Watch some of the best moments captured on tape from the history of cricket, sure to leave you in awe, searching for breath!
Lets start with Shane Warne's Highway to jaffa' to Mike Gatting. This is more famously known as the "ball of the century".
Mike Gatting had no answer. Look at his expression. I have seen Warne bowl Strauss and Shiv Chanderpaul from around the wicket, bowled around the legs of the batsmen, but the Gatting ball is pure class - drift, turn, off bail!
Well, that was the 20th century. And we are in the 21st century. So, there must be a "ball of the century for the 21st century, right? I got one. Arguably the best spinner walking on earth presently, Graeme Swann, bowls an absolute beauty to get rid of Imran Farhat.
Same description that went in for Warne's delivery to Gatting. Farhat falls over searching for the ball, which he thought had defended well. Swann has this canny knack of picking up a wicket in his first over of an innings, test and ODIs alike. This one, was the best of all of his wickets in his wonderful wonderful career.
Now, you are a batsman, facing a paceman, who bowls more than 93 miles an hour, consistently. And guess what, he swings the ball. What do you play for? The pace? the swing? Look at this slow-mo replay of one ripping ball that left the batsman look like a novice.
Look at the gap between the ball and the bat!
Lets go progressively now.
What can turn the course of a session, match or series the other way? One answer is the ball that swerves the other way! In 2005, we were all witness to two wonderful wonderful deliveries. Have a look at them.
First - Freddy's ball to Katich. Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff, stands almost 6'7" tall and is/was one of the two bowlers who can come around the wicket and swing the ball away from the left hander, the only one who could do so at 140+ kph (Andrew Hall, the other one, is not that good with the pace). So, you can see Katich expecting the ball to be moving away from him, or at least, not coming back at him. But, the well directed and well handles ball swerves in and sends the off stump for a walk.
Second - Jones. If at all England were wanting someone to be fit forever, it must've been Simon Jones, who just couldn't let the batsmen take control over him. Just watch the replay of the ball, look at the shine on the ball, look at the seam. Pause the frame! What do you think? Its a classic out swinger? Maybe, but the ball is pretty old, and the reverse swing strikes! Damien Martyn was awestruck, like everyone else watching it.
I wonder what Kallis was thinking about this ball?
A jolly to the crease run up, and then a bullet... Wet Irish conditions, the atmosphere helped a bit, but no one is going to be easy against a ball like that. That was a swinging, fast, new ball!
Another classic that became an instant hit :-
"Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, its Jonty Rhodes" is what the newspaper read the next day!
Jonty took athleticism to a whole new level. People gave it more importance. Saving runs was gaining importance. It was around that time when Batsmen started to attack in the field restriction overs. My dad always reminds me - Kris Srikanth was the one who took the charge. So, fielding became another column on your CV, and you were graded on it! Jonty Rhodes was one man miles and miles ahead of hundreds others in that aspect. Once he calls for a catch, you can see the other teammates stop dead at their feet and just watch the ball come down into his pouch.
I love Matthew Hayden's batting. He is exceptional off his front foot and is good square of the wicket too. So, bowling to him is pretty difficult, because you are very likely to be outsmarted by his straigh drives, pulls and cuts. Unfortunately, he features in two of my favourite catches too.
Hayden thinks he has 4 on this ball...
Have you seen a better outfield catch in International cricket? Look at Hayden, he wants someone to come and tell him that it was a dream and he is not out.
One guy who has amazingly been fit for almost all throughout his career while on the field, gets rid of Matthew Hayden in this next video
Haydos...Haydos... Look at his plight!
What will you do to save 2 runs? Will you stick out your leg? Will you stretch? Will you dive? huh?
Will you fly?
Best ground fielding I've seen on tape!
One for "innovation" :-
And, to finish the collection, here is a real beauty! Never seen a better catch from an Indian! This guy is one for the future, if his batting can get better and better. But this catch is the highlight reel of this fellow!
That is the commitment you will love to see on a cricket field. That's the spirit you need when you know that there is a prestigious title at stake! That's the spirit you need to keep the Ranji Trohpy as the best domestic tournament in the country. Manish Pandey, take a bow!