Sunday, September 18, 2011

Historical Figures

I was playing around with the idea (suggested by my old mate JB) of how various historical figures would have fared as cricketers. And this is what I came up with.

Galileo Galilei

Batsman -
A failure - always batted at no. 11. Spent too much time observing what the bowler was trying to do, and too little time actually reacting. Should have listened more to the ultimately sage advice of the former opening batsman Kepler.

Bowler - This was his real strength. You hear talk about bowlers 'gaining pace' off the pitch - GG was a master at this. He had truly mastered the ability to uniformly accelerate the ball.

Fielder - Particularly strong under the high ball - an expert at judging the parabola of hits into the outfield.

Overall - Great potential that was ultimately undone by off-field politics. He should never have written his autobiography "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems" in which he openly criticized the excessive power base wielded by the BCCI and argued that the world of cricket did not rotate simply around India. It ultimately resulted in the loss of his T20 contract and his career finished in anonymity.

Stephen Hawking

Batting - Formed a solid opening partnership with Penrose. Good technique with a penchant for taking quick singularities. Did have some trouble in running threes until he improved his turning circle. Most remembered now for popularising the block hole paradox shot, which revolutionised how to play yorkers in T20 cricket.

Bowling - Nil. Reminiscent of the late 1950s with Gordon Rorke, Hawking's truly unique bowling style was quickly outlawed, as his very long delivery slide meant that umpires could not accurately determine the legality of the ball and he often was able to release the ball nearly half way down the pitch.

Fielding - Great short leg fielder with an ability to get a considerable amount of mass behind the ball. Noted sledger from close in, but some pedants have raised concerns that many of his memorable lines were scripted.

Overall - Often remembered in the same category as Mike Brearly: a magnificent cricketing brain that perhaps over-shadowed his physical abilities. Once again though - great sledger. Best line is probably the classic and oft repeated "When I hear of Schrodinger's bat, I reach for my pistol."

Michael Jackson

Batting - A modern figure that harked back to the grand days of George Bonner, Jackson was a child prodigy that was picked primarily for his aggressive stroking of the tail end, particularly in under-age teams. He had many big hits around the world, and still holds a number of records. His nickname of Whacko Jacko quickly emerged after his stunning debut performance in the IPL when he combined with Indian superstar, Off the Wall Rahul Dravid. He was famous for walking, even before Gilly made it commonplace.

Bowling - Jackson was only an occasional bowler, but gained a second, but less flattering nickname, as the King of Long Hops. He did establish a long standing sponsorship with Pepsi but was ultimately burnt by the deal.

Fielding - Jackson's reputation was largely ruined on the basis of a number of eventually unsubstantiated claims of balls tampering. Many influential people believed he was a fiddler when no-one was watching, but this could not be proven.

Post Cricket - After retiring, Jackson went on to a surprisingly successful career as an umpire. Similar to Australian Darrell Hair, he was a firm decision maker as he saw everything as black and white. He stood in many different tests that ended in thrillers, but also found himself in a number of bad and dangerous situations, however his attitude that he was invincible ultimately saw him through. Jackson sadly passed away recent just before a long awaited comeback as a match referee.