Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Inspired by the Dazzler

I was watching "The F word" on TV last night and as part of the show, chef Gordon Ramsay usually invites a celebrity to prepare a dish for the restaurant patrons. The guest yesterday was Darren Gough. Good ol' Dazzler. England's premier fast bowler at one point in his career. A career abruptly cut short by a troubled knee.
I remember reading his autobiography "Dazzler" a few years back. Though I don't clearly remember the contents and I suspect a visit to the city library to reread this is due, I do remember the cover page where the Yorkshireman is in whites, tossing a ball up in the air and having that trademark impish, schoolboy smile on his face.
He looked rather refreshing last night, though his metrosexual act (read: pink tee, earrings and the newly acquired swish dancing skills) was a tad overstretched. Still, it was a treat to see the player whose bowling action, at one point in my life, I tried to imitate. It wasn't the classic smooth action like Shane Bond, but the beauty of the action was it allowed me to bowl what I usually am good at. Inswingers.
[For those who don't know me, I play cricket at a very basic level (club level). I think of myself as a bowler and can be useful with the bat.].

Darren Gough was touted to be the next Ian Botham, but circumstances and injury troubles never let this dashing bowler exploit his full potential. Dazzler was in a different league. His wonderful and accurate bowling, swashbuckling cameos with the bat, on-field friendly banter, enthusiasm, and passion made for interesting viewing.
I remember one such incident on TV where Darren bowled a relatively short bowl outside the line of off stump which the batsman effortlessly cut behind point. Seemed like a regulation couple down 3rd man, but Mark Ramprakash at point threw himself on his left and saved the 2 runs by sheer brilliant fielding a-la regulation Rhodes style. Darren’s reaction: the customary smile and a warm friendly flying kiss towards Mark. His antics on-field kept the mood light and his bowling and passion kept the morale high.

Last night, Dazzler made a spud dish which received lukewarm comments, but there was Dazzler, smiling his way through everything. He even asked Ramsay to dance with him and showed him a few tricks of the ballroom technique.

How I’d love to watch him play against some of the best players today!