AB de Villiers : The Howard Roark of Cricketing Fraternity

And then he laughed.

Howard Roark, the protagonist of Ayn Rand’s famous novel The Fountainhead, is a brilliant architect of the modern school, whose bold and innovative designs are a matter of fascination for the larger segments of society; draws uncanny resemblances with AB DeVilliers in many ways.

Just like Roark, ABD is fiercely independent and believes in the merit of his revolutionary designs and has the courage to stand for them in the face of an antagonistic society.His 360 degrees sweeps are no less than the Enright House. The impossible !

He is a brilliant thinker and he acts on his thinking. He is true to his values, to his convictions, to his thinking, to his mind, to his self; exactly the way ABD rose to the occasion while playing a gritty match-saving 220 balls-33 runs knock against Australia. Public opinions do not matter to him. He only believes in staying loyal and challenging himself.

Roark is fully committed to the individualistic approach in each of of his designs, and he takes a laborer’s job in a granite quarry rather than compromising on his work. ABD on such lines, once being too carried away in the glitterati of the perks of this cricketing life promised himself to believe in himself and give every inch of his body to this holy game. He has not looked back ever since then. He has not changed his attacking stroke-play, even being fairly criticized at times and is a proud holder of feats such as the fastest 100 & 150 runs in the limited overs format.

You either succumb to his enigmatic charms or call him a technically flawed, over-rated and overly loved player but the former has been the case pretty much. I guess you ought to watch a game in Chinnaswamy to know his cult following. After Sachin and Kohli, he’s the most loved sport star in India. He never craved for any such prestige but his potential to hit such sky-scraping sixes and the agility to induce such vivacity on the field, makes him the winner; exactly how Roark used to do the magic via his drafting sheets.

Roark is undeterred. He’ll design anything from sky-kissing elevations to hotels to temples to gas stations, so long as he can build in his own way. So is ABD.Be it IPL, the Titans -his provincial club, his national team or the street cricket, he gives his 200% in everything and tries to execute a different game plan, with different stroke-play, just to keep himself going. He’s not afraid to experiment, backs himself and delivers. His drafts his excelling stories with his bat.

Howard was a visionary from his initial days and wanted to stay ahead of his time. So like ABD, the way he went on to represent the Proteas and then owning the game with his sheer class,is something astonishing.

Howard Roark and AB DeVilliers represent to me – Ethical Integrity. It’s just a matter of one World Cup trophy , when ABD gifts himself the Wynand Tower, the last, the tallest and the biggest skyscraper of his career and fades in the overlying success of eternal joy and glory.

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Transformers: Raw Boys to Resilient Men(Under-26)

The piece of post contains the list of batsmen who have evolved from brash and talented bunch of folks to responsive and deliverable commodities in the cricketing household. Watch for these guys in 2015 (in all formats of the game) as they get transformed to real men,who now possess the ability to read the game and turn it single handedly through their sheer passion and commitment.


  1. Kane Williamson [24 years 120 days]
    New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson is one of the brightest sparks in the game today, and it should only be a matter of time before Williamson goes on to engrave his name among the likes of kiwi greats -Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe.He has scored over 2600 runs from 34 Tests at a scintillating average over 40 .Without any elementary doubts,Kane is one of the complete players of modern day era. He already has made his way into the list of Top 10 New Zealanders to score most Test centuries for his country.With 7 centuries, he is next only to Sir Donald Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar and Sir Gary Sobers as a batsmen with most 100+ scores before turning 24.

    Williamson kick started his Test career by scoring 131 in his maiden Test innings against India in 2010 to become only the eighth New Zealander to score a century on his Test début. Later in 2012, he went on to play a match-saving unbeaten 102 in the fourth innings against the mighty Proteas.In the recent times after taking on the manhood in 2014,in his second tour of the West Indies in June 2014;Williamson finished as the top run-getter with 413 runs, including two hundreds that contributed to a historic series win for the kiwis.

    The innings of 192 against Pakistan is by far his best knock that reflects his character.Take a bow for that ! Williamson’s batting has reassured the team management, here’s a batsman who’s not just good enough in one format, but an asset who can bat classily at the No 3 position across formats.Kane averages over 40 in both Tests and ODIs.

    Williamson can well be compared to Virat Kohli, in terms of pacing his innings .He times the ball to perfection and is effortless in finding gaps. Williamson is rock solid and calm in everything . He not only defends sublimely but attacks with absolute control as well. His fastest CLT20 ton (of just 49 balls)playing for Northern Knights is the prime example of his adaptability,embracing the change of format.

    He is the complete man and the most apt batsman to endorse Raymond clothing.

    Kane Williamson - A legend in making.

    Kane Williamson – A legend in making.


