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June 1: a historic day for all of humankind

Posted by farkandfunk on June 4, 2009

If anyone’s been watching any form of Indian cricket (specifically T20 and domestic), it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to know that L. Balaji (he of the “Ba-la-ji” fame) is no more the potent, deadly, man-eating force he once was.

It’s not his fault really. He was on quite a high, working his way up the regional and national rung with a string of steady, if not spectacular, performances, culminating in to orgasmic levels in the tour of Pakistan in 2004.   An untimely injury in 2005 meant that he was out of contention for a while , and briefly disappeared into oblivion.

Just when we thought we saw the last of him, Balaji was back, though not with a bang. Gone was the free-spirited hippie-tam  ever-smiling soul from the 60s, gone was the run up , and speed.   Balaji would now start off by running at a spot for a few seconds , not quite dissimilar to a steam engine trying to stimulate itself.  The speed and penetration was quite domestic (no pun intended here), and with bowling coach Venky P in the CSK squad (2nd-best -leg- spinner in India in his days), the  deadly “very slower short delivery” came as a welcome variation to his regular  slow short delivery in his vast repertoire .

Keeping all this, and his performances in the 2 IPL seasons gone by , where more often than not, the batsmen would gleefully lap up his offerings like blood sucking mosquitoes,  one would think that it might be tough for Balaji to bowl even relatively quick and full.  If one were to quantify it , it would look like this:

You've gotta be kidding me

You've gotta be kidding me

Seems about right, right in between aliens landing here and Johnny Lever copulating.

And then, on June 1st , this happens:

Shit just happened.

Shit just happened.

and his thoughts:

John A - Touched by an angel

John A - Touched by an angel

Impressed by the shots that he’s playing…  ’nuff said.

I don’t know what to think anymore.


6 Responses to “June 1: a historic day for all of humankind”

  1. Q said

    Oh no. I heard that John A injured his ankle while playing cricket, but I had no idea it was Balaji who did it.

    Btw, when did he retire from int’l cricket?

  2. namya said

    I am sure it was John A’s bat that hit his toe. Given the time it took to carry the message from the toe to his brain, the ball had reached somewhere near his leg, which in turn, mistakenly led to the belief that LBala’s ball did the damage

    • Hi namya- great one on JA 🙂 . That is quite possible indeed, I’ve always thought that the dude was a little “slow”.

      By the way, great picture on your blog(about section)- qiute nostalgic!

  3. Balaji and Irfan (in Pak -2004) gave us some memorable moments along with Viru and RD. But for injuries he would have been an ideal third seamer. By that extension one can say Irfan woulod have been the next Kapil. There are no ifs and buts in reality.

    Career is over, sad but true. ONe cannot be a fast bowler bowling one ‘fast’ ball per over.

    Venky P had more turn than Kumble those days at about similar pace. I recall domestic batsmen getting stuck into him. But as coach his contribution has been great, especially when you compare Robin Singh.

    • Lateswing – true that. He did have some fine moments against Pakistan in that tour. I think the injury really did him in, and he just has never managed to even scale that again.

      Venky P is definitely one of those guys who’s a much better coach than a player – I won’t be surprised to see him rise up the ranks. Looks like a guy ,who with some good support staff, can look as “sophisticated” as some of the foreign coaches 🙂

      Robin has been a disappointment considering the inconsistent results.

      But I really don’t know how much role a “fielding coach” has. Don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of robin singh, but it’s not like I am sticking out for him. Fielding, unlike batting and bowling, is (unfortunately) still considered as a secondary skill to your “core” competency ( trust me, I hate using such business terms). Adding to that – it’s also the frame of mind + one’s desire to field. Bowling or batting is somewhat predictable, and as a fielder, you suddenly spurt into action (I think the best fielders expect action every delivery but the average ones don’t). So, as a fielding coach, I’d think that one can design good exercises that improve their reaction time, throwing techniques, collection, backing-up, and most of all try to enjoy the aspect to reduce the pressure. But in a game situation, it either sticks or it doesn’t. It either slips , or it doesn’t. Hits or doesn’t. We might find Ganguly hitting the stumps, but a Raina missing it for example. How does one go beyond it to improve, and more importantly – measure this?

      Any comments guys?

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