Rahul Bhattacharya’s piece about Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the November issue of The Cricket Monthly is full of highlights, not least because a man who is himself one of our favourite cricketers also seems to revere exactly the same players we do.
He describes how Brian Lara would sometimes put spin on the ball with his shots to evade fielders and then at other times wouldn’t, depending on where they were positioned.
There’s also a fantasic quote about the challenge of facing Wasim Akram:
“After looking for swing-swing-swing all of a sudden I saw a ball on my face.”
However, our favourite moment is the way he tells another Wasim Akram story and more specifically how he punctuates it.
“Wasim bowl a few that went across him. Hooper normally play bat-and-pad, but he left a little gap just enough for the ball to pass through. Wasim had a look at him. Then Wasim had one go back through that little gap and hit them stumps. That is how good this guy is. Wasim is an unbelievable bowler. Wasim Akram.”
That’s how you end a cricket anecdote. You say the name of the player as if you’re ending a prayer.
That Shivnarine Chanderpaul, he’s one hell of a guy. Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Because surely you are. Australia are 136-5 in reply to Pakistan’s 570-6 at the time of writing. Younis Khan is averaging over 200 in the series. Unless this current partnership really goes somewhere, that’s better than Australia’s top six combined.
But never mind unheralded Pakistani bowlers ripping through top Test teams. Time was, they had incredibly well-known bowlers who ripped through Test teams. Wasim Akram is our second King of Cricket for All Out Cricket.
Fidel Edwards has mostly been bowling at James Anderson’s head of late. Edwards appears to have some sort of a problem with the Lancashire bowler, giving him a mouthful once every few balls and bowling about 5-6mph quicker due to the adrenaline.
When these sorts of duels get personal, it always reminds us of the best line in Mike Atherton’s autobiography, Opening Up. Whenever England played Pakistan, Atherton’s ex-Lancashire team mate, Wasim Akram, used to bounce him.
“You and Wasim must have really fallen out,” England colleagues would say, “because he always bounces the shit out of you.” Atherton wrote that in fact he and Wasim were and remain the best of friends, “but for some reason he always seemed to bounce the shit out of me.”
Edwards would probably do well to cultivate some sort of feud with an England batsman from further up the order, because it seems to bring out the best in him.
Rumours that Anderson accused Edwards of being ‘a stumpy little gaylord who looks like he wears false eyelashes’ are entirely unsubstantiated and quite possibly fabricated.