Cricket is a game of patience, one that makes your nerves to wiggle and quiver until the very end. Blink your eye for a moment and you might miss out on the greatest memories. Now try and imagine what those 22 men must feel like, in a do-or-die game, where balance only tilts towards those who maintain their composure. Hard to watch, harder to be watched – funny thing, this game.
When the going gets tough, cricketers like Kane Williamson show why they’re worth a million dollars or even more. What he did on a track as we saw in the Eliminator between SRH and RCB of IPL 2020 was surreal, and we know not many could have pulled that off in world cricket. Perhaps one could think of only Virat Kohli, who has done it in the past quite a few times. Even in the all-time list, you’d find a finite number of cricketers to fall in that category.
Pick your moments is the saying I never understood. What cricketers of the highest quality do is pick any moment they wish to own and really own. That’s what Williamson does, time and again. He is a cricketer who can hit sixes at will, pretty long ones to be honest, with the sweetest of bat swings possible. I doubt if anyone else’s six-hitting sounds and appears as musical as his.
Williamson hit four boundaries in the Eliminator. First, a six off Washington Sundar when his strike-rate was under 70 and things seemed to be slipping away. It went deep over the mid-wicket boundary, a beautifully timed sweep. His next boundary came off the last ball of Yuzvendra Chahal, who bowled beautifully up until then. Action replay of his first six, even better this time, as the ball was turning away. There was a blazing cross-batted heave towards cover, which dented the confidence of Shivam Dube having bowled a decent over until then.
Arguably my favourite boundary of all was the fourth one, off Navdeep Saini. Saini had the composure to hit the lengths, but Williamson, as always, had the ice and brain to find a gap which not many could’ve tried to exploit. A delicate touch, almost as gentle as holding a new-born and Saini’s pace carried it fine towards third-man boundary for a four.
Kane Williamson – The best a man can get, on and off the field
Sunrisers decided to drop Kane Williamson as captain of the franchise, despite the great man carrying them to a final and a fourth-place finish in the two seasons he was at the top. David Warner chosen ahead of Williamson seemed like a call to ensure Jonny Bairstow and Warner’s tried and tested combination at the top remains intact.
But most experts knew that it was only a matter of time before Sunrisers realize that playing Bairstow ahead of Williamson would come to bite them. Warner tried accommodating both of them in the XI at the expense of an all-rounder, which was another move that proved to be quite disastrous.
Jason Holder’s presence was always going to add quality to the side, and it was only a matter of time before he added that cutting edge to make this side look like a champion unit. Just the class and composure that these two individuals displayed to take the team over the line broke the hearts of many millions who bleed the RCB red, whilst also reminding the world why one cannot disregard players that ooze experience and calmness.
Having grown up in the era of Rahul Dravid and Adam Gilchrist, it is hard to think of many who fit the saying “The Best A Man Can Get”. From a stroke of genius on the field to a smile that slays the hearts of men and women, this lot of cricketers are as important to the game as the game is important to them.
They carry not just the flags of their country and the game, but also of humanity to a great extent, giving many kids (the future stars) a perfect role model to follow and time and again proving why this is a game of the gentlemen.
For this generation, Kane Williamson – who remains grounded while flying high, who smiles after losing the World Cup final in a super over, who can be sent to bat for one’s life – is truly the best that the world cricket can get.