  2. Steven Smith[25 years 187 days]
    Capable of taking the attack to the opposition, never say die spirit and giving more than 100%in every game that’s what Steven Smith is all about.Smith is currently one of the finest fielder out there and the most innovative batsman as well.He came into limelight in the first innings of the last Test of the 2013 Ashes Series at The Oval,where he scored his maiden hundred,reaching the total in style by hitting a six off a spinner.Then in 2013 at Mohali, he demonstrated his true grit by absorbing the pressure and delivering at a crucial stage.Smith’s 92 was a message to the world that he is a dark horse who can take on the bowlers outside the sub-continent as well.

    Currently,he is proving to be a captain’s nightmare.After his back to back match winning knocks against the Proteas this is what ABD had to say-“You’re going to have to work hard for your wickets, and if you get a busy cricketer at the wicket it makes it very difficult for you to control the innings, to keep your rhythm and just to pace it a little bit better. He makes it really difficult for us in doing that “In the T20 format he is the go-to man for Rajasthan Royals.Smith is in such impressive touch across all formats that he should enter the Test series against India as Australia’s most in-form batsman.He has provided an example of how to grasp technical and mental maturity.Smith at the moment is the potential successor of Michael Clarke.

    Steven Smith- Future of Australian cricket.

    Steven Smith- Future of Australian cricket.


  3. Gary Ballance[25 years 14 days]

    His back to back tons at Lord’s and Rosebowl has not only made him earn the emerging cricketer of the year award but he has made him worthy enough to
    fill Trott’s shoes with extreme efficiency. The heavy built Zimbabwean born southpaw is only the third English player to have scored hundreds in his first two
    Lord’s Tests, after Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott. He is an exception catcher as well.He understands the importance of his wicket and the that’s clearly evident from the fact that he likes to spend time on the crease and tries to capitalise as much as he can. Currently Gary averages 61 from his 8 Tests. Watch out people. Be scared ! Very very scared of Gazza in the years in come.

    Gary Ballance- Lord of the Tests.

    Gary Ballance- Lord of the Tests


  4. Quinton De Kock [21 years 35 days]

    This boy has certainly come of age over the past few months.
    At 20,De Cock became the first Batsman in the ODIs to hit 3 centuries from 3 matches in the series.What made it more special was that De Kock had managed a 100% conversion rate from his fifties to hundreds;that showed no sign of ending, even after he turned 21.Quinny is equally a handy customer with the gloves as well.He is the fastest to get 50 dismissals in ODIs and 6 dismissals in a game.Also,he holds the honour of being the fastest to score 1000 runs in ODIs.

    “He plays a bit more fearlessly, takes on the bowling upfront and then settles in and gets the big runs. Quinny is a fearless cricketer but at the same time he is quite intelligent with the way he goes about his business. But he probably doesn’t think about the game as much as the other guys which is a positive.The way Quinny plays has been very refreshing for us. He can obliterate any bowling attack.
    He is going to be a superstar”  -Amla on Kock.

    Quinton De Kock- The mini dynamo

    Quinton De Kock- The mini dynamo


  5. Ahmed Shehzad [23 years 13 days]
    The Kohli look alike is held in high regard in his country and is the most promising youngster out of the lot.Currently he averages 48 and 34 in Tests and ODIs respectively. Shehzad was exceptional with the bat against the mighty Ozies in UAE in 2014. His knock of 176 was by far his most composed innings. He has a lot to offer to the green caps.The gritty stroke maker is hopeful in ending his nation’s quest for a quality batsmen.

    Ahmed Shehzad - The Green Sparta

    Ahmed Shehzad – The Green Sparta

Lance Klusener – The real badass of South African cricket

Sundays are the days when I am at peace with myself especially during the afternoons. Today is no exception. As I lie down, I just close my eyes; let myself wander into the memories of good old days.

As a 90’s kid in India with cricket flowing in the arteries, it meant everything to me and it still does. Within no time I see myself playing cricket cards and I can tell you there isn’t a better sight holding the player’s card you love. The actual superheroes and sci-fi stuffs had no room inside my heart instead Sachin was my superman, Bevan the He-man and Klusener- the Batman.

Lance Klusener -My Batman

Lance Klusener -My Batman

Before the joyous moment transcends, I think it is time to get up and capture it through my pen and share the reason why this person on the card is so legendary.

Born and raised amidst the Zulu tribes of South Africa, this naive country boy ended up becoming the classiest all rounder of my era .Without bothering much about the perks of the game he did his job on the 22 yards battlefield and merrily returned to the dressing room like a shepherd would do after the dusk. He had a powerful and an intimidating character, the kind a real fighter should possess and was rightly called as the ZULU WARRIOR.

