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Forum » OFF Topic » Allgeimein » our franchise player and we need him. W

our franchise player and we need him. W

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# 18.10.2018 - 14:36:55

On Friday evening, Mohammed Shami took his first Test wicket in a year, six months, and 13 days. . If any wicket is worth that long a wait, one necessitated by injury, surgery, and 40 days on crutches, this was probably it.The seam was bolt upright as the ball left Shamis hand, with no hint of wobble, and the impact of seam on turf caused the ball to move away from Rajendra Chandrika. It pitched just short of a good length, not too far from off stump, climbed a few inches more than Chandrika possibly expected, and drew an instinctive jab. Outside edge taken, chance accepted, and West Indies, replying to Indias 566 for 8 declared, were 29 for 1.It was a beautiful delivery, from a bowler fully capable of bowling them, but perhaps few had really expected him to produce that particular kind of delivery.Before this Test, 48.94% of Shamis Test wickets were either bowled or leg before, and only 31.91% caught behind or in the slip cordon. Those numbers reflected the skills he was primarily known for: pace, a fullish, attacking length, and an ability to reverse the ball. He possessed a sharp bouncer too, but did not necessarily generate steep bounce from a good length or just short of it.He often got wickets for the opposite reason, with balls that skidded on, losing very little pace off the pitch, reaching the batsman quicker than expected, perhaps even a shade lower than expected, and punishing them for camping in the crease.Marlon Samuels knew all about this. Shami, on Test debut, had dismissed him twice with deliveries skidding through from that perfect length, the shortest possible length he could land on while still hitting the stumps. Samuels was caught on the crease both times, bowled for 65 in the first innings and lbw for 4 in the second.On Saturday, two-and-a-half years later, Samuels faced Shami again. He seemed to be reminding himself of those dismissals, and seemed to be a man fighting his muscle memory, a man of sluggish footwork telling himself to press forward. The result of that internal struggle was a sort of crouching shuffle across the crease, and Shami wrong-footed him twice with bouncers. Samuels got under both of them, hunching awkwardly low.Shamis 16th ball to Samuels landed on the fullish side of a good length, in the corridor. Samuels shuffled across once more, leaning forward, and aimed for a push into the covers. All he managed was a thin edge. It settled snugly in Wriddhiman Sahas gloves, and Shami had become the joint-quickest Indian fast bowler to 50 Test wickets.Once again there was movement, and once again a bit of extra bounce. The ball had brushed the edge of Samuels bat close to its shoulder. In between the Chandrika and Samuels dismissals, Shami had dismissed Darren Bravo with a not dissimilar delivery, though shorter. Three balls after sending back Samuels, he got Jermaine Blackwood to fend another awkwardly lifting ball to gully.Four wickets, all of them the result of extra bounce. This was new, and unexpected. It caused you to watch every step of his action just that little closer. Once you did that, there was one obvious change from the Shami of old. In his first couple of years of international cricket, Shami had an idiosyncratic run to the crease, a gallop of unusually long strides. A number of experts had suggested this could cause a loss of stability when he reached the crease, and had ascribed this as a reason for his tendency to bowl loose balls. Around the time of the 2015 World Cup, Shami had said he was making an effort to shorten his running strides, and had credited Shoaib Akhtar with giving him the suggestion.Now, making his Test comeback at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Shami was sprinting in with noticeably shorter strides. The question still remained: did this have any connection with the bounce he was generating?Pondering it, Ian Bishop, the former West Indies fast bowler, suggested the bounce might have had less to do with shorter running strides than with a possible knock-on effect: a shorter delivery stride. This, he said, would give the bowler a higher point of release, and, as a consequence, the possibility of extra bounce. He took the example of Shannon Gabriel, who had troubled India with steep lift during their first innings.Before he suffered the ankle injury that cut short his 2015-16 Australia tour, Gabriels delivery stride, Bishop said, had grown progressively longer without him quite realising it, causing him to lose height at the crease.In the months following his recovery, Gabriel had worked hard to correct this. It wasnt easy to tell if Shami had also, by design or as a byproduct of his reduced running stride, shortened his delivery stride, but Bishop felt he was achieving good height at release. What also pleased him was Shamis alignment at the crease, his feet lined up to point him precisely where he wanted to bowl.It told in his line. On a pitch