Thursday, March 17, 2011

A World Cup epigram for Hiral Patel

Watching 19 year-old Canadian batsman Hiral Patel take to the Australian fast bowlers made me think not of Sachin Tendulkar but of a 2006 Cricinfo article by Gideon Haigh on West Indian batsman Roy Fredericks, later collected in Haigh’s anthology Silent Revolutions: Writings on Cricket History.
Hiral Patel’s sight on the TV news is similar to Haigh’s excellent description of Fredericks: ‘Heavens, he was so small, so unprepossessing: a bantamweight at best.’ Haigh goes on to describe how Fredericks deceptive build asserts the long handle on ‘70s fast bowlers Thomson and Lillee in Australia, and describes how Fredericks hooks Lillee for a memorable six. Patel's innings also included a stunning six.
Although they were clearly different strokes and each player was clearly of a different class, Fredericks’s play was a decisive shot much in the same way as Hiral Patel’s shot against feared paceman Shaun Tait which cleared the cover boundary. Patel’s shot to me was simply impressive as he played the shot off the back foot against a 148.5kph delivery.
In Fredericks's innings, he raced to 169 off 145 balls. His first fifty came off just 33 balls. In a similar way, Hiral Patel’s fifty came off 37 balls. Unfortunately for Patel and Canada, the fun soon ended after reaching his fifty. Patel never went on to make a magical century like Fredericks but instead holed out to third man.
During and after the game some commentators described it as one of the most memorable shots of the 2011 World Cup so far. A good article about Patel’s shot by Sriram Veera appeared afterwards on Cricinfo. Sadly, as the article notes, it is a shot that Patel perhaps won’t repeat if the Associates are kept out of the next World Cup.
I wrote an epigram about Hiral’s shot today:


Top Shot

In an innings maybe he’ll never repeat;
Hiral Patel despatches a Tait thunderbolt.

© Mark Pirie 2011

(Sources: Cricinfo and Silent Revolutions: Writings on Cricket History by Gideon Haigh (Black Inc, Melbourne, 2006)

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