Day 4 of the India v Australia Test: another day, another salute to Sachin Tendulkar, who scored his sixth double-ton in Test cricket. I will have to say, though, that I disagree with Ravi Shastri (and other people) who call Sachin a 'batting machine'. To me, he always comes across as so very human — full of passion, emotion and, on occasion, even human error — and not the least bit machine-like at all. (No machine would, for instance, superstitiously have his very favourite bat carefully repaired, repaired, and repaired again.) I think that is a large part of his charm. He finally got out for 214. And looked, despite this fabulous score, rather dismayed with himself. Peter George, on the other, looked anything but ... But can you blame him?! His very first Test wicket; and a deserved wicket it was; and not only that, but the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar to boot. Even though young George only took one other wicket (Khan), it almost felt like he got the wicket of the entire Indian tail with that first, maiden Test wicket of his: after the Fall of Tendulkar, it was virtually all over: only 9 more runs were added before India was 495 all out.
Meanwhile, in another part of the universe, Usman Khawaja scored 214 off 294 balls (SR 72.78!) in a NSW v SA Sheffield Shield match at the Adelaide Over. I am rather sorry I did not watch this match because Khawaja is a delightful batsman to watch. In an interview with PakPassion, Khawaja cites Brian Lara and Adam Gilchrist the batsmen he admired most growing up. But regarding his own batting technique, he goes on to say:
'... I think it is quite original. I have never copied any other player, and never plan too. Everyone has to find a way to score on the field and that’s all I have tried to do. As much as I admire many players and the way they have batted, I think playing style is a very personal choice.'
He has chosen wisely.
Usman Khawaja's previous highest score was 172*; his average in First-class Cricket is 48.46 (but his average for last season was, if I remember correctly, just over 65). Usman Khawaja is NOT in the Australian XI.
For comparative purposes, let us look at some other statistics. Phillip Hughes, also NOT playing for the Australian XI, has a First-class average of 55.87. Marcus North, who IS, 43.17.
For this Australian XI, we like to start from the bottom. Question is: will we ever work our way to the top?