From hero to bum, how form changes the fortunes of the best

For all the incessant talk about form, there is very little actionable understanding of how one can lose it overnight or what happens to an elite athlete when form deserts him.

It was a regulation stroke—the Indian batsman’s bread and butter.

Ball on length, middle to leg line, the one you instinctively close the bat face on and work on the leg side for runs. At the crease was a modern master—and yet the shot, played tentatively, popped the ball up in the air to fall just short of the square-leg fielder.

The sigh of relief around the DY Patil Stadium cut through the clamour of the commentary; it escalated into an explosion of cheers when the batsman, to the very next ball, tried the stroke again and, this time, got …


Prem Panicker

Prem Panicker has been a journalist for over 30 years. From daily newspapers to weekly magazines and digital news portals—he was one of the seven journalists who were part of the start-up team—he has written and edited features extensively across mediums and publications. Since quitting his job at Yahoo in 2014, he has been working as a freelance writer and editor, as well as teaching narrative journalism.