NAVJOT Singh Sidhu is the mystery man of Indian cricket. Now you see him, now you don't. Having made his Test debut in 1983, he’s the most weather-beaten hand in the current team. Yet, over these dozen years, the Indian eleven has often walked out to play with his tall, wiry frame conspicuous by its absence.
Derided as a "strokeless wonder" in his salad days, he was soon making curry of the best of bowlers—becoming the Indian spectator’s delight as a crack six-shooter. Once dubbed suspect against pace, he was solid enough to smash a century against the West Indies on the blazing pitch of Kingston, Jamaica, in 1989.
And he can do much more than hoist the cherry over long on: the toothy grimace behind the vizor makes for a picture of fierce concentration and, for one, this has translated into more one-day centuries than by any other Indian batsman.
Sidhu is back in the news at the start of the season. Chosen as the Rest of India captain for the pipe-opener Irani Trophy tie against Bombay early last month, the selectors were put in a spot when he withdrew with a...