Bist better than the rest
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It's a seemingly absurd debate but nevertheless it crops up, every time a batsman and a bowler are in contention for the 'Man of the match' award. There was no such award to be given on the first day of the Irani Cup between Rajasthan and Rest of India on Friday. But with the prolific Robin Bist scoring an unbeaten 117 and Umesh Yadav taking 5 wickets in a dream spell, the question asked was: Is a five-wicket haul a better performance than reaching three figures? Or for statistics buffs, how many runs a wicket is worth?
The answer, of course, is that it's subjective. It factors in, to name a few, playing conditions, match situations and against whom it comes.
On these grounds, the 24-year-old Robin Bist's 117-run knock at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium was a superlative effort. The Ranji Champions, sent in by Cheteshwar Pujara, were struggling at 41/2 when Bist walked out to bat. And right from the start, he looked every bit the batsman who has scored 1034 runs last season, and not the sorry figure that he cut on the side lines subsequently, with hardly any game time during the IPL and on the India 'A' tour to the West Indies.
He pulled, cut, drove and flicked with authority, caring little about reputations but never once recklessly, as wickets kept falling all around him. At times, it looked like Bist vs the Rest, with most other Rajasthan batsmen struggling to put bat to ball against Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Stuart Binny.
The fact that Bist is clearly one of the most improved batsmen in domestic cricket was evident from the way he handled the short ball. Last year, he had candidly admitted having a fear of being hit while playing the rising delivery. He had even discussed it with Sachin Tendulkar and sought his advice. On Friday's evidence, the disciple seems to have hung on to every word the sage might have said.
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