was definitely the 'Ato Boldon heat' of Outside the Line's search for the ultimate cricket shot. Remember how Ato Boldon was near the top of the sprinting world for more than a
decade, always competing against the best, always making it to the podium, and yet
he never actually won anything?
(From my entire childhood, all I remember vividly about athletics was Bob Beamon's long jump record, Michael Johnson's 19.32 in Atlanta, and Ato Boldon getting either a silver or a bronze. First to Frankie Federicks and Linford Christie, then to Donovan Bailey, then to Maurice Green, then to Tim Montgomery... Ato was always second prettiest at someone else's ball. He's a strange kind of legend -- good enough to remember, but never good enough to be best.)
It seems VVS Laxman will be playing the Ato Boldon role in this competition.
Laxman cruises easily into the final with his gentle clip off the pads, but there's no doubt who was No. 1 here. With half the vote, Sachin Tendulkar's straight drive commandeers ahead decisively, and looks as strong as anyone in the finals (Last week, we had Rahul Dravid's block and Mark Waugh's cover drive moving forward.)
Not much else to cheer beyond the two Indians.
Jesus McChesty Matthew Hayden couldn't even a muster a single mercy vote, and goes back to Queensland empty-handed. (I'm sure he could catch a live shark with those bare hands anyway, so he won't remain that way for long.).
Jacques Kallis, however, definitely will not like the disappointing single-figure total for his masterly on-a-length leave. He came into this competition looking to keep his weekly poll average above 15%, yet he's failed to reach it by more than half. A rare lapse in concentration from old Zhaahck.
Last heat this week, and this one should be the tightest one. We need two more finalists. Options, as always, are on the right. Gotta rock the vote, yo.