It’s easier to swim with the tide, not so otherwise. It’s easier to move on when there is a pat on your back with every step you move forward, not so when every step forward results in people spitting on your face. Neither is the case always for most of us. Not everyone is a Sonam Kapoor – patted on the back for her dress sense no matter how atrocious it may look. Not everyone is a Rahul Gandhi – perceived as a future PM no matter how mindless his impromptu speeches may sound. Leave aside everyone, there has been and will be only one Sachin Tendulkar – seen as a child prodigy for last 22 years. For every Sonam Kapoor, there is a Mallika Sherawat – always ridiculed no matter what she wears if she does. For every Rahul Gandhi, there is a Mayawati – I don’t see much of a difference between these two. For every Sachin, there is a Sir Jadeja. Let’s look at two of such characters who swim against the tide between those 22 yards.
Sir Agarkar – Opposition is reeling at 185 for 8 in 47 overs. We have our fastest bowler waiting to finish off his quota. We can easily expect a target not exceeding 190. Enter our fastest bowler to bowl 48th and 50th over. The result - we get to chase 230. Such was the magic of Sir Agarkar. Till date, there has been no bigger potential all-rounder than the Sir himself. Even his name suggested that, Agar-Kar which roughly means “what if he actually does”. This if remained one of the biggest mysteries during the last decade, may be bigger than Digvijay Singh’s grey cells. Sir Ajit always lived in extremes - from 5 ducks in a row to fastest 50, from fastest 50 wickets to imploding at worst possible moments, from toe crushing inswinging Yorkers to juicy half volleys. No matter how much we all detested his selection, he kept coming back – series after series.
Sir Ajit had an aura about him. Whatever he did, it was all style. Remember his swing of the bat in his stance when he rotated it one full circle after the ball left bowler’s hand and before it reached him? It was like he was gathering momentum to send the ball to moon. Okay, he may have missed the ball a few times because of this swing – 5 times in a row in Australia. But ball did travel when he hit it – no matter how rarely it was. Do you remember his celebrations after taking a wicket when he lifted his both forearms in front of his face, showing all the bones he had and shouted agape? Or do you remember those innocent expressions whenever he was hit, actually quite often, as if he was saying – I had no idea he had a bat in his hands, I though he came empty handed to the crease. Sir Ajit served India severely for many years and now he continued his hunt for runs with the ball and wickets with the bat for KKR also. Long live Sir Ajit but only after your retirement. Until then, please don’t make another comeback.
Sir Jadeja – Sir Jadeja came to limelight after his scintillating performance in U19 world cup in 2008. His long and straightened hair made him look like larger than he is. Go to youtube, watch his videos and tell me if you take out his blue dress and wrap around just a banana leaf around his waist, will he not resemble with Mahabali Shaaka or Tarzan. Sir Jadeja made a half century in his Debut ODI and joined the list of some scintillating batsmen who had achieved this hallmark – Saba Karim, Pravin Amre. A little extrapolation tells us that his career is secured as a) cricket expert at Aaj Tak or b) coach of some IPL team. Unfortunately India lost the match and since then, Sir Jadeja became an expert torchbearer who reduced deficit every time India faced the darkness of defeat. All his five 50s have come in losing causes. Being a left handed batsman and a left arm spinner, he tried to emulate another Indian great Sunil Joshi’s famous Chennai – 1999 heroics in Mohali -2009. Sir Jadeja remains the only Indian bowler to achieve a hallmark which only Stuart ‘Barbie’ Broad and Dan Van Bunge have – to be hit 6 consecutive sixes ininternational cricket. “Everything Yuvraj does , I can do better.” is what he secretly announced after the match. Some may consider this a completely unwanted record. Hence Sir Jadeja broke this record, in a different way, and did it in two overs – 6 sixes were equally distributed across his two consecutive overs. While there have been nation-wide protests to oppose his selection, few politicians have even threatened to go on hunger strike, Sir Jadeja kept coming back to the national side. Some say he has some secret documents of agricultural ministry in his possession hence he keeps coming back, some say he was to an important selector what Gambhir was to Ishant Sharma in THAT video. Just that Sir Jadeja performed his duties with lot more intensity and regularity with that selector. But it all went in vain, protests in mean. Sir Jadeja is back and back with vengeance. Who can forget his 70+ innings in India’s last tour to England when he took India from a score of “I may not get a chance to bowl” to “I can bowl my 10 overs now”. It’s a different matter that all of us have forgotten if India ever travelled to England after 2007. But he is back. He is back with a bang – MOS in last home series against England proves that. What more, he may well be thinking of knocking the doors of test side with his recent triple ton in domestic cricket. Don’t be surprised if he does break into the test side. After all, Sir Jadeja has a phoenix touch about him. He is a true successor to Sir Agarkar. God save us all.
Till date, only Sir Jadeja can claim to be real successor of Sir Agarkar as he has made several unreasonable and strange come backs. There have been many more who have tried to fill in the shoes of Sir Agarkar – like Irfan Pathan with his increasingly slow bowling or Sreesanth with his increasing stupidity. Both can be lethal in their bowling for the team they are bowling – on their day. Normally every day is their day.
But they have yet not come close to the hallmark of Sir Ajit as they have either been out of the side for too long, Irfan Pathan, or have given sparks of brilliance, Sreesanth. However, given a chance I think Sreesanth still has it in him to be Sir Agarkar. Can he do it for Sir Ajit? Only time will tell.