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With her 20-run cameo against Bangladesh, Veda Krishnamurthy underlined her importance

Krishnamuthy’s second go-to shot complements her first one perfectly. If Plan A is problematic, because that gap has been sealed, Krishnamurthy sets about manipulating the field, moving across her stumps to play the sweep. She can roll the wrists to keep the ball down or go flat and hard when the field is up.

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Last Updated: Feb 25, 2020, 11.27 PM IST
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Veda Krishnamurthy
Veda Krishnamurthy, more than anyone else, knows that the scores under her belt have simply not justified either the talent and skill she has, or the experience she has acquired over 121 international matches spanning nearly a decade.
By Anand Vasu

When you walk through the treelined paths of the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, popularly known as the Mysore Zoo, you will come to a stop at one point, just after you cross the hyenas, but before you get to the lions, at a large enclosure housing leopards.

While most big cats in zoos wear a look of utter boredom, fed beyond requirement, under-exercised and generally lethargic, the leopard is rarely still. Either pacing on the sandy floor, occasionally letting out a bestial grunt, or climbing to the impossibly high perches and logs set out for them, there is a menace about the leopard, even caged, even with only cackling schoolchildren and selfie-hungry tourist for company.

Look closer at the plaques near the cages and you will find that one of these leopards has been adopted by Veda Krishnamurthy, the Indian cricketer. Or perhaps it was the other way around, with the cat having wooed the well-wisher to become its patron.

When she is prowling at the crease, bat in hand, you can see why Krishnamurthy may have chosen the leopard. Standing perfectly still in her stance, eyes bearing down at the bowler, there is a distinct sense of a tightly wound spring, of energy being held back in check so that it can be released in one explosive action when the time comes. While the leopard may be preparing to pounce, prey having been sized up, Krishnamurthy is usually eyeing her two favourite options.

When there is width on offer, and the delivery is full, Krishnamurthy fancies the inside out option, and is so good at targetting this region that the more experienced teams, such as Australia and New Zealand, often have a fielder out on the ropes in that position from the moment she comes to the crease.

Krishnamuthy’s second go-to shot complements her first one perfectly. If Plan A is problematic, because that gap has been sealed, Krishnamurthy sets about manipulating the field, moving across her stumps to play the sweep. She can roll the wrists to keep the ball down or go flat and hard when the field is up.

Bangladesh felt the full fury of both these shots in India’s last match, and although Krishnamurthy made only 20, the fact that she was unbeaten and used up only 11 balls ensured that her contribution was a critical one, even if not as sizeable as she would have liked.

Krishnamurthy, more than anyone else, knows that the scores under her belt have simply not justified either the talent and skill she has, or the experience she has acquired over 121 international matches spanning nearly a decade. When she burst onto the scene, Krishnamurthy was the exception in women’s cricket, the young bat who had the swagger and the confidence, the risk-taking ability and the range of shots. If to- day’s young women crick- erers, such as Sha- fali Verma and Richa Ghosh are carting the ball around merrily even as they ease into the world game in only their teens, it was not always so.

But, after promising to set the world on fire, Krishnamurthy’s flame ebbed, so much so that she was far from a fixture in the Indian team. Even recently, a string of single digit scores ensured that her place in the mix was constantly under the scanner. You might think she has already achieved much, given her beginnings in Chikmagalur, the town nestled in Karnataka’s coffee plantations.

The youngest of four siblings of a cable operator, Krishnamurthy was enrolled in karate as a young child, with a view to building strength and despite taking a strong disliking to the martial art, she persisted long enough to earn a black belt at the age of 12. When her father made the move to Bangalore to allow his daughter to pursue cricket seriously, under the tutelage of Irfan Sait at the Karnataka Institute of Cricket, things began to fall into place in a hurry.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)
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