A few days ago, the cricketing world was treated to one of the most mind-blowingly astonishing innings in the history of T20 cricket produced by the most unlikeliest of protagonists in the practically unknown Rahul Tewatia…
From an utterly abysmal 8 of 19 balls in the 15th over to ruthlessly demolishing 5 sixes in a mere 1 over to bring his side over the line, Rahul Tewatia’s unremarkable score of 53 of 32 was the most ridiculous comeback that absolutely no one saw coming.
However, in cricket, whenever a player is experiencing pure ecstacy, there is always another one in agony and that ever so unfortunate player was Sheldon Cottrell.
Cottrell, for those of you who may not know, is a bowler who’s distinctively whippy action allows him to extract swing and movement out of the usually uncooperative white ball on every pitch and this made him a formidable prospect to face in the powerplay.
The numbers back up my claim as out of the bowlers who have taken at least 30 wickets in the powerplay since 2017, he has the 2nd best average (21.77) and also has a brilliant economy rate of 6.86 in that period.
However death bowling is a completely different ball game as Tewatia exposed his blatant weakness for bowling in the slog overs by plundering 5 sixes in one over.
Being smacked for plenty is extremely tough for any bowler at any standard but imagine being tonked for 5 sixes in 1 over in what is the most watched cricket league in the world by a country mile with plenty of passionate fans dismissing you as a terrible bowler.
That night in Sharjah would have injected a small but deadly dose of unwelcome self doubt in Sheldon Cottrell and wrestling with that is not something that you do not want be doing in the middle of the biggest cricket league in the world.
However, what separates the elite from the very good is the essential art of being able to bounce back from failure stronger than ever before. We saw it earlier with Pat Cummins as he, entrusted with a humongous price tag of 15.5 crores, was dispatched by Rohit Sharma for 0 for 49 of just 3 overs in his debut game.
People questioned his ability in the T20 game and began to rue whether KKR should have placed their money elsewhere. However, Cummins ignored all outside comments and in his 2nd game, he proved why classical test match style bowling still has a place in the shortest format of the game with immaculate figures of 1 for 19.
Sheldon Cottrell needed to do the same and he certainly did!
Cottrell, in his 1st over back, produced 6 balls that encapsulated Cottrell at the peak of his powers: every ball swung in the air dramatically and threatened to bamboozle the hapless Mumbai Indian openers. To cap it all off, Sheldon Cottrell flawlessly delivered an unplayable ball that spat with venomous bite and snared the top of off stump of poor old Quinton De Kock with inevitable ease. He then blasted into his universally known “salute” with even more gusto than usual which says something!
In his first over back from humiliation, Cottrell bowled a wicket maiden and silenced those with doubts about his obvious white ball class.
He then proceeded to deliver 3 more overs of prolonged pressure and ended on 1 for 20.
These figures may sound to underwhelming to write an entire article about but just like Tewatia’s seemingly innocuous score of 53 of 31, Sheldon Cottrell’s tidy but unspectacular figures of 1 to 20 has more substance than what just meets the eye.