It is always interesting to hear Mike Brearley deliver his views on the game of cricket given his propensity to be astutely psychoanalytic by nature. However, at the recent Bradman Oration, someone else managed to steal the limelight from under his nose.
This someone happens to be none other than Rod “Iron Gloves” Marsh – like all true blue Aussies, a man known more for his actions on the field than his words. On this night, though, Marsh came up with a concept which, if implemented, could have long lasting implications of the game – most of them for the good of it.
Marsh’s concept is simple – limit T20 to an age group of 30 plus. This serves at least two purposes – youngsters preserve their technique and raw talent to play the longer formats of the games while veterans and not so talented journeymen make their mark in the shortest format.
Given the amount of money that rides of T20 these days, not many (especially those under 30) might be open to this idea. Then again this idea definitely has merit – some of the most prolific T20 cricketers around the world are those who are past their sell-by date in other formats . We take a look at five such batsmen who can still call the shots with their range of shots in the domestic T20 leagues around the world.
Herschelle Gibbs (90 Tests, Batting Avg. – 41.95; 171 T20s, Strike Rate – 123.14) – Gibbs might have been counted amongst the batting greats of his generation had he restricted his incendiary spirit only to his batting. A batting average in the lows 40s may pigeon hole him as an ordinary player but the South Africans rightly believed in his extra-ordinary abilities to give him a chance to play 90 Tests.
And he paid his debts off quite often with some outrageous knocks that would stun the purists and enliven his admirers. The grandest of these was the indescribable 175 at the Wanderers which propelled South Africa to chase down 434 in THAT match.
But with his audacious talent came his audacity. From marijuana to drunk driving to match fixing, Gibbs has lived life in the fast lane and lived to tell a story. Most of these factors were responsible for his Test career getting cut short at 34 – an age where most batsmen of his calibre surge for the last time to produce something special. He bowed out of ODIs two years later in an exit that was as inglorious and obscure as it should not have been.
Where he has found a second wind is in the spawning T20 leagues around the world. Add his quicksilver fielding to his batting skills and you get someone who is cut out for the demands of the format. It also helps that he is a freelancer and is not bound down by trifling things such as the international calendar.