The ‘loosener’ disappears.

Gavan, Heather, Ollie & GriffImage by Gavatron via Flickr
There was a time when the first ball of a match or an innings was a ‘gentle loosener’.

A ball bowled so that the bowlers find their bearings. Typically, the bowler runs up bowls a ball at half the pace he normally bowls and the ball pitched wide off the off-stump.

What do the batsmen do? They let the ball pass them, left leg thrust forward, the bat held high either straight or freezed in the act of countering the ball. Yeah, the openers did one more thing, batting greats like Sunil Gavaskar, watched the ball go into the wicket- keeper’s gloves and from there to the slips and complete the relay back to the bowler.

The commentators took this act as a cue to wax eloquently on how the opening batsman was getting his eye in. As the ‘loosener’ was de riguer, the bowler escaped censure.

This changed with the advent of the maverick batsmen Krishnamachari Srikkanth. He put a stop to all these ‘loosener’ business by hitting it either for a four or for a six. His logic, the ball was a legitimate ball and why should he lose the opportunity to score.

Now if a bowler bowls a ‘loosener’, commentators like Ian Chappell start wondering why he did not limber up before the match and batsmen are chastised for letting it go.

How times have changed!

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Anonymous Liju Philip said...

Forget test matches, even One dayers were so boring those days. I used to go to sleep when Gavaskar batted.

Thank God, the T20 has made tests faster and more result oriented and exciting.

26/12/2009, 16:20  

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