosscel. The over included three no-balls and it was the last six deliveries which Kale launched over the boundary. "Never in my life have I had six sixes. I was so happy,” he told BBC Radio Kent. “"It's great to have my name associated with such a great man as Gary Sobers.”

Kale’s professional career lasted 12 years and he averaged an impressive 54.45 in first-class cricket. However, his only chance for India was a single ODI against Bangladesh in 2003 and later that year he was charged with attempting to bribe two national selectors, for which he served a six-month ban from the game.

His rehabilitation has been slow and painful but at least in the last few days he’s been the most successful Indian batsman and he is getting a flavour of what it’s like to be a star – if only for a short time. "I'm getting a lot of media attention in India as well," he said, "so of course the pressure will be there."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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