While playing for my university in the U.S., one of my mates, James who is an Aussie, after almost every time he would pick up a wicket, would say, “Shit gets wickets”. That was a brutally honest opinion from him about his own bowling. Although he was of wiry build, he could generate a decent amount of pace with his nippy action but his ideas about line and length – the fundamental tools for a good bowler – were non-existent. Well, he had some ideas about them but never could carry it out on a cricket pitch. Therefore, in spite of James’ best efforts, sometimes, the batsmen would gift wrap their wickets.
While following the recently concluded Australia v Pakistan test match at Lord’s (tracking the score and text commentary on cricinfo and following the match action on Test Match Sofa), James’ pearl of wisdom was proven beyond any shadow of doubt. Australia put in to bat on a gloomy day, mostly through a kharacteristically krabby effort from Katich, scored 250-odd runs. Pakistan started off decent enough but soon lost their way. At 75 for 3, they had weathered the new ball with minimal damage (two of the three to fall were on debut) and one of the openers Salman Butt still there, playing alongside the newest raging batting sensation Umar Akmal (whom some have anointed as Pakistan’s answer to Sachin Tendulkar). Things were looking pretty good for Pakistan when the blonde-haired, pouty faced, got-enough-muscles-to-shame-Chuck-Norris Shane Watson came on for a trundle. (Watson’s nickname is Watto in the Aussie team and Test Match Sofa calls him affectionately “Twatto“).
Umar – the brighter eyed of the Akmal brothers, realized from the very sight of the excessively gel haired Twatto, the pressure was off. Off the first ball he faced from Twatto, he was down the pitch to counter for the lack of pace. But off the fourth ball, he went back only to be trapped in front, from a harmless straight delivery. And the flood gates were open. His older brother Kamran, one-upped him and was adjudged lbw while padding up to… wait for it… another straight delivery. In walked the Captain.
Afridi would’ve been more appropriate at the sets of Mad Max rather than a test match at the home of Cricket. He biffed and bashed his way to a 31 before he hoicked, who else but Twatto, to deep midwicket and was gone. Twatto picked couple more tailenders and got on the honours board at Lord’s. (You get on the honours board by taking 5 wickets or by scoring 100 runs). Shane Warne, one of the best bowlers to have ever played the game and chief tormentor of the English sides in the past 15 years, never was good enough to get on the honours board but Twatto did. As James would’ve chimed in, “Shit gets wickets, mate!”
As if this wasn’t enough, during Pakistan’s second go around, Marcus North, the occasional off-spinner picked six wickets. North is so occasional that its hard to find an image of him bowling even with a Google search!!! It included bamboozling deliveries such as the one where he got Salman Butt with (a straight delivery sliding down leg), the customary mad hoick from Afridi and a cross-batted sweep. A couple more edges and a brilliant piece of fielding from Katich gave North the six-fer. A six-fer.. would you fucken believe it? Shane Warne, if allowed, would’ve jumped from the commentary box and strangled the Pakistanis for gifting their wickets to two no-talent shits.
During the 2005 season playing in the Washington D.C. area, I opened the bowling after my team had a scored a healthy 200-odd in 40 overs. The opposing batsmen wanted to take advantage of the field restrictions and were gonna go after the bowling. I had set up a deep midwicket for short deliveries. In I ran and rolled the arm over. Rank bad full toss. A clean strike off the bat. The ball soared up high but gravity took over soon. It dragged the ball down only to find the lone deep fielder. As the team all ran in to celebrate the dismissal, one of the perspicacious mates piped up, “Shit gets wickets, doesn’t it?”. I nodded happily, high fiving my team mates.
**This article is cross-posted at CricDude**