5 Players who changed the game of cricket for ever
Everyone has the potential to really accomplish something in life. Some people get entangled in the intricacies and give up without giving their full, while some others keep fighting till their very last breath. The ones that make use of their potential achieve the purpose for which they were sent to the earthly realm.
A very rare breed of individuals fully use their potential to the fullest and make a difference by revolutionising the field they work in. The same is the case in cricket.
Many great players come and go, but only a very of them make a difference and change the way the game is played altogether. And here are 5 such players:
Sir Vivian Richards
The original king of aggressive batsmen. Before his arrival, batting was basically all about playing the overs out and hoping for a decent 3-4 runs per over run-rate in limited overs cricket. And then along came this gum-chewing phenomenon, and everything changed.
The mark of good batting in limited overs cricket these days is to have scored more runs than the number of balls faced. And it was Sir Viv Richards who started this trend. Batting in the top-middle order, he wreaked havoc by taking the attack to the bowlers and hitting them all over the park.
He never showed any sign of being intimated by long run-ups and blistering bowling speeds. In fact, it was his batting that became the cause of sleepless nights for many bowlers back in the day.
His fearless style of batting was one of the biggest reasons for West Indies’ dominance in the 70s. Most remember West Indies for their pace bowling attack of the time, but it was Richards’ swashbuckling batting style that gave confidence to the rest of his team-mates – and shattered that of the opponent’s.
Pace bowling was all about pace before Wasim Akram’s arrival. The emphasis was on speed more than anything – to dent the confidence of batsmen with rib-crunching bowling speeds. Line-length and swing were also important, but they were like adornments – pace was the main criteria on which bowlers were judged.
And then this man from Pakistan showed us how the ‘line-length’ approach with balanced swing is more useful than just raw pace.
It was not that Akram wasn’t quick himself, he was. But he could have bowled a lot quicker if he wanted to, but he sacrificed pace to have the right combination of swing and speed. Almost every ball he threw swung, it was as though the balls had magnets embedded in them.
The way he placed his fingers over the ball and the angle with which he threw it made sure that the ball swung before pitching and cut after. To this day, many bowlers use this technique and have reaped high rewards off it. Irfan Pathan, at one stage, gave the impression that he was going to master this technique, but bowlers like Akram of course don’t come so easily.