Follow Us:

Miller & Kishan

Keith Miller hated Don Bradman’s ruthlessness, especially when employed to pulverise county sides in England. He would come on when sent in and, however easy the bowling, would uninhibitedly throw his wicket to restore sanity to the game.

SNS |

Keith Miller hated Don Bradman’s ruthlessness, especially when employed to pulverise county sides in England. He would come on when sent in and, however easy the bowling, would uninhibitedly throw his wicket to restore sanity to the game. It was not as if Miller never found the going tough but non-conformists never really deferred to top-down wisdom. But he had never played in the Indian Premier League ~ not even thought of in his time ~ and when Mumbai Indians’ Ishan Kishan was the other day obliged, at a post-match Press conference after yet another defeat, to explain what had come to be looked upon as his inconsistency, his riposte was the conformist doctrine backed up with a simple home truth.

“You can’t just step in and start hammering the bowling always,” he said using different words, adding: “Even Chris Gayle has been seen to struggle,” That, you might have thought, would settle it for but that was a false hope. Not a paper the day after failed to remind its readers ~ imagine just how lucky Miller had been, even when missing out on the cash ~ that Mumbai had spent more than Rs 15 crore in the auction on him. The way they put it suggested the utilitarian point of view of life, as represented by runs gathered in heaps rather than academic nothings like empirical evidence compiled painstakingly.

The organised bazaar, of course, came into being much earlier than Kerry Packer. There are those who say that its origin is most accurately traced to the Canterbury Cricket Week in England when “private tents” began monopolising “a good third of the ground,” obscuring action.

A letter to the editor of The Times, London, making the point appeared on 12 August, 1892. The culture that turns a blind eye to convention being kicked away had culminated in this, it was said, but there might have been those on the fringes who, with a sly wink, told each other prophetically: “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” Purists say that the long march of commercialisation has since been nothing short of triumphal. The game seems always to want to appear something that it, as of the given moment, is not quite. That reminds you of the comedian who had pushed a matchstick into his mouth before trying to light it with a cigarette. Equivalents attempted at irregular intervals though imply that the joke is not coming off. If 50-over cricket is passe, how long would it be before Twenty20 is forgotten?

That could be a point for Kishan and his peers to ponder. But a lot of time has rolled by since he made all those runs for Jharkhand in the Ranji Trophy. Kishan is certainly far richer than Miller at any stage in the all-rounder’s career, but you cannot be sure the new age Indian wants to be remembered as a player who rolled in the stuff and was seen but fitfully in the demanding five-day game.