Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lara's 153* against Australia at Bridgetown Barbados April '99.


                                                  The Day prince rose to take his crown-

As will always a movie connoisseur tell you- 'There are movies and then there is GodFather', a classic unparalleled till date in its reach and unusual story telling manner. The 153* by Brian Lara against Australia quite easily fit's into the same concord.

Those were tough times for Windies. Losing 5-0 to Proteas the same winter had caused  considerable embrasure in the Carribean pride. The Aussie juggernaut on the other hand arrived  in the Carribean, confident of regaining the coveted- Frank Worrell trophy. There impudence wasn't for nothing. WI lost the first test after being bowled out for a paltry 51; their lowest in test match  history.

I discernibly remember this test match played in late March '99- the third of the series. Settling down near my television at around 7 o' clock in the evening in anticipation of a Lara miracle. He had  shown a class in the previous test at Sabina Park by virtually single handily taking Carribeans  to victory after being trounced in the first test at Trinidad.

West-Indies was chasing 309 on the last day. The Bridgetown pitch was still good for batting. On this day Lara had been on the ground 3 hours earlier to the start of the play, practising in the nets; which was quite unusual of the genius southpaw. But such was his resolve and  determination on this unforgettable day at Barbados, that he was ready to put his head down and grind his way in. And grind he did! To begin with he was very cautious. But wickets kept tumbling and after Hooper was gone no one really gave Carribeans any chance. Yet I had this strange gut feeling that we were in for some incredible test match cricket.

Lara took the might of Aussies in an august manner finding an able partner in Jimmy Adams, gloriously hitting off drives and walking down the ground to leg spinners with aplomb ease. Some of his off drives to a hostile Jason Gillespie are etched in my memory: like a nursery rhyme. There was pure artistry flowing from the willow of Lara - the Kennsington ground being his canvas on that day. This innings has many memorable moments but the one incident which stands out for me is the ugly spat between Lara and McGrath. The incident occurred when McGrath tried to unruffle a settled Lara. A scornful bouncer hit Lara on the head, and some words were exchanged in the heat of the battle. Everyone thought Aussies were laying out a plan to disturb Lara's concentration and that Lara should not fall into the trap and rather stay cool and calm. McGrath came steaming in for the next delivery- looking mean and fierce;  round the wicket and not surprisingly bowled a short pitch delivery. Brian went on the back foot, pulled in front of the mid wicket and the ball raced down to the boundary, bringing an absolute pandemonium in the crowd at Kennsignton Oval.

However, as is the norm with remarkable events this test match was far from over. McGrath in a matter of few deliveries sent back Adams, Jacobs and Nehemiah Perry to the quite sombre of West-Indian pavilion. Carribeans still required 60 odd with just 2 wickets in hand. The tall and lanky Curtly Ambrose walked in. From the other end, Lara's each boundary sent hearts racing at the Kennsington Oval and in some quiet benevolence of mine as well. This was test match cricket at its menacing best. It was only appropriate that Lara hit the winning runs when he caressed Jason Gillespie through extra cover, raising his arms- the Rasta Gods must have been mighty pleased that day: the crown was with an able claimant.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Who am I?

Who am I? ‎'I' am HIS and HE is 'mine ' is as per my Sufi connotations. But I haven't yet deciphered it. The heart is still waiting.

I am that
you are That
That is That
and That is what is forever

Are we part of that forever, or are we playing just a part?
As an intrigued child, I would ask my grandfather, where Allah lives. I use to wonder, from where these snow flakes and rain drops come. And my grandfather would say, 'Allah lives in your heart'. May be it was a shrug off theory used by him, as I used to pester him with obnoxious questions. However, years later, a fairly religious friend of mine asked me, 'where does Allah live'? (He took my religious understanding for granted: I don't blame him). And without battling an eye lid I replied, 'HE lives in our hearts'. I could actually understand, at the every moment, what my grandfather meant. It may sound ordinary, but it was quite a significant moment in my life.