When batting captains decided to thake their bowling ‘seriously’

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Batting captains donning the role of bowlers is rare in international cricket but there have been occasions when they have taken the matters into their hands and made an impact.

West Indies skipper Nicholas Pooran got added to the list recently when he returned amazing figures of 4/48 in 10 overs to emerge the most successful bowler for his side in the third and final One-day International against Pakistan at Multan.

Though Pakistan won the game by 53 runs (D/L), and also made a clean sweep of the three-match series, West Indies seem to have unearthed the bowling talent of Pooran who looked unplayable in the match.

Till that game on June 12, he had bowled just three deliveries in ODIs.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday highlighted five instances when batting captains took bowling matters into their hands.1. Sourav Ganguly: 5/34 (10) v Zimbabwe, Kanpur, 2000

While the former Indian skipper may have taken 100 ODI wickets, Ganguly only bowled 760 overs across 311 ODI with his more than useful medium pace. At 91/2, Zimbabwe had set themselves a decent platform in Kanpur, with Andy Flower and Stuart Carlisle setting a platform for the tourists.

Bowling his full allotment for first time in 25 ODIs, and the only Indian bowler to do so on this particular day, Ganguly put the side on his back, dismissing the set pair either side of Grant Flower on a slow and low track. From their strong start, Zimbabwe crumbled to 141/6 after Ganguly claimed his fourth scalp, opposite number Heath Streak for just three.

The tourists’ death-over plans were curtailed, and Ganguly picked up his fifth when Travis Friend was adjudged lbw for six. India went on to win by nine wickets, with Ganguly’s unbeaten 71 (68) confirming Player of the Match honours.2. Graham Gooch: 3/19 (10) v Pakistan, Cuttack, 1989

It wasn’t often England’s Gooch bowled his full quota, though a 10-over stint in the 1989 MRF World Series earned him Player of the Match honours in a win over Pakistan in Cuttack. The victims were no tail-enders either, with his seamers too good for Javed Miandad (14), Saleem Yousuf (6) and Wasim Akram first ball, trapped lbw. Gooch finished with 3/19 with four maidens, restricting Pakistan to 148, which was then chased down inside 44 overs.

Despite the defeat, Pakistan exacted revenge in the latter stages of the tournament, beating the English in Nagpur before claiming the tournament final over the West Indies in Kolkata.

3. Mike Gatting: 3/59 (9) v Australia, Melbourne, 1987

Gatting took three of his 10 ODI wickets in one outing, finishing with 3/59 (9) in a luckless day for England at the MCG in 1987. As the five previous bowlers toiled to claim just two wickets between them, a fed up Gatting decided to hand his own cap to the umpire, catching Greg Ritchie short of his ground with a Bruce French stumping, and dismissing Dirk Wellham soon after.

Gatting then went on to deny Dean Jones a century, though his efforts proved futile as Australia cantered to an easy victory.

4. Nawroz Mangal: 3/35 (6) v Afghanistan, Amstelveen, 2009

The Afghan’s spell of 3/35 from six overs in the sixth-bowler spot arguably turned the match and the two-match series in Amstelveen, with the Blue Tigers hitting back after the first match defeat.

The Dutch recovered from 31/3, though Mangal’s off-spin broke a 113-run partnership between Eric Szwarczynski and Ryan ten Doeschate, and the wicket of Bas Zuiderent two balls later swung momentum in his team’s direction.

The two wickets forced ten Doeschate to hold back in the final overs, and Mangal’s third wicket, this time of Daan van Bunge, stifled a late charge.

Afghanistan went on to win the match by six wickets, chasing down 232. Mangal would chime in with 20 with the bat, with teammate Mohammad Shahzad making a century.

5. Nicholas Pooran: 4/48 (10) v Pakistan, Multan, 2022

Pooran lived up to his instinctive style of captaincy in the third Super League ODI against Pakistan.

With both Hosein and Walsh Jr turning the ball into the left-handed opening pair, Pooran brought himself on for the 13th over, replacing Romario Shepherd. Pooran struggled to find his length early, dragging down his first two deliveries, though posed enough questions to stifle the threat of the set batters.

In his third over, Pooran struck. Sneaking under Fakhar’s bat on the sweep, the skipper’s delivery dipped and crashed into the off-stump, forcing the hosts to rethink their approach.

As Walsh Jr brought Babar Azam undone at the other end, Pooran doubled his tally with the wicket of Imam, drawing the opener into a reckless top edge to Shai Hope. Pooran completed his four-wicket set in his seventh over firing a quicker one from around the wicket to Mohammad Rizwan (11), whose bottom edge was caught by Shai Hope.

In spite of the captain’s work, Pakistan went on to post 269, a bridge too far for the chasing tourists who fell 53 runs short via the DLS method.

Prior to his four-wicket performance in Super League action, Pooran had bowled just nine deliveries across List A and First-class cricket, taking just one wicket.

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