(Espn crickinfo) In our series Come to Think of It, we bring new perspectives to bear on received cricket wisdom. In this article, we turn our attention to a great batsman who doesn’t get the recognition he deserves
November 15, 1993 and March 27, 1994; here are two dates that, on common agreement, changed the course of one-day batting. Opening for the first time on the first date, Sanath Jayasuriya. Twenty-three off 27 promised a bit but not for another year would the size of the canvas he would be painting on reveal itself. The latter, meanwhile, began with Navjot Sidhu’s stiff neck in Auckland and a plea from Sachin Tendulkar to be allowed to open. The scope of that was clear immediately.
Not long after came the 1996 World Cup, after which the ODI opener would never be the same. These two had switched on a light, and now the first 15 overs were a frontier that merely awaited conquering. Jayasuriya – because he won the tournament and because his berserker was more berserker than anyone else’s – and Tendulkar had brought about a paradigm shift.
A fortnight before Jayasuriya moved up, another southpaw had just scored his 1000th run as an ODI opener. His strike rate as opener at that point was 85.03. The next best, in the entire history of ODIs to that point, had been Kris Srikkanth’s 71.74. That was a big enough gap for our guy to be considered an outlier; maybe even the paradigm shift before the paradigm shift; the guy who was doing for over three years what Jayasuriya and Tendulkar would be feted for. (Before you say Mark Greatbatch, know that his 1992 World Cup was an aberration: his strike rate before it was 73.59, and after it, 64.65.) cont