Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Favorite Players - Michael Slater

Michael Slater - Australia

Michael Slater is often remembered for his heated confrontation that he had with Rahul Dravid and Srinivas Venkatraghavan, after a catch he claimed was disallowed. Finger wagging, angry gesticulations and foul language followed and cricket fans all around the world watched in awe at the raging bull that was Michael Slater. The venue was Mumbai, the year 2001. The incident, sadly, marked the start of the fall of one of the most exciting opening batsman world cricket had seen and who is one of my All Time Favorite Players.

Michael Slater in a heated argument with Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid
Michael Slater in a heated argument with Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid
image courtesy espncricinfo

For me though, Slater meant pure fun and watching him bat was extremely exciting but highly nerve wrecking at the same time. I remember those Ashes series in Australia when I would wake up at 4.30 am and watch him pummel the hapless Pommies. Flashy cover drives, crisp front foot pull shots and crackling square cuts defined him. He would just go after the bowling from ball one without any fear whatsoever. He would take the shine off the new ball not by leaving balls outside the off stump safely to the keeper but by bashing it as hard as he could!!

Michael Slater started his test career in 1993 and played until 2001 wherein he represented Australia in 74 test matches and made over 5000 runs at an average of shade under 43. Everyone who saw him play test match cricket would often comment 'Slater is born to play ODI cricket', but for some strange reason he never excelled in the shorter format of the game. He only played 42 ODI's in which he could not even notch up a 1000 runs. His average was a lowly 24 while he could not chalk up a single ton in limited overs cricket. Speaking of tons, Slater was a bundle of nervous energy in the nervous 90's. He would became fidgety and was out 9 times in the 90's in his short career. He made 14 tons in test cricket.

Today Michael is a successful commentator at Channel Nine.

Michael Slater re-defined the way that openers were supposed to play Test Match Cricket. His swashbuckling style made him vulnerable to failures but he would, more often then not, set Australia racing off to a big score and immediately put the opposition on the back foot.

I loved him for his fearless shot making, for his never-say-die attitude and for the swagger with which he would walk out to open the innings.

PS - To Read Other Posts From The Segment My Favorite Players, Click On The Following Link - My Favorite Players

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