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Express View: Ruturaj Gaikwad’s record seven sixes raises the bar. But six-hitting in the T20 age has become a non-event

For many T20 stars, it's a bread and butter stroke — as routine as a cover drive for a Test opener.

There is a ridiculous nonchalance in the new-age six strikers.

Maharashtra’s supremely talented batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad’s seven sixes in a domestic 50-overs game received muted reactions. The historic feat trended briefly on social media, making the meme-lovers chuckle at the numerical oddity of the seventh six. The young Chennai Super Kings star did make it to the headlines but he didn’t quite set the cricketing world on fire. How did cricket reach this space of no-surprise? When cricket stopped gasping at such feats, it wasn’t the proverbial loss of innocence, but a landmark in its continuous evolution. A six lost its visceral thrill a long time back. Ravi Shastri and Gary Sobers didn’t do it in international matches either, but a generation would talk about it. They are still finding the ball that rolled out onto the road from the Sobers hit; fake ones wink in auction. So was a single six by Javed Miandad in Sharjah. Now, the cricketing world is over all that mush.

For Indians, from the last decade, was M S Dhoni’s twirl at Wankhede stadium in 2011 the last six that has stayed in the mind? Now, it has to be something sensational for it to stick: Like Virat Kohli’s twin sixes against Haris Rauf in the World T20 game against Pakistan at MCG. Suryakumar Yadav repeatedly contorts his body into scarcely believable positions to unfurl sixes that has earned the respect of the cricketers around the world. Otherwise, not much stays for long.

Over the years, even the batsmen have started to treat sixes as non-events. There is a ridiculous nonchalance in the new-age six strikers. So used to hitting the ball outside the park, there seems to be an obvious absence of the adrenalin rush. For many T20 stars, it’s a bread and butter stroke — as routine a cover drive for a Test opener. The modern-day batsmen have honed and practised big hitting so thoroughly that they retain their “shape”. There is nothing visceral about the hitting to gasp. Even if there are seven sixes.

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First published on: 29-11-2022 at 16:38 IST
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