Thursday, August 4, 2011

Helmets, Pads, Shoes and the Gums

The Indian team is being bombarded from all quarters. As a fan we are tired reading these pieces. Just to take our mind off let us read something different.

I was casually watching the highlights of England – Sri Lanka Test match somewhere from between. Sri Lanka was batting then. It was surprising to see Sangakara batting with Dilshan at the top of the order. My first impression may be the opening partner of Dilshan must have injured himself and so Sangakara has come out to bat at no loss of wicket. Sangakara appeared taller than usual. That’s bizarre. Hang on for a moment! Ooops…it wasn’t Sangakara actually, but the opener Paranavitana. Misled by the helmet that appeared similar to the one used by Sanga. Truly surprised to see somebody trying that particular model of helmet as it does not appear any fancy. Thankfully the gear found a trendsetter.

At this time, I really turned curious to discover any other trendsetter for any other cricket gear.
Not far from Sri Lanka, but very much far in timelines found Gavaskar, a trendsetter for another gear. To my little knowledge he was the only person to use the pads with double straps and there was hardly a contemporary to try it then. Few years after his retirement, Tendulkar used similar pads (I vaguely remember reading Gavaskar gave his pads to Tendulkar). After Tendulkar few other Indians started using the pads namely Ganguly, Laxman, Dhoni etc. Though Gavaskar was the origin, I should say Tendulkar set the trend for that model of pads. Interesting huh!!!

I could not hold myself from exploring further. This time found the Pakistanis to do something with shoes. I think Waqar Younis (correct me if I’m wrong) was the first person to come up with shoes that had opening on the left toe. It helped him to ease the pressure on the left foot when he lands for the delivery. Quickly Akram, Akthar and few others followed suit with those pattern of shoes.

The findings turned intriguing and so widened my horizon to look for anything similar in the other part of the world. This time found West Indies to offer something interesting, not with respect to a gear but a habit that is mostly unique to them. The way Chanderpaul marks his guard using the bails quickly caught up with Sarwan, Pollard etc and it is something exclusive only to calypso cricket.

Not sure if there is a habit or a gear that is unique to Australia, England, New Zealand or South Africa at this time. It fathoms (not exactly sure with shoes) me why these practices didn’t go global?

However, there are few gears that has received global acknowledgement.
I vaguely remember AB De-villiers introducing wicket keeping pads that could be fit inside the pants. Witnessed Taibu and few others using it and these pads are predominately used in T20’s and still working its way to reach other keepers around the world. Also in the recent past, wicketkeepers have started trying baseball helmets. Again the idea has not penetrated too much.

However I did find an accessory that made itself a cricket gear and later received worldwide acceptance. Ian Botham was the first person to field with the sun glasses in the 1987 World Cup. Few more Englishmen followed him. Back then it appeared strange and received lot of criticism. Today, sunglasses are an important cricket gear in any cricketer’s life.

As we speak about gears and habits, it is equally disappointing to see an immensely popular habit lost in time. Viv Richards chewing the gum would be the site many die for. Big Fun and few other brands cashed on Richard’s habit and flourished in chewing gum business. The habit turned so popular that every kid in the street would play the game chewing the gum. I simply cannot understand why the habit is lost in time. There is hardly anybody, except for Yusuf Pathan still playing the game chewing gums.

I guess you have already started digging for more patterns. If you found some please let me know in the comments section.

Cricket Lover

1 comment:

  1. The waqar shoe thing is wrong, it was started by Imran Khan, its called Thumb/toe escape. Followers were Wasim, Waqar and even Donald and Shoiab and latest Mohammad Amir. These shoes are custom made and i believe he cobbler is in Birmingham (as far as SHoaibs shoes)


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