HomeCricket South AfricaKeshav: the Maharaj of Protea spin bowling

Keshav: the Maharaj of Protea spin bowling

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For a bowler who plays Test cricket more regularly to this day than world cricket’s dominant format of the 2023, Keshav Maharaj hasn’t exactly fared any bad in one day international cricket- has he?

In a format of the game where new landmarks are being create every single game and perhaps after every power play, Keshav Maharaj awaits his most significant one in one day international cricket. 

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For someone who has already featured in 49 Tests but just 39 one dayers, as on date, the left arm orthodox spinner is just a wicket away from his fiftieth. 

The journey to reaching this special feat was one that saw an inspired bowling performance. One could argue, it was a spell that cast a magic spell for the Protea fan glued to the TV set back home. But just how was that?

Keshav Maharaj took the big wicket of Shubman Gill in what was a full quota of 10 overs. 

But what’s exemplary, staying true to the spirit of the adjective, is that the number of runs that were scored off him were barely visible in the overall Indian run tally. Just 30 of India’s 326 runs came off Keshav Maharaj. 

Practically speaking, half of his spell featured dot balls, doing basic school boy math. 

Having said that, as is the case in every single effort he produces for the Proteas in Tests, Keshav Maharaj’s ODI spell against India featured similar commitment and unrelenting focus. 

Some would say, he gripped the ball quite well especially on a slow surface. While others may contend with the fact that the nature of the pitch that made run scoring sluggish and not too much fun early on aided Maharaj. 

However, truth be told, Keshav Maharaj bowled sans any laziness whatsoever, sticking to that line around the off and middle stump. He got the ball to have a say when pitched a notch before the arc of the batsman and got some really nice spin going there. 

Rather disappointingly, just when you wondered whether Shamsi could’ve been a touch more attacking to play a perfect foil for Maharaj, it didn’t quite work out as how Bavuma would’ve wanted. 

But despite the unneeded sight of one dot ball too many helping India’s scorecard move along, one man was geared up to make India fight hard for every run. 

It wasn’t Marco Jansen. It wasn’t Lungi Ngidi. It was Keshav Maharaj, a man of focus and restraint. 

The very fact that his own team members persisted with wayward lines, Maharaj appeared true to his name: bowling like a King of line and length. 

His studious approach that had no space for intimidation of who he was bowling to- and it was Kohli of all batters- but all the passion to bowl wisely for South African cause was perhaps the biggest high for a team that eventually receded to strange lows. 

Just who saw the Proteas getting bowled out for 83 all out? 

Probably Maharaj himself would’ve wanted the game to transpire differently, not that it did. 

But on his own, there was no batsman in particular who could dominate a bowler who is as talented as he is nice. In some ways, Keshav Maharaj is the Hashim Amla of spin bowling, has the tenacity of an Andrew Strauss and the focus of Anil Kumble. 

South Africa would now hope that after this fresh shocker, the team rebounds big and comes back to fight well in the next contests ahead. There’s a group game left and post it, the mega semi final. 

For a team that’s so often been lamented as a choker, perhaps it would be good riddance to see Maharaj get rid of some big early wickets in what lies ahead. What do you reckon? 

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Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

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