It was primarily during his military services days (after school) that he started to like cricket and drew everyone’s attention. The combination of upbringing and three years in the army contributed to a straightforward approach in his bowling – Hit the batsman’s head if you can’t hit his stumps. That was the exactly the kind of temperament Malcolm Marshall (who at that time was in charge of revamping the South African cricket at the provincial level) was looking for.

Within no time he  flourished under Marshall’s guidance, established the reputation as a man for a crisis and made his test debut in the mid 90’s as number 11 who could bat .He was a revelation as he scalped  his career best figures of 8/64 Vs. India  in that game. Zulu never stopped attacking as a bowler, the kind of exact stuff you would expect from a Marshall prodigy. He belonged to those rare breed of cricketers who not only delivered but conquered at the same time. Sadly he couldn’t last much as a Test bowler .Due to a serious ankle injury in 1998 he was forced to drop his pace and he started to focus more on his batting abilities.

He could infuse life into a match any moment by changing the dynamics either by his hasty striking abilities or by his fierce medium fast bowling. It was the 1999 World Cup where the warrior showed his real all round talent to the world. Every game he would walk in, finish off his task, go back, and behave as if nothing great happened. He swung match after match South Africa’s way: 52 off 45 balls turned the tables on Sri Lanka at Northampton; 48 off 40 sealed England’s fate at The Oval; 46 off 41 pulled the game with Pakistan at Trent Bridge from the fire.

In nine matches, the southpaw smashed 281 runs off 230 balls, without giving off his wicket. Majority of his World Cup runs came in front of square on the leg side, the area I personally like to hit in the most as well. Those hefty pulls and rock solid punches over deep mid wicket felt same to me as a teenage girl in India would feel after meeting Shah Rukh Khan. He claimed 17 wickets (18 had not Herschelle Gibbs dropped Steve Waugh) and his fielding was equally applaudable in the tournament.

However, more than the runs he scored the condescending disdain that he showed towards the bowlers in the death overs in that World Cup was a lesson in slaying on a cricket field. Well that’s Lance Klusener for you – crude, honest, and an entertaining game changer to be precise.

Zulu hitting a shot in his favourite zone

Zulu hitting a shot in his favourite zone

But the most iconic game in that World Cup or rather his entire cricketing career for which he’ll be remembered for his lifetime would be the second semi-final that was played between Australia and South Africa in Edgbaston, England.

A target of 214 to chase in 50 overs was on the cards for South Africans. Klusener came into bat when South Africa was 175–6 in 45 overs. Courtesy his big-hitting South Africa entered the final over at 205/9 with 9 to win off the last 6 balls. The two men at the crease were Klusener (on strike) and Allan Donald. Klusener scored consecutive fours in the first two balls of the over hammering Fleming through the deep cover boundary, levelling the scores and leaving South Africa with only 1 run to win off 4 balls with Klusener on strike. Donald survived the third ball with a missed run out chance at the non striker’s end .The fourth ball witnessed Klusener miss-hitting his shot to mid-off fielder Mark Waugh. Klusener went for the run, although the chances of a run-out were high and two balls were still there in the kitty. However, Donald at the other end didn’t see Klusener sprinting down the pitch for a run, and Klusener was almost at the bowler’s end by the time Donald (who had also dropped his bat) began running. By then, Waugh had thrown the ball to Fleming, who rolled it back to Adam Gilchrist who took the bails off at the other end, meaning Donald was run-out by some distance, thus ending the match with the scores level.

However, a tie meant that Australia progressed to the final since they had beaten South Africa in the group stages of the tournament. As Bill Lawry put it during the final ball:

“…this will be out surely – oh it’s out, it’s gonna be run out…oh, that is South Africa out – Donald did not run, I cannot believe it. Australia go into the World Cup Final – ridiculous running with two balls to go. Donald did not go, Klusener came – what a disappointing end for South Africa.”

South Africa choking in the semi-final. Eruption of joy for the Australians

South Africa choking in the semi-final. Eruption of joy for the Australians

SA lost their nerves when it really mattered and Australia went on to win the tournament. From there on they have inherited the tradition of choking at the crucial moments but that jinx has finally been broken by their under 19 lads. Although Klusener’s heroics went in vain that day but there was a silver lining attached to it. He went on to win the Player of the Tournament and the number 1 spot in the ODI batsmen rankings. At the press conference Zulu justified his strategy-“I always try to finish games with six balls to spare, because if there is a cock-up, the people coming in get a chance to do something. If you leave it to the last couple of balls then it can go anywhere.” – Lance Klusener

Lance Klusener -the Man of the Tournament 1999 World Cup

Lance Klusener -the Man of the Tournament 1999 World Cup

Whenever I think of Lance Klusener, I think of a swashbuckling Sparta who could slit the enemy’s throats with his all-round brilliance. His stance in particular was the most fascinating trait about his bowling. It made me go bonkers in my childhood. His calm straight head just before the delivery reminded me of a Hit Man, who was focused with a single point agenda of Killing the opponent. I can ape many bowling actions but the coolest of them is still his’. It fetches me wickets every time.

