Written by Sriram Veera
Updated: July 2, 2022 10:03:58 pm
The most breathtaking shot from Jasprit Bumrah in the over of mayhem, in which he looted 29 of the 35 runs against Stuart Broad to break the world record for most runs in a single over in a Test, was a marvellous pull. (Screengrab)
The most breathtaking shot from Jasprit Bumrah in the over of mayhem, in which he looted 29 of the 35 runs against Stuart Broad to break the world record for most runs in a single over in a Test, was a marvellous pull. The front leg swivelled up in the air, and it brought memories of three glorious pulls, somewhat similar. The soul of the shots was the flamboyant upward thrust of the front leg and the individuality comes through in what transpires next. We also look at the vastly contrasting version of Sachin Tendulkar’s.
Kapil Dev’s Nataraja shot
The takeaway from Kapil’s signature shot wasn’t a sense of brutality but of something wildly beautiful. There wasn’t violence in it, like most pull shots can often have.
No wonder The Hindu’s R Mohan instinctively sensed something classical in it and christened the shot ‘Nataraja’, from Lord Shiva’s cosmic dance of creation, sustenance, and dissolution of the universe. Shiva’s bhujangatrasita karana dance pose is a thing of grace – and perfectly befits a cricketing shot that also brims with grace just after the destruction of a ball.
The takeaway from Kapil’s signature shot wasn’t a sense of brutality but of something wildly beautiful. (Twitter)
When he saw Kapil’s pull, Mohan’s mind immediately went to the Nataraja statues. “At home we would have so many of those figurines of Nataraja. See the pose and Kapil’s pull shot was similar, his left foot in the air,” Mohan told this newspaper.
No Kapil mix-tape could escape that shot. An exhilarating kick of the left leg would allow him to balance his weight on the back, and the arms would waft across to absolutely wallop the ball. The crucial difference from Bumrah’s version was that Kapil would cross kick his front leg across the body but the shots were quite similar in their essence. At times, Rohit Sharma would settle into a Kapil-like Nataraja lift (Kapil even called it the best Nataraja version he has seen after himself), but Rohit’s wasn’t as often and as wildly adventurous as Kapil’s.
Time to relive that special over once again 💪
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) July 2, 2022
Gordon Greenidge’s unleashed version
The first instinct when Bumrah finished his swivelling pull over fine-leg was to think about Gordon Greenidge’s version. No batsman has cut the ball harder than the West Indian opener, by all accounts. But he also had a very mean pull.
Just after Greendige would press his back leg across, to quote the late Martin Crowe, who was in awe of that shot even decades later, “all sorts of things would happen.”
“Firstly, the knee would come up right up into the stomach. And this would give him the balance and the power to unleash hell on the short ball,” Crowe once told ESPNcricinfo. “Boooof! I have never seen the ball hit so hard.” And Crowe would go on to say that next time he saw that shot was when Brian Lara effected his version of it. “I think Lara copied him.” If Kapil retained grace with his Nataraja, Greenidge unleashed mayhem with his version.
Brian Lara’s whiplash version
Once Crowe presented its lineage from Greenidge to Lara, it’s difficult to unsee it. But the crucial difference lay in how Lara absolutely whiplashed that small round thing.
The press back, the lift of the leg, and then the dance began. No one has used the bat as fluidly as if it was a weightless thing as Lara at his pomp. From that position, with his front leg high and across his hip, he would whiplash his bat at the shortish ball – like a crack of doom. A balletic movement of the feet and the upper body, before he sealed it with a wondrous fluid swing of the wood.
What about Sachin Tendulkar’s pull?
It was no Nataraja, but Tendulkar wasn’t ever going to allow himself such self-abandoned flamboyance, was he?
Tendulkar’s pull shot was a thing of purist beauty. The compactness is startling. He almost controlled and tamed a shot known for its inherent violence in thought and in sight. The bat levers back straight, it comes back down almost straight, and the elbows line-up perfectly to help finish the shot in one tight arc of arm movement. No energy is frittered away. The body doesn’t lurch sideways too much, the head doesn’t bob away … there is no unnecessary movement. Every tiny movement fits snugly.
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If only it wasn’t for Fanie de Villiers and his captain Hansie Cronje plotting a downfall at short midwicket, and to a lesser extent Chaminda Vaas and Arjuna Ranatunga, one wonders whether Tendulkar would have allowed himself a greater run with that shot. For a brief while, he had almost become obsessive with that shot and when his obsession turned into a tool of his entrapment, he abandoned it mercilessly. It was at that moment that Tendulkar, whose batting was a mix of Gavaskar and Richards, began to leave the Richards persona behind and went the way of Gavaskar.
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