By Amrut Thobbi
“Statistics are like miniskirts; what they reveal is interesting, but what they hide is vital” – Unknowns
Australian captain Michael Clarke’s has been a run-machine throughout this season. His hundred in the second final of the Commonwealth Bank (CB) series on Tuesday did not come as a surprise. Despite missing out matches because of an injury, Clarke has scored 331 runs at 55-plus.
But what superficial stats don’t reveal is the avalanche of runs Clarke has scored with his dominating leg-side play. In the second of the best-of-three CB Series finals, Clarke murdered the Sri Lankan bowlers by scoring 93 out of 117 runs on the leg side. Even more staggering is the fact that 244 runs of Clarke’s 331 runs have been plundered on the on-side. That’s almost 74 % of the total runs he has scored.
Clarke’s 117 runs in the first final was a masterpiece. He began slowly after Australia lost two early wickets by initially working the ball around the field and garnering runs only in ones and twos. He stepped on the accelerator once he got in the groove and didn’t look back after reaching his fifty. His strength of on-side play was aided by Adelaide’s peculiar dimensions. The boundary ropes on leg-side are just 126 m wide, compared to the 190 m straight boundary. An elevated stroke on either side of the pitch made lot of sense. Clarke was smart to exploit the prevailing conditions.
Barring the first final at Brisbane, where he scored only 40 % of total runs (15 out of 37) on leg-side, Clarke has been scoring authoritatively on the on-side.
Rahul Dravid once complimented Sourav Ganguly’s stroke-making authority on the off-side of the wicket by saying that, first there is God and then there is Sourav Ganguly. After watching Australian captain’s leg-side play, it would be fair enough to say that Clarke’s authority on the leg-side is equally divine.
(Amrut Thobbi, an engineering graduate now pursuing Masters in journalism, is an ardent cricket fan. His passion for writing inspired him to give up a sales and marketing job, which he does not regret. Bywriting on cricket, he wants to relive his dream of becoming a cricketer. He has also worked as a freelance writer in education and technology sectors)