Do you remember the Goa Cannon? He's been silent, like an antique one on the rampart of an old fort, a while now. Back in the first season of the Indian Premier League, when it was the Garden of Eden before the scandals and the declining TV ratings, that was the sobriquet Shane Warne gave Swapnil Asnodkar. A franchise expected to bring up the rear stormed to the top of the table and stayed there, and Asnodkar played a huge part with his exuberant and chancy strokeplay.
He finished with 311 runs from nine games and his partnership with Graeme Smith at the top of the order was as pivotal to the Rajasthan Royals' success as Warne's captaincy and skill, Shane Watson's all-round prowess, and Sohail Tanvir's accuracy. Asnodkar was no Twenty20 specialist either. He made 640 runs with a highest of 254 in the domestic season preceding the inaugural IPL.
His ability to excel across formats convinced selectors to take a chance on him. When A teams from Australia and New Zealand came over later that year for a 50-over tri-series, he was part of a strong Indian squad that included the likes of Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, both Pathan brothers and Subramaniam Badrinath. While Yusuf Pathan, his Royals team-mate, capitalised to the tune of 270 runs in five matches, Asnodkar managed 23 in his three outings.