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india Updated: Feb 04, 2003 16:07 IST
Manish Verma
Manish Verma

Chris Cairns

When this man strides to the crease, you can feel the frisson of excitement that seizes the crowd. When he is on song, you would hate to field in the covers region as well as the long-off boundary. A long-off fielder can only watch the ball sail over his head time and again.He hits hard and straight. He is technically very correct and is certainly capable of tearing an attack apart but tends to bat too low in the New Zealand order at one-day level.

Usually in modern era, crowd come for an exciting cricket with flurry of fours and sixes and wickets being uprooted. The Kiwi all-rounder posses that priceless ability that makes crowds forget which team they are supporting.

Besides his hard hitting abilities, Cairns is the bowler best suited to banging the ball over and again. His height gives him the advantage of hiiting the deck at awkward length. But his bowling has been limited due to career-threatning knee injuries.

In the upcoming World Cup Cairns would be gunning for glory one last time.

Shaun Pollock

There were many doubters after Shaun Pollock was given the captaincy of the national side following Hansie Cronje's fall from grace; he was a great player, sure, but was he really the man to lead a demoralised South Africa team through their darkest hour?

One of the finest opening bowlers, a good one-day batsmen and most importantly taking the burden of South African captaincy on his shoulders. Perhaps he along with Glenn McGrath are rated as the most accurate bowlers in the current cricketing world.

Pollock is able to move the ball both ways at a lively pace. He also possesses stamina and courage in abundance as in proved in Adelaide in 1998 when he toiled on hour after hour in blazing heat to take seven for 87 in 41 overs on a perfect batting pitch.

When it comes down to batting, Pollock never gives up. It is also remarkable how much Shaun Pollock's batting has improved in the last year. He made two Test centuries and is a good one-day batsmen in the crisis situation.

Jacques Kallis

In the current cricketing world, Jacques Kallis has certainly taken the cricketing world by storm with his all-round abilities. He seldom gets tired and never give anything less than 100% to South Africa.

He bats at No.3 and has a very sound technique. He has a very solid defence and a brilliant extra-cover drive. 

A thinking bowler he has the knack of striking in every spell. This is because he knows exactly what he is doing and doesn't just go through the motions which some of the most experienced players are prone to. Kallis comes in the category of thinkers and South Africa must be grateful to have his talents at their disposal. He is not a player of immense flair but he has the good sense to play within his limitations to raise his game at the right time and go in for the kill. 

Kallis uses his powerful shoulders exceptionally well to generate speed and the wrists to move the ball briskly both ways. He possesses a mean short delivery that can soften batsmen and has put the yorker to good effect in the ODIs. His recent five-wicket haul came at Cape Town An aggressive bowler, forever on the look-out for wickets. And with the willow, he belongs to the top-rung, a cool, beautifully balanced batsman with a wide array of strokes. A lovely driver on either side of the wicket, the South African can put away the short balls ruthlessly.

Yet, all his shot-making ability is backed by sound defence and a steely resolve. With his intense eyes and strong frame, he is reminiscent of a soldier in a battlefield and he has certainly been that for South Africa on the cricketing arena at the crucial No. 3 slot.

Abdur Razzaq

He is rated as the best Pakistan all-rounder after Imran Khan.Abdul Razzaq is capable of batting at No. 3 and even lower down the order when the team needs quick runs. His hogged the limelight approach to the wicket, accuracy, and reverse-swing with the old bowler, leg-cutter being a lethal weapon.

He plays strokes to all round the wicket and is particularly strong driving through cover. He can patiently graft his innings like Rahul Dravid and can change gears and become Lance Klusener and start playing big shots from the word go.

During his early days in the limited overs game, he became a hero during the Carlton and Unites series in year 1999-2000. One of his most memorable matches was against the arch-rivals India at Hobart  where he scored an unbeaten 70 and took five wickets for 48 runs.

In another match in the same series he hit five consecutive boundaries off Aussie fast bowler Glenn McGrath. He was declared Man of the Series. 

Razzaq is one of those cricketers who learn from every match they play in and continue developing, adding new tricks to their repertoire.

First Published: Jan 31, 2003 17:47 IST

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