As part of my ongoing quest to convert readers of this blog into becoming cricket fans, I thought I would share a short clip from 1975 in which West Indian Alvin Kallicharan gives a gorgeous batting display. What makes this even more remarkable is that he scored these runs not off some journeyman bowler but against Dennis Lillee of Australia, a magnificent fast bowler who, along with Michael Holding of the West Indies, had the smoothest and best bowling actions that I have ever seen.
Furthermore, note that Kallicharan had no helmet or other protective gear, which was a later development in cricket following some serious injuries. He was also very slightly built, just 5’5″ in height, so the bouncing ball would often come to him at the height of his head. Lillee was a bowler who could wreak havoc on opposing sides because of his speed, bounce, and accuracy. But this clip shows Kallicharan as fearless, using exquisite timing and footwork to score runs off one of the best bowlers to play the game.
As an additional bonus, the commentator is Richie Benaud (his distinctive voice is instantly recognizable), who captained Australia and had a well-deserved reputation as one of the wiliest captains who on many occasions snatched victory from defeat for Australia by his bowling or batting or captaincy skills. After retirement, he went on to become an excellent play-by-play announcer and cricket analyst. I really liked listening to him because he did not insult the listener by yakking just to fill airtime but instead was sparing in his use of words while giving high quality insights.
So watch and simultaneously enjoy a great batsman, great bowler, and great commentator.