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The last man on earth.

by Gaurav Sethi

It has taken me many years to realise the worth of Harbhajan Singh, the bowler. Paradoxically his worth is not in his bowling, or as some might believe in his batting. It is in his appealing. Today at the Brabourne stadium he mystified me, and the odd unsuspecting umpire with his appeals. They were, as often have been, top draw. He is without doubt the best appealer, if you can call him that, in the Indian ranks.

His appeals have a desperation that makes you want to help him. Because if you don’t, that awfully grumbly face will surface – the pain is real even if the appeal is not. Commentators worldwide know this, and amongst them Shastri and LS will parrot his predicament – once he gets an early wicket he becomes a different kind of bowler.

I have tried to make sense of this nonsense before, but I now realise, it was me who was blind to the initial efforts that Bhajji puts in – the appeals when they start off are nothing short of a young romantic – scared yet hopeful, whatever that means.

And when the early breakthrough doesn’t come they break his apocalyptic appeals too - they become almost like any other Indian cricketers, routine. What Shastri and LS meant, and now it dawns upon me is this: if he gets an early wicket he becomes a different kind of appealer.

But if he doesn’t, it’s not just the appeals that suffer, the bowling too takes a bollocking. But this is not about Bhajji the bowler, or his 4/107 today. It is about the appeal that hypnotized the umpire into giving Dilshan out.

Forgive the poor umpire, I have seen, after many a Bhajji appeal, even hawkeye give batsmen out. That after umpires have correctly called, and not given in to Bhajji’s pleading ways. Yes, there is still a small, yet fast dwindling tribe of white coats that are not swayed by Bhajji’s ways.

But look at the bright side, in Bhajji’s company how lesser appealers like Kumble and Kartik came into their own. The heretics have often questioned why Harbhajan Singh was preferred to Anil Kumble – not any more, the answer lies in something as simple as a raised hand, a cry for justice – justice that every great appealer yearns for. And will no doubt get, in spite of whether there was daylight between bat and pad.

Bhajji believers will argue that TM Dilshan c Vijay b Harbhajan Singh is not the correct decision. It should according to them read as: TM Dilshan c Vijay b & a Harbhajan Singh. As you would have guessed, a is for appealed.

Bhajji being modesty refused to comment, but TM Dilshan endorsed this new way to record dismissals.

It is a tribute to a man who has never stopped to learn; devise new ways to appeal – the deathliest being the Doosra wherein Bhajji makes his appeal to the umpire standing at square leg. Novel is not the word for this genius, who sources claim is looking to further tweak his appeals – by going straight to the third umpire, technology be damned.

When asked how he does it, Bhajji said in all caps, “ I APPEAL TO THE GODS AGAINST THE INJUSTICE CAUSED TO BOWLERS, I APPEAL AS IF I AM THE LAST MAN ON EARTH” Shifting to lowercase, he added, “because when it’s all over, ki farkh panda (what difference does it make).

Harbhajan Singh: He may not to appeal to your senses, but he will to your non senses. Get out.


Mahek said...

Ah this is such a better way of taking his piss. The best part was the one about Hawkeye.

raj said...

Absolute peach, NC.

Gaurav Sethi said...

Yeah Mahek, very satisfying.

Cheers Raj, good to see you around man.

Anonymous said...

That is absolutely hilarious.

Good one, NC

Rohit said...

Awesome! loved it.. don't agree with it but thought it was great...

Som said...

Hahaha, brilliant NC! Had a real good laugh. At times even Hawkeye...hahaha..peach of a post.

Gaurav Sethi said...

Thanks KMC, how're you and blogging coming along?

Cheers Rohit, of course you don't. And don't we know it.

Thanks Som, you laughed last.