Monday, 7 July 2008

Mendis and the faculty of serendipity


Murali, Malinga and now Mendis. The Land of Serendipity will soon be known as the place where maverick bowlers, possibly with surnames that begin with M, are as ubiquitous as landmines there.

And both are equally devastating, ask the Indians.

Like the Three Princes of Serendip, the Lankan selectors seem endowed with this faculty of serendipity to discover freak talents, by accidents and sagacity. How else you explain unearthing freak bowling talents with such amazing regularity?

Ajantha Mendis did not look like a hoax as he bamboozled the Indian batters, some of whom can blunt spin even blindfolded. The Lankan army gunner is no Paul Adams, all theatrics and little craft, and if Jayawardene is to go by, he has got six different deliveries up his sleeves, which makes him The Special.

Mendis poses equal dilemma to cricket writers and batters alike. Well, what next? a googly? an off-break? a top-spinner? Or that carom-ball delivery? It’s as if you are standing in front of a spin departmental store. You name it and you have it.

In Mendis, The Great Lankan Freak Factory has produced another gem of a maverick and fortunately no coach, at any stage, tinkered his action or tweaked his approach. Mendis also has the privilege to pick Murali’s brain as the mentor and protégé operate in tandem and the youngster has to make the most of this opportunity.

The Asia Cup final was just the beginning -- and what a beginning -- of a journey. The post-mortem of his action has already started on many a laptop and ploys are being discussed by hurt opponents. The real test lies ahead. Moratuwa's poster boy has to ensure he lives up to the sky-high expectation he has just raised and not wilt under it.

17 comments:

Q said...

As ive been saying - he will end up top of the bowling charts.

I know its too early and a lot of people have apprehensions - what happens when batsmen read him, what happens when hes figured out - time will tell. I believe he will conquer.

6 deliveries and that too with actions not seen before will be hard to study and note and practice and implement for batsmen world over.

Sri Lanka sure have the tendency that u have outlined, but at the same time they have done well to let these players continue playing their natural game.

Straight Point said...

he seems a good prospect...but a good prospect only...

batsmen were playing hm for turn which was never there...i dont think it will take more time by batsmen across world to actually see this...

and once the novelty factor or honeymoon is over it will be interesting to see how he cops with it...

but for now...it has excited me enough from out of boredom that i am really looking fwd to sl series and the face-off with our batsmen...

picture abhi baaki hai mere dost...

Naked Cricket said...

som, for a rookie i like his temperament, even when he got hit in the ipl he was unfazed. those eyes may not have murali like depths, but they're deep. He hits good lengths, and doesn’t bowl too many bad balls. Think the best bit is his control so far, there’s a lotta hard sell behind him and india bought into a lotta that. The dismissals were like kumble runs thru tailenders. Also yet again viru’s start was wasted. How often does india do that?

Som said...

Q, without taking anything from him, I think his real test lies ahead. The more batsmen play him, the less they would fear. Mendis' lack of turn might be a worry as well. He has been just pushing it through, landing on a length and skidding it. I'm still not convinced of his variety.

Som said...

SP, can't agree more. He's exciting but would be thoroughly tested in the upcoming Ind-SL series.

Som said...

NC, Mendis has more in common with Kumble than say a Murali. He's a line and length spinner, with amazing control. He does not turn it big and its the skidding delivery, that carrom ball, which is earning him wickets. I didn't see him beating the bat with big turn. Whatever, he's an exciting prospect and it was simply thrilling to see him fox the Indian batsmen.

Q said...

Som, there is more skid then spin and he relies more on subtle variations but he's got as many as 6-7 of those variations..

Its not the spin that beats the batsmen, its the minimal turn thats enough to beat the bat.

wasim said...

I have already analyzed his action
in detail, he has three main weapons googly, doosra and off spin he delivers all three of them with a different grip and wrist position with the passage of time batsmen will definitely work him out.

Som said...

Q agreed. But I still feel lack of turn means he won't be as much a threat as Murali. His line is a little predictable. He can't bowl you around your legs that's for sure. Lack of turn and his tendency to push it through the air means he won't be much threatening on a fifth day wicket. Even Anil Kumble had to learn to turn at the fag end of his career. Anyway, be whatever, he makes you sit up and take notice. What a bowler!

Som said...

Wasim, soon Kirsten and Dhoni would approach you, cajoling you to share your findings! Man, you are about to be a rich man!

Wasim said...

Yeah right, Som I am looking forward to that happening!

His carom strike doosra will not generate a lot of spin as a cricket ball is a lot heavier and solid. I have seen bowlers squeezing the tennis ball with their fingers and generating a lot of bounce and turn even on a cement wicket, the extra bounce and turn normally comes because of squeezing the ball.

Its very hard to bowl that deliver with a cricket ball as it is solid and much heavier than a tennis ball
he is able to bowl that delivery because of his run up like a medium pacer, he is able to push the ball faster in the air which compromises his ability to spin, also with just one finger he cannot put too many revolutions on the ball.

I think within a few months all the good batsmen will be able to read his action as he has a different release and grip for his doosra, googly and off spin.

Vijay said...

amalan

brilliantr stuff. will visit your blog regularly. very refreshing writing with lot of cricket in it. i am convinced you have a great future in cricket writing. wishing you all the best. brilliant again.

Vijay Lokapally/THE HINDU

Som said...

Vijay Sir, thank you so much. Do visit occasionally, when you have time.

scorpicity said...

The great srilankan freak show continues... it would be interesting to watch his progress.

Som said...

Scorpi...it would make for an exciting duel when Mendis will have Tendulkar/Ganguly/Laxman/Dravid at the other end.

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