18
Sunday
February 2018
6:24 AM IST
News Headlines
Home   | Main News   | Kerala  | National   | International  | Business   | Sports   | Entertainment   | Columns   | Offbeat   | About Deepika 
Sports News
Centuries of non-violence from Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay at Kotla
 
(New Delhi, Dec 02, 2017):It was just around the time dusk was slipping into the Kotla and the floodlights glimmered into life. Just five overs remained for the day and the gallery was gradually clearing out. Then the out-stepping audience paused and pondered. On the screen flickered Murali Vijay’s it-can’t-happen-to-me-again gaze. The next frame showed his back foot stranded slenderly outside the crease. He plodded to the pavilion, gazing pensively at the skies – detachedly raising his bat, as if his mind was dwelling elsewhere.

His mind might have been rewinding the whole sequence back and forth. The delicious flight of Lakshan Sandakan, the unexpected wrong one, the instinctive lunge and the forward momentum dragging the back foot out of the crease, crushing his hopes of an elusive Test double hundred. It was the fourth time he was stumped in Tests, but this might have been easily the softest. He was still 45 runs away from the milestone, but this was the second straight chance he’d blown up in the space of a week, after his 128 in Nagpur.

The popular sentiment could be, so what? He had after all scored 155 of the most delectable runs you could see on a contemporary cricket field, or 155 of the most non-violent runs your eyes will behold. He had put his team in a commanding position — 371/4 — with the help of Virat Kohli. Even Vijay himself would have gleefully taken this score if someone had told him that he would score these many runs before the match. But try selling these arguments to a batsman -retrospectively he might feel satisfied, but still there could be a tinge of regret cringing deep in his mind.

The way he batted after completing his hundred made it evident that he had his eyes set on a return bigger than a century or 150. He wasn’t overtly cautious — that too is equally self-detrimental — but was more judicious. But his peculiar problem is not an immediate lapse in focus after reaching three figures, as several other batsmen are prone to, but soon after he goes beyond 120. In fact, as many as six of his 11 hundreds are between 120-150.

Admittedly, he begins to feel a little twitchy, a touch distracted and then a sudden onrushing of madness. It was a trait that irritated former Tamil Nadu coach WV Raman, who used to shout at Vijay, “You scored a hundred, but look where your team is.” But Raman knew that the criticism was only constructive and would stoke his hurt pride. There are also unverified rumours about him instructing the scorers to not move Vijay’s score after he crossed the three-figure mark.

Those words must have been ringing in his mind when he resumed after a lengthy celebration routine — he slipped into a disco move and blew flying kisses at his wife and children, seated in the stand above the dressing room. His face flashed a content, disarming smile. Bland as the Sri Lankan bowling was, he just needed to keep the temptations adrift, and a double hundred was up for grabs.

Starting from scratch

Determined, he began as if he was starting from scratch. Never was there any penchant to impose himself on the bowlers — Kohli any way was doing it at the other end — or the tendency to do something fancy, a cute little reverse-paddle apart. Strangely, it’s a shot he has nuanced post his IPL heyday. Unlike in Nagpur, he didn’t even step out to the spinners. Perera had floated a few invitingly at him, but he was in no mood to fall for those.

A single here and a two there, a couple of measured leaves, a brace of gorgeous cover-driven fours off Perera when the ball was really full (and not even on the rise) and the inscrutable forward defence, he saw through the tricky post-120 phase and shortly reached 150, with a single through cover. His celebration was rather muted. Maybe, because he knew he had perished in the 150s twice. He’d painfully add a third to the list.

Then even in domestic cricket, he hasn’t been a voracious plunderer of double centuries. He has crossed it only three times in 104 non-Test innings. In that sense, he can glance envyingly at the staggering conversion rate of Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli. Of course, both of them are not exposed as much as Vijay or other openers are to the perils of the new ball, but they have been ruthless in this regard. Pujara has three (and a record 12 in First-Class cricket); Kohli has a remarkable five. And if he bats as comfortably as he had on Saturday, a sixth is round the corner.

But Vijay is a self-confessed optimist. When the disappointment sinks in, he’d see the glass half-full. Or like he had said in Nagpur, “keeping waiting for it.” When, and if it eventually comes, it could be the most glorious of double hundreds.


India vs South Africa, 6th ODI: India ride on record-breaking Virat Kohli to win series 5-1
Aussies defeat England in record highest T20I chase
Relentless India eye 5-1, South Africa aim consolation
Vijay Hazare Trophy: Kerala boost qualification hopes with huge win over UP
India women look to continue dominance over SA in 2nd T20
Six teams for T20 Mumbai League
Duminy to lead South Africa in T20 series against India
It's our biggest overseas ODI triumph, Rohit on SA win
Rohit Sharma on India's win against South Africa
Superb India clinch first ever series in South Africa
Duminy to lead South Africa in T20 series against India
Dipa Karmakar ruled out of Commonwealth Games
India renew pursuit of history, SAfrica hope rally continues
Steve Smith wins second Allan Border medal; Ellyse Perry bags Belinda Clark Medal
Family affair as Serena makes long-awaited return
ISL: Marcelinho puts Pune City on the brink of play-off qualification
La Liga: Cristiano Ronaldo scores hat-trick as Real Madrid warm up for PSG with big win
India vs South Africa, 4th ODI: Proteas steal India's thunder to make it 1-3
India eye milestone win, South Africa hope for revival
Sindhu wins again but India lose 1-3 to Indonesia
KERALA NEWS
Private bus strike: KSRTC emerges winner, collects crores
 (Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 17, 2018, DG): KSRTC buses have brought in record collection as the  
Policeman found hanging
Shuhaib's murder: Six in police custody
Cracker factory accident at Pathanamthitta: 2 dead
INTERNATIONAL NEWS
FBI warned about Florida gunman but failed to act
 (Florida, Feb 17, 2018):The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said Friday that it receive
Turkey seeks 18 years jail for German-Turkish journalist
Thailand decorates Myanmar's army chief amid Rohingya crisis
Pakistan claims destroying Indian Army post, killing 5 soldiers
NATIONAL NEWS
Indian Banks Association discusses PNB fraud
 (Mumbai, Feb 17, 2018): The apex body of bankers today met here to discuss the Rs 11,400-cro
Former union minister Ponnusamy joins BJP
CBI arrests 2 PNB officials, searches Brady Road branch
India, Iran ink 9 pacts after ‘substantive’ talks between Narendra Modi, Hassan Rouhani
Untitled Page
Rashtra Deepika LTD
Copyright @ 2017 , Rashtra Deepika Ltd.