Two out of form batsmen, two pull shots, one caught, one dropped, one gone for seven, one 137 not out... Well you know - is there a god or isn't there? Depends on which player you ask.
Last night I sat up to see the start of Australia-Pakistan. Katich lumbered in front of one early and got video-replayed out. Ponting came in and hoiked his first short ball to Mohammad Aamer. Didn't have to move. Spilled it like the U17 player he is... Ponting, remarkably, carried on pulling. It took him about two hours to hit one even half-decently.
This morning, Pietersen got in early against South Africa, drilled one down the ground like a man who'd remembered where his stumps were, then hoiked a short ball straight to midwicket. Wayne Parnell caught it like the U19 player so recently was.
Both shots seemed nervously offered, both though came from the machismo of the big player. Ponting played it because he'd told the press he was going to. He was raging against the dying of the light. Pietersen played it because in his head he's the kind of player who plays the pull shot. No surrender.
A coach will tell you to put the cross-bat shots away until your timing comes back and you can read the speed of the pitch. Yet Pietersen and Ponting and the like stand above conventional wisdom. They'll tell you that the pull shot is the symbol of their dominance. They just have to accept the capricious nature of fate from time to time.
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