Fast & Furious: Cricket Sledging Night of the year 2015


After the cricketing carnival entered the knock out stage; we could feel the intensity all around the games. Either it was due to showing the third umpire making a decision or post match press conferences or even some of the biggest retirements in the ODI cricket which include Michael Clark, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi. But there was a knee-jerking, face-smashing, rib-cage-busting, rocket-launching fast bowling spell which pinned a very proud cricketing nation to the brink of agonizing humiliation.

As we all know, it all started when Mitchell Starc brought fury to the number eighth batsman from Pakistan. The little he knew, he should have refrained from getting in to the verbal altercation with Wahab Riaz. Wahab went to the umpires and just didn’t like the way he was bullied. At the same time, Shane Watson tried helping his teammate by passing a remark which will serve as a great reminder of what not to do on a cricketing field.

Too fast and too furious, verbal altercations can work against you: As Shane Watson found out.

“Have you forgotten your bat in the dressing room?”

trajectory map
As Wahab Riaz, started his spell we could all see the intensity in his eyes. David Warner as we all know is an aggressive player and in modern cricket hunts for scoring opportunity. On that night, he fell prey to the short ball and woodsman (willow-man) himself was hunted. Now there is no joy of thrill when the hunter becomes the prey. If we take a look at the trajectory map of the first four deliveries; it’s a moot point to explain the obvious. The more moot is that David Warner played that shot as Virat Kohli tried playing a pull of Mitchell Johnson in the semifinal.

Anyway, that gave way to Michael Clarke to showcase his batsman ship. The moment Clarke walked on to the pitch, to the time he walked away, there were few questions to be answered. The most important one was, “Can Pakistan make a game out of this, at least to some extent?” “Can they force Australia to go in to defensive mode?” “Does Pakistan fight with all the flair and power they are known for?

I don’t really know if Australia was forced to go in defensive but Michael Clarke was. While batting against Wahab Riaz, Michael was in the defensive mode. Generally when you are not in the defensive mind set, you don’t really block those bouncers, rather than you will try to move your body out of the line and let the bowl go. When the bowl comes too quickly to your body or head and you weren’t anticipating the bowl to be hitting where it will be hitting. It’s that moment when the batsman uses the bat to avoid getting hit in the face, or  avoiding a fucking broken arm.

I think that is out of unconscious mind rather than a bad shot selection. As you will get in to the defensive mindset, ducking a ball out of the blue.
ESPNCricInfo described it as:

Wahab Riaz to Clarke, OUT, gottim! The short ball works, Clarke dollies it to forward short leg! Don’t you love it when a plan comes together… That was well-directed from Wahab, not quite a snorter but awkward enough for a man with an antique spine, rising towards the helmet grill and Clarke can only pop it up off the splice, floats into the hands of the catcher. Maqsood hurls the ball at the floor and screams in delight. Pakistan are in this.

On that determining evening, Shane Watson walked in to bat at the number four. Again, the short ball hurling at him @ 150kph with a lot of cheering from the young ostentatious fast bowler “who forgot his bat in the dressing room” was a treat to watch. With every ball, Wahab was asking “Are you going to get into a verbal brawl with a number eight batsman?” “Specially, if you aren’t even bowling !” “Do you dare to get into a verbal spat with a Fast Bowler?” “Specially, if he is a Pakistani Fast bowler?”

To Wahab dismay, Watto played a very crucial inning courtesy to Rahat butchering an easy catch. Wahab showed the agonizing pain of frustration ; then walking down to his bowling mark after giving a cold stare to Shane Wattson.

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