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In his column for Wisden India, Saurabh Somani pays tribute to former BCCI secretary Jaywant Lele, who died on Thursday, and recounts an evening spent with one of Indian cricket's most colourful characters, listening to anecdotes.
Over the course of conversation with Lele, it struck me that his yarns would best be enjoyed with a glass of whiskey, rum or whatever else your chosen poison was, sitting around a fire, and listening. He was a mine of information, he was enthralling, even occasionally amusing, and he forced you to be a good journalist, not reporting verbatim but sifting fact from fiction and getting dates and names right.
What do you remember of the great bowling spells you have witnessed? According to Andy Bull, our memories of great bowling spells are not so much the exact details, but the unexpected impressions, born from being swept by the adrenaline and energy at the ground. In his column for the Guardian, Bull writes about how he will remember Stuart Broad's memorable spell at Chester-le-Street.
The jaffa that Stuart Broad delivered to Michael Clarke on Monday evening will last. But not so well, in my mind, as the loud thump of Brad Haddin's bat as he dropped it, like an axe into a stump, on the yorker Broad sent him as a welcome to the wicket. It was so fast and forceful that the sound echoed around the ground like a gunshot across a moor. Or Broad's anger when he was told by Alastair Cook that the bad light meant he would have to come off. And how he was led, almost by the hand, away to mid-off, like a boxer ordered by the referee to stand in the corner while his opponent took a 10 count.
The last time an Australian touring side was 2-0 down after three Tests in the Ashes was in 1977. By the end of the series, which England won 3-0, Wisden would go on to describe their cricket as a 'very light shade of grey'. Neil Clark, in the Spectator, reminisces about the strange summer where he rooted for Australia in spite of being a Brit (a following based on his love for the underdog) and found a hero in former Australian opener Ian Davis.
In cricket, supporting the underdog meant siding with Australia when they came to contest the Ashes in Britain in 1977. I had cheered on England in 1975 against the Australians and in 1976 when they took on the West Indies. But in the summer of 1977, I kind of fell in love with the Australian team. Everything was against them.