Skip to main content

No Sri Lankan batsman judged length better, or was as crafty as Aravinda De Silva

By Harsh Thakor* 

Diminutive at 5ft.3 inches, Aravinda De Silva of Sri Lanka was amongst the most talented or craftiest batsmen of his generation or of all time. Possibly in his era, he was the most technically correct of all batsmen. Few ever surpassed his pure, technical finesse.
On bad wicket or in a crisis Aravinda was the ultimate man to resurrect a team from the grave or stitch a team’s wounds. He was equally effective in defence and attack, blending them to perfection.
On his day, he simply propelled a cricket ball with a magic touch and was as attractive as anybody. His strokes possessed a rare chemistry, reminiscent of a lotus blooming. Aravinda had the ability to manufacture strokes of his very own.
On bad wickets, Aravinda could display mastery in the class of Lara or Tendulkar.Few were ever more effective in manipulating the strike or propelling an innings with tail enders. In run chases he was as enduring or durable as the very best.
De Silva blended the solidity and technical organisation of Sunil Gavaskar, with the aggression and innovation of Viv Richards. He was a concoction of oriental artistry with classical English style. He perfectly blended a natural wristiness with natural timing and razor sharp r reflexes.
At best, few could more effectively, singlehandedly carry a team’s batting on his shoulder, or script famous victory.
For the ultimate big match, Aravinda was the ultimate connoisseur. In both test and ODI cricket Aravinda was responsible for propelling Sri Lanka to its most spectacular victories.
In run of the mill contests, he often got bored, but when the going was heavy Aravinda never lost his nerves.
He scored the bulk of his runs, square of the wicket, cutting, pulling and hooking, with characteristic elegance. Aravinda’s cover drive of the backfoot ,was almost as pleasing to the eye with that of Sachin Tendulkar.The repertoire of his strokes was as diverse as the different colours of rainbow.
He was also a useful off break bowler.
Aravinda was one of the principal architects of Sri Lanka establishing itself on the cricketing map of the world or blossoming as a major cricketing power.Few ever made such a contribution to shaping the face of nation’s cricket.

Best batting

The memories of his batting in the 1996 world cup are simply inextinguishable in my memories. Aravinda in that edition, in the semi-finals and final epitomised batting skill, domination or virtuosity to heavenly regions, cutting, pulling, hooking and driving in a majestic manner. He blended the skill of an engineer with the creativity of painter. Above all, they sealed the coveted world cup title for Sri Lanka.
In Kolkata when scoring 66 in the semi-final against India, on a pitch with uneven bounce which was a nightmare for batsmen, De Silva reminded one of a surgeon performing an operation on a patient considered incurable or someone drilling a borewell in a desert. It was worth a century, when you consider the conditions. One of the finest innings in World cup cricket overcoming adversity.
In the final at Lahore against Australia he gave one of the most clinical executions of batting ever seen in a world cup run chase or ODI tournament final. In a most majestic manner he propelled his team, escalating the scoring rate with the surgical precision of an army battalion, to deliver the perfect knockout punch. It was beauty epitomised, witnessing Aravinda flicking the ball from the offstump past square leg.. Possibly no innings in a run chase in a world cup final, surpassed it, in terms of clinical precision.
Rarely has the spin bowling genius, Shane Warne, been at such a receiving end, or dispelled or punished with such conviction. I also can’t forget the manner in which he clobbered the likes of Paul Reiffel and Glen Mcgrath. Very rarely has any batsmen pulled the wool out of the eyes of the Australian team as Aravinda did here. He also captured 3 wickets, thus becoming the only player to score a century and capture 3 wickets, in a world cup final.
I can never forget how in 1998 Sri Lanka were cruising home to victory in an ODI tournament final against India ,before his dismissal, after which his side was bundled out. I also cherish memories of his majestic bating in an epic run chase at home in 1998.His 167 ,in Australia ,was also a classic.
In 1989, in Australia, his 167 at Brisbane and 75 and 72 at Hobart, constituted one of the most illustrious batting performances, by a batsmen from the subcontinent, taking conviction to heights rarely transcended. Desilva averaged 104.66, the highest ever by a batsmen from the subcontinent, i n a series in Australia.
In 1991, his 267 at Wellington, ranked amongst cricket’s classics. Overall in that series, few overseas batsmen were ever as dominant, on a New Zealand tour.DeSilva averaged 98.60,which was staggering.
In 1997 playing against Pakistan at Colombo, De Silva carved two classic unbeaten centuries, after scoring 168 in the preceding test. He simply looked as invincible as any great. Rarely has any batsmen .so single-handedly dominated or carried the mantle of team’s batting on his shoulders.Desilva averaged a staggering 216 in that series.
Later in 1997, against India, he was consistency personified, plundering 3 centuries in succession. Overall, he averaged a phenomenal 130.66.


