16 June, 2021

The Conjurer's Spell

In the end, a young man buried his ghosts, restored Indian Test cricket pride, and yes, tamed the Kangaroos

The Conjurer's Spell
They came armed with revolutionary 'ice vests', killer 'plans' stored in their laptops, crateloads of beer and plenty of baked beans to keep their star bowler well fed. Also a thermometer to stick into every cooked dish to see the temperature was just right. And the reputation of being one of the greatest teams of all time.

But that was before a callow Sikh youngster from Jalandhar, by name of Harbhajan Singh, happened. A spindly youth, four months short of 21, with collars turned up all the time, and nothing much to show for it—till then. In the end, it was in the curious fitness of things on a sweltering Chennai afternoon last week that Singh turned for a manic second run after jabbing a Glenn McGrath delivery pitched outside the off stump—the final and decisive moment in a series filled with epic moments. This, after mopping up 32 wickets in three Tests, one of only five bowlers in 125 years who have picked up more than 30 wickets in a three-match series—and, obviously, the only Indian too. That's not all. India's sensational new sultan of spin became the first...

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