22 June, 2021

Long, Tall Sadie

The drought at the top is over. Ramesh, a southpaw in the classic mould, is the find of the season.

Long, Tall Sadie

IT was after close of play on the third day at Calcutta. India was just 275 short of a win, with all 10 wickets intact, and even the weatherman didn't know it would rain mineral water bottles the next day. Pristine cricket-that gentle, yet mortal combat of skill and nerve-was still on everyone's mind. Particularly Sadagopan Ramesh. The gangling 24-year-old southpaw, the latest in a string of experiments at the top of the batting line-up, had managed in five innings to give people something to talk about other than Sachin Tendulkar. Yet, as he took team physio Andrew Kokinos on a visit to a temple, his prayers would certainly have been for a big, match-winning score-a seal of quality on the first flush of a tentative harvest.

It was not to be. He did score 41, and with Laxman, put on a 100-plus opening stand. But, after a batting resume that read 43, 5, 60, 96, and 79, it wasn't good enough-a few more like that, and he would be in danger of being branded as another middle-distance runner of erratic appetite and fickle humour.

Ramesh, a regular at the Anjaneya temple near...

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