Aravinda concluded his test career scoring at an average of 42.97, with 22 fifties and 20 centuries. At home he averaged 52.22, scoring 3290 runs, and away averaged 36.06 scoring 2993 runs. This could be held against him, when comparing him with the all-time greats. He averaged around 38 in Australia, around 36 in England and 25 in India. However one must consider or weigh the batting strength of the team Aravinda represented and the extent the burden fell upon him.
Aravinda captured 29 test wickets. In matches won he averaged 54.33 while in drawn games, 64.36, where he aggregated 3154 runs. This illustrated that he was master in batting for your life. In ODI’s he scored 9284 runs at an average of 34.90, scoring 11 centuries .Remarkably, in games won, he averaged 50.56, scoring 4905 runs and 8 centuries. He was an outstanding match-winner in ODI’s.He had remarkable strike rate of 81.13.He also had a haul of 106 scalps with the ball.
In terms of pure natural ability, Aravinda De Silva is at the top of the pedestal, amongst Sri Lankan batsmen. .
Overall I would tag De Silva as a truly great batsman, with his figures not doing him complete justice. In my view, he was on par with Mahela Jayewardene and Kumar Sangakkara ,with marginally more natural ability
Fascinatingly in the late 1990’s, late cricket writer Rajan Bala, classed Aravinda De Silva, as technically, the most correct batsmen in the world.
Possibly, Aravinda had disadvantage of playing for a weaker side like Sri Lanka. Arguably Aravinda at his best, or in term sof natural ability ,was in the class of a Tendulkar, Lara or Ponting . Playing for a stronger side, he may well have averaged close to 50.
In terms of pure natural ability, Aravinda De Silva is at the top of the pedestal, amongst Sri Lankan batsmen. No Sri Lankan batsmen judged length better, or was as crafty. Overall I would tag De Silva as a truly great batsman, with his figures not doing him complete justice. In my view, he was on par with Mahela Jayewardene and Kumar Sangakkara ,with marginally more natural ability.
.John Woodcock selected him amongst his 100 best of all time, but Cristopher Martin Jenkins excluded him. I would just scrape Aravinda in my list of 100 best cricketers of all time and possibly in the best 50 batsmen of all..
To me Aravinda is an equal of an Inzamam Ul Haq, Mark Waugh or Ted Dexter ,and one notch below a Lara or Tendulkar. Potentially he was match-winner in the Lara class or a man for a crisis like Alan Border or Javed Miandad. Mark Waugh and Inzamam Ul Haq had more flair or fluency but not as adept as Aravinda in batting for your life.
Aravinda rated Viv Richards as the best batsmen and his role model and Richard Hadlee as the best pace bowler he ever encountered, with Wasim Akram a whisker behind. He also revered Javed Miandad in a crisis and the flawless technique of Sunil Gavaskar.
*Freelance journalist



हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

ગુજરાતના સ્થાપના દિવસે યાદ કરીએ ભારતના વિશ્વપ્રસિદ્ધ ગુજરાતી પુરાતત્વવિદ્ ને

- ગૌરાંગ જાની*  આજે કોઈ ગુજરાતી એ કલ્પના પણ ન કરી શકે કે વર્ષ ૧૮૩૯ માં જૂનાગઢમાં જન્મેલા એક ગુજરાતી વિશ્વ પ્રસિદ્ધ બની શકે! પણ આપણે એ ગુજરાતીને કદાચ વિસરી ગયા છીએ જેમણે ગિરનારના અશોક શિલાલેખને દોઢસો વર્ષ પૂર્વે ઉકેલી આપ્યો.આ વિદ્વાન એટલે ભગવાનલાલ ઈન્દ્રજી. ૭ નવેમ્બર, ૧૮૩૯ ના દિવસે જૂનાગઢના પ્રશ્નોરા નાગર બ્રાહ્મણ પરિવારમાં તેમનો જન્મ થયો હતો. જૂનાગઢના એ સમયે અંગ્રેજી શિક્ષણની સગવડ ન હોવાને કારણે તેમને અંગ્રેજી ભાષાનું જ્ઞાન ન હતું પણ પાછળથી તેમણે ખપ પૂરતું અંગ્રેજી જાણી લીધું હતું.

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

Concerted, organised civil rights stir is lacking against Operation Kagar

By Harsh Thakor*  The entire country has been engulfed with barbaric oppression, with unparalleled destruction of constitutional organs for the past ten years. The emergency of 1975-77 has been more than ressurected by the present regime. and more repressive than the post-liberalisation period ushered in by PV Narasimha Rao. Neo-fascsim has been on ascendancy, as never before.

આપણા સમાજમાં દીકરીના માતપિતાનો દરજ્જો દીકરાના માતાપિતા કરતાં નિમ્ન કક્ષાનો કેમ?

- તૃપ્તિ શેઠ  થોડાંક દિવસ પહેલાં એક દુકાનમાં ખરીદી કરવાં ગઈ અને એ બહેન જે દુકાન પર બેઠાં હતાં એ ફોન પર વાતો જ કર્યા કરતાં હતાં . હું કંટાળીને આગળ જવા ગઈ તો એ મને કહે , "સોરી !  મારી મમ્મીને હું રોજ આ સમયે ફોન કરું છું કેમ કે એ મંદિરમાં રહે છે અને ત્યાં ઈલેક્ટ્રિસિટી નથી. એ પાંચ રૂપીઆમાં ફોન રોજ ચાર્જ કરાવે અને મારી સાથે વાત કરે." મે પૂછ્યું તારી મમ્મી કેમ એકલી રહે છે, તો એનો જવાબ હતો કે મારા બે ભાઈઓએ મારી મમ્મીને એના ઘરમાંથી કાઢી મૂકી છે એટલે એક ગામના છેવાડે આવેલાં મંદિરમાં રહે છે અને ત્યાં કામ કરે છે . મે કહ્યું ,” તું કેમ તારી મમ્મીની બોલાવી લેતી નથી ? “ તો મને કહે, મારી મા કહે છે કે છોકરીને ઘરે પાણી પણ પીએ તો  પાપ લાગે. 

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

हीट-एक्शन नीति में अनौपचारिक व खुले-में-कार्यरत मजदूरों को शामिल नहीं करना निंदनीय

- नेशनल अलायन्स ऑफ़ पीपुल्स मूवमेंट्स  पूरे भारत में 'चुनावी गर्मी' ज़ोर पकड़ चुकी है, जो हम सभी को साफ़-साफ़ दिखाई भी दे रही है। हालाँकि, एक और गर्मी है जो नागरिकों, विशेष रूप से करोड़ों खुले में काम करने वाले श्रमिकों को प्रभावित करती है, यह न तो 'चुनावी मुद्दा' है और न ही इस पर सामाजिक रूप से पर्याप्त ध्यान दिया जाता है। भारत के ग्रामीण और शहरी दोनों हिस्सों में मेहनतकश लोग, जो चिलचिलाती धूप में भी हमारे गाँवों और शहरों के लिए अनाज पैदा करते हैं, हर तरह का निर्माण कार्य करते हैं, शहरों व गांवों को चलाते हैं, हमें विभिन्न प्रकार की सेवाएँ प्रदान करें, लेकिन इसी वर्ग का अभी तक 'मुख्यधारा' के जलवायु न्याय और नीतिगत विमर्श में पर्याप्त रूप से प्रतिनिधित्व नहीं किया गया है।