Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tresco

This was one of those leisurely days of ODI cricket to begin with. We played some quality strokes to put up 281 amidst binoculars, paper caps and freshly peeled oranges against England, boosted by the presence of both Gough and Caddick after the recently concluded test series. It was a near-packed Eden Gardens stadium, and when the extravagant yet bizarrely errant SK Sharma gave Nick Knight out in the first over, the stadium erupted.

What followed under the lofty floodlights for the next two hours or so was something Eden Gardens has never witnessed before. This was not lazy elegance. This was not master blasting. This was not even grafting a wall. This was simple craftsmanship at its best. Place the ball in gaps, run your twos hard and hit those fours harder. Drive, cut, sweep, in other words, use the full repertoire.

It took another Sharma error in the 36th over to remove Tresco. England collapsed in eight more overs. But as long as he was there, Trescothick had shred the Indian attack (Srinath, Agarkar, Kumble, Harbhajan make a formidable attack under Indian conditions) to ribbons in the most clinical of manners. It was not done with a paintbrush or a chisel or a hammer: he had used an entire toolbox to brutal effect.

I had become a Trescothick fan that day. And was secretly upset when I got to know when his international career had come to an abrupt halt one day when he declared himself mentally unfit (or whatever) for the stress of overseas tours. The man can make mincemeat of any attack, but is mentally unfit when it comes to leaving England, I thought. He can forego his international career because of that.

Somehow he became more of a hero, and for some unknown reason, I secretly cried one night. I could never confess to anyone. Why would an Indian be a Trescothick fan, everyone would ask. But then, who cares?

Happy birthday, mate.

Followers