A Special Kind Of Man-Beast

At an IPL-and-beer party a few weeks ago at my friend Prem Panicker‘s house, the wise Anand Ramachandran described Yusuf Pathan as “a man-beast”. The reference, obviously, was to his batting—for Anand is not intimately acquainted with Pathan’s personal life—and it fit like a glove. We then got to talking about other man-beasts in the game, and came up with the usual suspects like Matthew Hayden, Chris Gayle, Herschelle Gibbs and Shahid Afridi. Oh, and one Adam Gilchrist.

But Gilchrist is subtly different from the others in one way—he is not just brutal, but also beautiful. I like watching Pathan and Hayden and Gayle smash the ball around for visceral reasons—but with Gilchrist, it’s also a matter of aesthetics. He can do hammer and scalpel at the same time, and I can’t think of too many other players in world cricket who can combine the two so perfectly. Oh, and did you watch his innings yesterday?

That said, immense nostalgia is already coming that his next innings might be his last on this stage. (He is 37; who knows if he will return next year?) I hope it doesn’t end in an anti-climax.