Cricket Shots: Where Skills Meet Beauty
Harsha Bhogle once rightly remarked:
Cricket is a beautiful metaphor for life.
How true that line is! Cricket is an art form that has beauty in every aspect of it. Whether it is a straight batted shot from the willow of the Master Blaster or an outrageous heave, you will always have something to admire about a cricket shot. I wonder what is it that makes these shots so enthralling to watch, so exhilarating to ponder on and so hard to forget. Is it the technicality that is involved in it or just the power that the batsmen generate?
For instance, watching Rahul Dravid play that majestic cover drive is just a treat to the eyes but the hard work that goes in perfecting that shot is just immense. He drips buckets of sweat, seldom looks to be effortless hitting the ball and he never takes it easy. When he plays the cover drive, it is plain to see that he has practised the same shot in the nets on countless occasions. He is a perfectionist when it comes to the execution of cricket shots and that’s what adds to the beauty of his strokes. The hand and eye co-ordination that is involved in executing a cricket shot indeed amazes a layman.
Imagine Brett Lee charging in at you like a raging bull and hurling the red cherry at speeds of 150 kmph+. According to cricketing experts, it hardly takes 0.7 seconds for the ball to reach the batsman after it pitches on the turf. In these 0.7 seconds, the batsman gets his body right behind the line of the ball, moves the front foot to the pitch of the ball, keeps the head standstill and the full face of the bat meets the ball sending the ball speeding past the bemused bowler with double the velocity he delivered. Aaahh… Pure pleasure, isn’t it?
And if you were wondering that only technical excellence can embellish a cricket shot, think twice because if ever you witness the helicopter shot of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, you would be awestruck by the power that is involved in panning out this shot. Dhoni makes use of the bottom hand and a huge backlift, thus sending the ball flying over long on. This has been his signature shot of late and he has put it to good effect as and when needed. It goes without saying that a cricket shot is an apt amalgamation of power and technical skills.
But think about the bigger picture and you would be amazed to know the real essence of these shots. These are not just strokes coming out of the willows of batsmen, these are the means of providing unbound joy to millions and millions of fans. Remember Dhoni’s mighty six over long on which sealed India’s WC win? For billions who witnessed it, it was a shot that took Indian cricket to a new level; a shot which fulfilled the dreams of an entire nation and epitomised the unbending desire to win back the WC after an arduous wait of over 28 years! Shots like these sparkle our “flash-bulb” memory, those moments of towering historical importance or great emotional significance which people will always remember for the rest of their lives.
Something about a win in the game of cricket makes it about more than just a game and these shots are a mere reflection of those feelings. The skills matter but only as long as the players are on the field. The mass connect that cricket shots garner is immense. There is another angle to this : Imagine a young bowler steaming in and firing a bouncer or a toe crusher and the batsman taking up the challenge and counter attacking with an equally sublime shot. That’s the real essence of life, isn’t it? Facing challenges with grit and confidence. That is what makes cricket the most beautiful game on earth and a cricket shot a beautiful moment to savour!