Born and brought up in a typical Indian Hindu family, all these years I have been hearing numerous mythological stories, where the death of a religious "Guru" (those who are held in as high esteem as saints) leads to the birth of another, as an "Avatar"(a Hindi word for incarnation) or otherwise.
Although I am not a great believer of all these theories, being a cricket fanatic, I can't but draw parallels with this concept to cricket.
10 years back in 1999 Lance "Zulu" Klusener was in his prime. He stole the hearts of millions, carrying out last minute heroics with his hard and clean hitting capabilities. Most often than not, he walked out to bat when the required run rate was around 10 with just a few overs to go.
Now, in 2009, as Klusener fades away after his reasonable success in ICL, there is a new star on the horizon—Yusuf Pathan.
Like Klusener, this bloke walks out to bat lower down the order, at a time when his team and its fans knows he is the only guy who can bail them out.
Yusuf arrived on the international stage in last year's IPL, with a reputation for clean hitting, but the most admirable quality that he is developing is that he not only hits the big shots, he leads his team to victory, not leaving it to someone else to finish off the job.
The only difference between the two is that while Klusener had an affinity for fast bowling, Pathan loves the slower or the spin bowlers, whoever they might be.
Though early days in his career, the way he approaches these pressure-cooker situations is noteworthy and, like Klusener, he has been doing this with quite some consistency so far, whether it's for Rajasthan Royals or for India. With time, he can only improve further.
Until next time,
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