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Enormity of Lee’s spell not easy to comprehend

india Updated: May 10, 2011 01:27 IST
Jacques Kallis
Jacques Kallis
Hindustan Times
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I have always been interested in how sportsmen are 'measured' in terms of success and failure. There are the obvious ways, of course, like goals or runs and wickets, but sometimes that isn't enough.

Cricketers are always aware of the contributions made by their teammates over and above runs and wickets, but sometimes we wonder how many people outside the team realise how much a player does to influence the course of a match.

Superlative Brett Lee received praise for his bowling in the last match against the Super Kings, but I wonder how many people actually realise the enormity of what it takes to produce a spell like his.

His first three overs cost just five runs! And his fourth cost three more! It must be impossible to understand how difficult it is to produce figures like that unless one has firsthand experience of bowling at a very high level.

What is it equivalent to in batting? A 50 off 25 balls? No. It's much harder than that. More like 50 off 15 balls. It was the single-most important factor in our victory against the CSK. Never mind the rain and Duckworth Lewis, and all the other excellent performances, because 'Binger' won the game. And he didn't even take a wicket!

I have been on both sides of the equation. Sometimes, I can bat at the top of the order and make 60 under no pressure and people say I won the game, but I know it was the bowlers who won the game.

On other occasions, I can bowl a couple of vital dot balls at a critical stage and nobody even seems to notice!

Bangalore have been in daunting form recently and Chris Gayle keeps showing that when he scores runs, his team wins - whoever they are. The next game against the Royal Challengers will be seen as an indicator of form for the knockout stages.

Lee vs Gayle, now that's a contest worth paying to see.