Hitting sixes for six | Daily News


Hitting sixes for six


Only four batsmen have done what was thought impossible and that is hitting sixes in six balls in first class or international cricket.

It started with the greatest all round cricketer the world has seen or will ever see West Indian Sir Garfield St.Auburn Sobers.

The next was RAVISHANKAR JAYADRITHA SHASTRI the Indian all rounder who is now the overall coach of the Indian team who we feature as our ‘SPORTS LEGEND’ this Friday.

Two other dazzlers

There are two other dazzlers who also performed this dream task – Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa and Yuvraj Singh also of india.

Sobers hit Malcom Nash for six sixes playing for Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan in a county game, SHASTRI did so in a Ranji Trophy game for Bombay vs Baroda hitting left arm spinner Tilak Raj.Gibbs followed in a World Cup game hitting Bunge of Netherlands and Singh smacked England paceman Stuart Broad also in a World Cup game. These are feats that only dreams are made of.

And now to our ‘SPORTS LEGEND’ of the week RAVI JAYADRITHA SHASTRI. SHASTRI was a fine all rounder and team man any captain will want to have in his team. He was a cunning left arm spinner and a reliable right hand batsman who could fit into any slot, but preferred facing the new ball.

Coach of India

Before going on to sing his hosannas in the game, the writer would like to state that this all rounder who stood over six feet tall is now the coach of the Indian team in all formats and to his credit it must be stated that he is doing a job acceptable to all, especially the unforgiving Indian spectators to whom other than victory is unacceptable.

Before putting on the coaching pads, along with Sunil Gavaskar, Harsha Bhogle and Sanjay Manjrekar, SHASTRI formed a formidable team of TV Commentators to whom being biased was anathema, but describing the action out in the middle the way they saw and read it was what mattered.

Once describing a Test match between India and England, SHASTRI said something about English cricket that also involved former England captain Nasser Hussain who was also behind the mike who misunderstood those remarks and probably hurt took on SHASTRI when both were commentating.

Took him head on

Hussain seemed to be hurt and tried to prove SHASTRI wrong. But SHASTRI took him head on and hit out hard and at the end it was Hussain who came out a far second best. That SHASTRI lecture was a lesson to all other English biased commentators who did not dare take on SHASTRI.

Having said that, we now move on to sermonize on SHASTRI’S beginnings and his phenomenal rise to fame and fortune, as a cricketer, commentator and finally a coach.

SHASTRI was born on May 27,962 in Bombay. He started his cricketing career as a schoolboy at Don Bosco High School in Matunga and helped his school reach the final of the 1976 inter-school Giles Shield. Captaining his school team the following year steered them to win the Giles Shield which was the first time in the history of the school.

On the defensive

As a batsman, it is said that SHASTRI preferred to go on the defensive. But had the knack of upping the run rate when the occasion demanded. Generally Indian batsmen are known for playing shots different from the book. Dhoni was famous for his ‘helicopter shot’. SHASTRI too had a shot of his own which was tagged ’chapati shot’ which was a flick off the pads.

SHASTRI enjoyed the best moment of his career when he was adjudged the champion of champions at the World Championship of cricket in Australia in 1985. It was just after that achievement that he equaled Sobers record of hitting six sixes in an over.

In local cricket SHASTRI was a towering figure and captaining Bombay he led them to championship honours in his final year in the game he loved best. Hit by a spate of injuries SHASTRI was compelled to quit the game at 31 an age when other cricketers generally reach their peak.

Not lost to the game

On quitting SHASTRI was not lost to the game. He took to what came naturally to him doing commentary on behalf of the BCCI and excelling which led him to more glory as a TV Commentator in international cricket. The BCCI realizing the talent in SHASTRI appointed him the Director of the India team for eight months on the team’s tour of England lasting up to the 2015 World Cup.

The BCCI also noticing the talent of a coach in him, did not waste time but shouldered the responsibility on him by making him the head coach of the Indian team that was well received by the players and all lovers of the game.

Incidentally, SHASTRI became the youngest cricketer who represented Bombay in Ranji Trophy cricket. He was 17 years and 292 days. In his first two years for Bombay in the Ranji Trophy he excelled not as a batsman but as a bowler taking 6 for 61 against Delhi in the 1979/80 final which unfortunately Bombay lost.

Country’s colours

It was not long when he was called upon to sport his country’s colours. He was flown in for then left arm spinner Dilip Doshi who was injured against New Zealand. Although he did not bag any wickets in the first innings he had the satisfaction of bowling a maiden over to New Zealand captain Geoff Howarth. Not many bowlers have bowled maidens in their first over in Test cricket. However in the second innings he took 3 wickets in four balls.

Believe it or not SHASTRI used to bat at number 10 and it was not long when he opened batting for India. At the end of his career he had batted in every position from one to ten. It was something similar to what Sri Lanka’s Roshan Mahanama went through.

SHASTRI was also called upon to open for India in the overs shortened game and made 102 against Australia and he repeated this score against England in Cuttack. In a Test match against England before his adoring fans in Bombay he made a double hundred 235.

Memorable knock of 187

SHASTRI made a memorable 187 at the Oval against England in a Test in 1990 which prompted Harsha Bhogle, commentator and journalist to sing his praises.

Bhogle describing this classic innings wrote: 'Watching SHASTRI bat is like admiring the Qutub Minar; tall, timeless, solid, you admire it for the virtue not for its style. For 9 hours and 21 minutes, he chiseled away the England attack and the sculpture that he left behind represented perseverance and craft.

‘There was the usual stoic, expressionless face under the helmet, you could see the determination in his eyes as he planted himself at the wicket, struck root and bore fruit. Only occasionally, the bat wavered in its resolve but the mind put it on the right path against, almost in admonishment, and the ball grew broader and straighter….he may never be a Gavskar, but he at least represents the great man’s virtues, even if by proxy. It would be a relief too, to know that he will never throw away his wicket for nobody guards his crease more fiercely’.

Space does not permit

More could be written about this Indian great, but space does not permit me to sermonize and sing his praises and enumerate his other deeds on the field and off it.


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