August 21, 2010

Spirit now and spirit then

For those still mulling over the spirit of the cricket and the severity of Suraj Randiv's crime in denying Virender Sehwag a hundred, here's a little story narrated with glee by Bishen Singh Bedi during his memorial lecture for the late Dilip

For those still mulling over the spirit of the cricket and the severity of Suraj Randiv's crime in denying Virender Sehwag a hundred, here's a little story narrated with glee by Bishen Singh Bedi during his memorial lecture for the late Dilip Sardesai in Mumbai.

Neither Bedi nor Sardesai quite distinguished themselves as athletes and the only person more terrified than Sardesai when a catch went up in air anywhere near him was the bowler. Sardesai usually lounged about in the mid-on area, and on Australian grounds this could often be a real ordeal because the ball took that longer to reach the boundary and the chase had to be maintained. The straight boundaries at Adelaide were the worst. They are still the longest, but these days the rope is a few metres in. Those days, you had to chase the ball right down the picket fences.

Once after an Australian batsman had driven the ball past mid-on, Sardesai pursued the ball for such an eternity that the batsmen had time to turn for the fifth run. And then, with a flourish and agility his team-mates had never suspected of him, he dived forward to push the ball to the fence to restrict the batsmen to four.

The story raised the biggest laugh that evening.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

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