where bounce often seemed to be the fast bowlers only friend, Ishant Sharma may have been expected to provide the main threat, but while he did achieve steep lift, his line wasnt as close to off stump as Shamis. He did not make the batsmen play as often, and did not, as a result, force as many errors.As the rest of West Indies top order crumbled around him, Kraigg Brathwaite waged lonely resistance, his method simple and effective. Blessed with excellent judgment of line, he ignored as many deliveries as he could outside off stump, and waited patiently for straighter balls he could work into the leg side. Forty-eight of his 74 runs came in that direction. The cover drive barely made an appearance. Most of his off-side runs came square or behind square, when the bowlers dropped short.In all, Brathwaite left 53 balls. But he didnt leave with equal ease against all of Indias bowlers. He left 31 of the 67 balls he faced from Ishant, 13 out of 45 from Umesh Yadav, and only 6 out of 31 from Shami. He passed Shamis fourth-stump examination, but four of his team-mates didnt.This, in short, was high-class Test bowling: pace, movement, and that new-found bounce, all allied to an excellent length and a line that forced the batsmen to play, or think about playing. A better batting side may have made fewer mistakes, but Shami was still asking the right questions, over and over. .ca looks back at the stories and moments that made the year memorable. . Andreas Johnson had a goal and two assists while Jacob de la Rose also scored for Sweden (2-0-0). Esa Lindell and Rasmus Ristolainen replied for Finland (1-1-0) Lindell opened the scoring for Finland just 41 seconds into the game, but the hosts quickly regained their composure and tied the score less than four minutes later on Wennbergs first of the game. . Artturi Lehkonen, Joni Nikko and Ville Leskinen had the other goals for Finland (1-0) while Juuse Saros stopped 28 shots. Tim Robin Johnsgard had the lone goal for Norway (0-2). CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls have proved they can beat the NBAs elite. But they havent been nearly as impressive against the leagues also-rans.The Bulls are a week removed from toppling the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers and are coming off handing the San Antonio Spurs their first road loss of the year. But the Bulls, who have already lost to one last-place team, welcome another one, the Miami Heat to the United Center on Saturday night.The question that begs answering is simple: Which Bulls team shows up?We talked about it after the Cleveland game, so thats the scary thing, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after Chicagos 95-91 over the Spurs on Thursday night. If we go out with that type of focus, well win a lot of games. It cant just be against the top teams. Its got to be every night.The Bulls (12-10) will put that focus to the test against the Heat, who lost for the fourth straight time Friday night in a lopsided 114-84 setback at Cleveland. Miami (7-16) shot a season-low 34.8 percent from the field in the loss and was 6 of 27 from 3-point range.The 30-point differential provided the Heats worst loss of the season and the 84 points also was a season low.The Heat, who were led by Derrick Williams 17 points, were short-handed and played with the league minimum of eight players. Miami captain Udonis Haslem was excused from Fridays game for personal reasons.According to the Miami Herald, a team spokesman said Haslem was not with the team and it was uncertain whether Haslem would play in Chicago, according to the Herald.The Heats lack of depth showed against the Cavaliers. But the play of center Hassan Whiteside, who was benched after scoring eight points on 4-of-10 shooting didnt help matters either.Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Miami would wash this one off and get ready for Chicago. But Spoelstra made it clear he expected more from Whitehead.This league is for competitors only, Spoelstra said.Added point guard Goran Dragic, who scored 15 points: Hes our franchise player and we need him. When he plays like that, our chances to win are smaller. Its tough when hes not at the level he can be.But whether the Bulls can capitalize on the Heats struggles will depend on whether they can play to the level they have showcased against premier competition.Against the Spurs, Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and the Bulls snapped a three-game skid despite Jimmy Butler seeing his streak of games in which he scored at least 20 points end at 15.But the return of Doug McDermott, who had been out with concussion symptoms, sparked Chicagos bench as the Bulls knocked off another top team. All five starters reached double figures and the Bulls led by as many as 18 points before holding on down the stretch.The Bulls will attempt to carry the momentum of Thursdays win over to Saturday against the slumping Heat.We know we can play with the best and lose with the worst, Bulls guard Rajon Rondo told reporters Thursday after nearly notching his second triple-double of the season. 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