~~Gandhigiri an age-old practice in cricket~~

Published: Friday, November 17, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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It maybe suddenly in vogue, thanks to 'Lage Raho Munnabhai', but according to an author, ''Gandhigiri'' has been an age-old weapon in cricket where spinners have been practitioners of the non-violent means - getting the better of their willow-wielding rivals without really hurting them.

In his new book ''Bhartiya Spin Gendbazi Ki Parampara'' (The Tradition of Indian Spin Bowling), Prof Suryaprakash Chaturvedi draws an interesting comparison between spin bowling and ''Gandhigiri'' and claims that the turners and tweakers of the cherry, unlike their cousins who prefer to hurl thunderbolts at the batsmen, have been practitioners of 'Gandhigiri' since long.

The author argues spin bowling is in fact, a non-violent means to win over the opponents, batsmen in this case. Spinners have been pursuing an art which does not physically harm the batsmen, but breach their defence by outsmarting them.

Here, the bowler doesn't rely on sheer brutal pace but his wiles and guiles, Prof Chaturvedi explained.

Pointing out to India's rich spin tradition, Prof Chaturvedi feels it's something ingrained in the mind of every Indian who grew up in this tolerant,peace-loving country which was always the last to be at war.

Barring instances like West Indian Courtney Walsh, Prof Chaturvedi writes, fast bowlers have always resorted to sledging, abusing, intimidating to cower the batsmen.

''If you score a boundary off a pacer, you can expect a bouncer in the next delivery, apart from the stern look from the snarling pacer. Spinners, by and large, are a friendlier lot,'' he said.

He also felt that pacers abroad are more violent than their Indian cousins.

He recalls Jeff Thomson's ''blood on the pitch'' comment and the infamous Bodyline series and also reminisced when a Mohammad Nissar defied his captain by refusing to bowl a bouncer.

The success of the senior spinners has always inspired the younger lot to take up the oriental art and thus the tradition has been passed on from one generation to another. Besides, the low bounce of the tracks has also contributed to the burgeoning of this genre of bowling, according to the author.


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