Hitting the Big Time

On Tuesday night I had the pleasure of watching (on TV) the most incredible display of hitting I've ever seen at any level of the game, and, unlike a few purists who are knocking around, I don't think it's rendered any less remarkable by the fact that it took place in a twenty over match.

Sure, Chelmsford isn't a huge ground anyway, and the boundaries were apparently even shorter than normal, but what distinguished Graham Napier's unbeaten 152 from so many other big T20 innings was the cleanness, the orthodoxy and the power of the hitting. Few of his sixteen sixes came from slogs, and the vast majority sailed way beyond the confines of the playing arena, and, in many cases, the ground itself. They would have been sixes on virtually any ground you care to name.

As Patrick mentions, Graham Napier's been around a while, and, after playing for England at various junior levels his only representative impression was made as a member of an England A team which had a hard time in India in early 2004. As Patrick also says, perhaps this innings will give him the momentum to become a top one-day player. On balance I think that's unlikely, but, in this changing age, maybe it begs the question of what is a top one-day player?

Napier may once have dreamt of making it into the England one-day squad (and I'm sure he'd still take it), but, these days, would a phone call from an IPL owner perhaps be just as welcome?

Not everyone, after all, is going to get the chance to dip their bread in Sir Allen Stanford's gravy.

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