In the Nidahas Trophy Tri-series final against Bangladesh in Colombo, Dinesh Karthik experienced a moment that even Sachin Tendulkar, Viv Richards, and Virender Sehwag haven’t. To hit a six to finish a match is one thing but to pull it off when it needed a six off the final ball to win is something special. Adam Gilchrist once spoke about the thrill of hitting a six — the greatest thing about it, he said, was that there comes a moment when he, as the batsman, is the first to know that it’s going to be a six. Others on the ground aren’t really sure how well the batsman has connected — he knows a fraction of a second before anyone. But even Karthik had doubts about whether his flat hit would carry beyond the ropes and that makes his six all the more dramatic.
Among all the visceral thrills that this game provides — the hat trick, the first-ball six, a jaw-dropping catch, a great delivery — the last-ball six stands out. No wonder, a generation of Indians, fans and cricketers themselves, were psychologically scarred after the famous Javed Miandad six. So much so, that even in 1996, a decade after his legendary feat, when he had grown old and could barely connect with the ball, Indian fans still dreaded whether Miandad could pull off something similar in that quarter-final World Cup game against India.
It’s a moment when everything stops as the bowler starts to run in. The batsman takes guard. His stomach churns, heartbeats pound like a frenzied ritual drum. The bowler somehow tries to put a lid on his tingling nerves. The noise in the stadium rises: Feverish anticipation, parochial fears, an indescribable knot-in-the-stomach thrill, and the roar is a nervous clearing of the lungs. The batsman looks up, the ball whooshes across, the bat whirs up and down. And then.