Srikkanth was not merely a dashing player of cut and hook. He was also a leading exponent of one of the great Indian gestures. Indians in conversation are frequently seen making it: that movement of the head from side to side, which is half a wobble, half a shake, and conveys a kind of non-committal agreement. Graham Gooch likened it precisely to ‘the dog in the back of the car window’. During this inning, Srikkanth gave a capital exhibition of it whenever he played a particularly extravagant shot (which was often).
For then Sunil Gavaskar would walk down the pitch to speak to him, not criticizing his boldness but simply telling him to keep his concentration going, whereupon Srikkanth would silently wobble and shake his head from side to side. It is a gesture of delightful, or infuriating, ambiguity. It doesn’t mean anything as positive as yes; on the other hand, it doesn’t mean no. In this context, it meant roughly: ‘Yes, captain, what you say is indeed understood, and I appreciate your telling me this. However, although we may agree about the end, we may differ as to the means. For the moment, what more can I say than that I will try to heed your advice?
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Srikkanth was not merely a dashing player of cut and hook. He was also a leading exponent of one of the great Indian gestures.
Srikkanth was not merely a dashing player of cut and hook. He was also a leading exponent of one of the great Indian gestures.