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The ebbs and flows of cricket

Shane Watson facing a Wahab Riaz bouncer

When the Australian all rounder Shane Watson was dropped against the match against Afghanistan on the 4th of March, everyone thought his ODI career was over… Watson himself seemed to have accepted his fate.

In an impromptu press conference, he had said: “I haven't scored enough runs, as simple as it is. In the end all I can do is make sure I'm ready to go if an opportunity arises, but I know I haven't scored enough runs so I've only got myself to blame.”

On the 8th of March, Watson made a shocking return to team for the match against Sri Lanka and made a quickfire 60 odd after being demoted to the number 6 spot, and although his innings was totally overshadowed by Glen Maxwell, who scored a 51 ball century, it was enough to keep his place in the team for the time being. Against Scotland, he once again got out cheaply trying to finish off the match quickly.

Another failure and he would have once again put his place in serious jeopardy. In the quarter final match against Pakistan, he came out to bat at number 5, ahead of Glen Maxwell, when Team Australia was in real trouble with Wahab Riaz already having picked two quick wickets, that of David Warner and Michael Clarke. Earlier in the day when Wahab was out to bat and was facing the music in form of Mitchell Stark bowling at 150 KMPH, Watson had a few pleasantries to exchange with the clueless batsman. But, as they say, fast bowlers have a sharp memory. Wahab obviously hadn't forgotten it and he went berserk and unleashed a fury of bouncers at Watson who to his credit looked quite determined to see his side through. It was a relentless assault. But with some luck (he got dropped by the the fielder at fine leg when he was on 4), he managed to see Wahab off and eventually took his team to the semi finals. Watson remained unbeaten on 64 off 66 deliveries but what the scoreboard didn't show was his iron resolve to not only silence his critics but also secure a berth in the semis for his team. What he truly exhibited was the famous Aussie grit!

But, the party was spoiled by the ICC. When every cricket lover was praising Watson and Riaz for their gritty display of cricketing brilliance, ICC decided to charge them both for breaching the Code of Conduct. No wonder why cricket is no longer played with the same passion and fervor. For, it is the ICC that doesn't want to promote such fiery brand of cricket. Aggression doesn't always mean name calling and there appeared no name calling in the battle between Watson and Riaz. The two even embraced each other at the end of the match and each was full of praise for the other. So, how can governing body expect cricketers to play the sport with all their heart and soul and yet be devoid of emotions at the same time? Perhaps, they should either ban fast bowling or try and get all the fast bowlers lobotomized before allowing them to play international cricket!

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Written by Murtaza Ali

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