His batting style was equally stylish. From the way he would walk out to bat carrying that 2 kg wooden log, the opposition knew that he wasn’t a rookie to be messed with. He looked like a hybrid of a baseball player, a ninja fighter and a professional lumberjack. The army cut hidden under the helmet, the muscular frame veiled by the green and yellow oversized baggy shirt, the nonchalant biting of the chewing gum and the monstrous back lift added to the menace of the beast that he was.

I somehow have a fascination about the term “slogger” .Viru was called one, KP also at times and Zulu wasn’t an exception. Please can someone tell these mad critics that being aggressive isn’t about slogging? Though he never gave a rat’s ass about what those experts had to say, he mockingly replied once -” You see me hitting the ball out of the ground, but I hit hundreds of those in practice. It may look like a good shot, and it is, but you have practised it a hundred times before the game…” It isn’t luck always. Of course cricket is about luck at times….Balls go in the air and fall in gaps, but hitting does not just happen. You have to learn to improvise and swipe – and be at peace with what you do.”

He was as calm as a cucumber off the field .He would often read a book before he entered the battleground to bat no matter what the situation was and rescued his team time and again from improbable positions. According to him aggression was something to be shown on field only not in life and never took anything personally.

Post World Cup his bowling hit a rock bottom with some mighty injuries. Differences with the skipper and the rise of young talent like Kemp and Kallis doomed his career. “To be honest Lance, as fantastic as he is…can sometimes ruin a team and termed him as a DISRUPTIVE FORCE. His ability as a cricketer is very good, but his ability as a team man is not very good and he kind of can infect a team and bring down the youth…” – The 22-year-old Graeme Smith explained Klusener’s exclusion after he took over.”

Well whatever Smith, I still love him as I did in the 90’s He is definitely one of the most calculating hitters the game will ever see and you know it Biff! His excellent  strike rate while bowling and batting  and an ODI batting average of 41.10 definitely ranks him among the finest all rounder to have ever graced the game.

Lance may you live long and prosper. You are still an adorable bad ass.
Hail Zulu !! #MyRealBatman

Murali Vijay spotted playing squash, gets a call from Big Boss!

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With the competitive South African tour lined up BCCI decided to give more match practise to the players and made the practise sessions mandatory to attend. When enquired about the unavailability of Murali Vijay and Ishant Sharma by the coach in the very first session, it was told that they couldn’t make it as they were still under hangover from the last night’s party which apparently they both had thrown to each other after their unexpected inclusion in side for the African tour.

As if they mattered much, Duncan decided to proceed with the session. The very same evening when he saw Vijay working on his technique in the free time instead of watching John Terry’s (who seem to be his role model) game, raised some concerns in his mind. Something was seriously wrong.

The next morning when Vijay was found absent for the practise session making it two in a row, Duncan decided to turn himself into a detective and finally got hold of him. Vijay was spotted in the club area practising squash with the song “Bhaag DK “being played in the loop. Now this was a major development in the Murali Vijay case considering the fact that Duncan could understand Hindi after spending so much time in here and “Bhaag” was something provoking.

The unreal times of India added fuel to the fire with an eye catchy headline-” Dinesh Karthik engaged to India’s sensational woman squash player Dipika Pallikal.” Duncan finally figured out the gist of the scenario and tweeted “It’s like watching #The Game of Thrones in the Indian dressing room. By the way everything is fair in love, war and cricket. Beware #Dinesh- for the second time! Some one is trying to squash you again man”

To that, once bitten DK posted “Tension illa guru”.

Soon with the tweets going viral, the Indian media got involved. Now this was some serious masala stuff .Tarun was no more in the radar. Vijay had become everyone’s eye candy and an overnight star for whatsoever the reasons were. He was declared as the brand ambassador of Sun TV and was offered to be a part of Tamil version of Big Boss, which apparently he declined. According to rumours he wants to make it large and is waiting for a call from Colors for the Big Boss season-8.Looking at his current form in cricket, his availability for the show won’t be an issue l guess.

Tejpal thanked him personally on twitter and promised to put the trio -Dinesh, Dipika and Vijay on Tehelka’s next cover.Meanwhile,a ray of hope emerges for the in-form Ranji’s Bradman -Wasim Jaffer but selectors are most likely to give him Babaji ka thullu considering  the fact that age is not just a state of mind for them.

Disclaimer – It’s a fake write up. No offence to anyone.