Culture Czar

Where I talk about cricket, and the books I love, and cricket, and music, and cricket, and movies, and cabbages, maybe, and kings...

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Grievous Bodily Harmison..

I love to watch some bowlers in action. Today, I feasted.

I had switched on the TV in the morning, prepared to watch a soulless, insipid "Super Test", or whatever the ICC's new marketing brain child is called. Bastard child, more likely- I can go on about the stupidity and emotionlessness of having a six day masala match and giving it official status, but enough has been said about it already.

Getting back to the point, the ICC World XI was bowling. Steve Harmison, none less. And as I saw him bowling, I remembered the thrill of last month's Ashes.

Harmison in full flow is really a joy to watch- he seems to smoothly glide into the crease, and then there's that lovely full-o'-limbs leap, with one arm going one place and the other arm going somewhere else, and out of the chaos emerges a vicious, middle-of-the-pitch missile that climbs and climbs and climbs..... watching him bowl is thrilling, taking you back to a time when cricket was fun and fiercely played, and very, very enjoyable....

And the man isnt about sheer pace. Today, he bowled a brilliant slower one to dismiss Hayden, yorking him when he was looking invincible. A lot similar to the delivery that removed Michael Clarke at the Edgbaston Test, leaving Australia at 175-8.

When he first came on the scene, during India's tour of England in 2002, I didnt think much of him. He was a replacement for the perennially injured Simon Jones, and he looked raw. Fast, yes, but the ball sprayed about, and few of our batsmen had any trouble negotiating him.

Cut to 2004. 7-12, Grievous Bodily Harmison, West Indies 47 all out. You can read about that on enough websites, so I shall get to the point.

Not since Shoaib has there been a fast bowler that I have enjoyed watching. Who I have rushed home early from work to watch, who has had batsmen hopping, ducking, who has made cricket fun again.

Those pedants who bother about results and statistics, you can take your Glenn McGraths and your Shaun Pollocks and burn in hell. Take your perfect bowling analyses, your 8-6-7-3, your 41 for 4, and go and rot. Oh, and take your boring, metronomic line, your corridors of uncertainty, your soulless, robotic, "perfect" deliveries with you.

Give me Shoaib any day. Charging into the crease, breathing smoke and fire, closing in with vengeance soaring high, faster than a lazer bullet, louder than an atom bomb, brighter than a thousand suns... (Painkiller, Judas Priest).

And better still, give me Harmison. Loose limbed, gawky, lanky, they've called him all that. But, oh, the joy....5 wayward balls in one over, who cares? That one ball, landing in the middle of the pitch, going for the batsman's throat....missing it by millimeters.... and maybe, missing wildly flailing bat too, as the fielders go up in unison...that catch in my heart, that whistling sound as my mouth forms a perfect "O" and my breath stops, then releases in awe....and then does it again as I watch the replay.

Beautiful. Simply beautiful.


Blogger Sunil said...

LA, delighted that you've joined the blogsphere........

and yes, Harmy is beautiful to watch. I haven't enjoyed any one's bowling as much since Donald retired.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Soultan of Swing said...

Lahar, great to see your blog up and running!
Havent seen much of Harmison, but i could well imagine my mouth going O watching him bowl - it sure did with ur description!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Minal said...

Hey Lahar,
Came here through Sunil's Blog.
Ah one more cricket fan with trivia and tales to throw in, nice:-)

Harmisson is a delight; especially when he wrecks the furniture...

Though Donald & McGrath have been my favourites:-)

2:27 AM  
Blogger D said...

despite the fact that in most cases, I find s & z interchangeable for words ending in 'ise' or 'ize' ..., your use of lazer is wrong, since it is anyways derived from an acronym. and i am sure you remember appu's funda on taser, etc...

still trying to recover from yesterday's quiz.

will stop here...

2:55 AM  
Blogger D said...

and i loved allan donald, too. watched a recent rerun of india getting mauled in SA. i have only liked darren gough more for the grace in the run up and the action for fast bowlers. but surely, wasim and waqar are right up there

2:58 AM  

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