Monday, January 02, 2006

Styris has a point

When I read in the papers (actually, it was Cricinfo, I think) what Scott Styris had to say about batting technique, my first and overwhelming reaction was that of relief. Finally, someone had the courage to go ahead and say what a lot of us may have thought in private. No doubt some of the experts would have too, but they were always a little cagey about it, not wanting to be seen as cricketing-ly incorrect. Is footwork, or the importance of getting it absolutely right (per the traditional schools of thought) overrated? Styris thinks so, and I couldn't agree with him more. Even as we see the Sehwags, and the Jayasuriyas shred bowling attacks to smithereens, in a fashion not very unlike that of the village bully, we are told by the pundits of the game time and again about the still head, high elbow and so on and so forth. It is clear to anyone who has watched the game keenly enough that for many of the modern players, getting footwork right in the conservative manner isn't all that important. Now, there still are players who keep their head still, get their foot to the pitch of the ball and have a high-elbow follow through (yawn, yawn), and mostly they are successful (though not all), but the unorthodox batsmen seem to have had an equal share of success of late. So much so that the notion of what constitutes orthodox or otherwise is a bit confusing. It is also a noticeable trend that when batsmen do get away with it, and score an attractive looking boundary, no one seems to notice deficiencies in footwork. When Ganguly gets out playing away from the body, which is how he also gets most of his boundaries on the off-side, his technique is scrutinised to the core. When he pulls it off, of course, he's the offside God. Some of the greatest cricketers have actually been quite unorthodox. For all Viv Richards' greatness, no one can say with any conviction that he followed any coaching manual. Lala Amarnath's example is another that comes to mind, bowled as he did off the wrong foot. It worked for him, and that's what it's all about, everyone has his own little things which do the trick for him. But pundits will be pundits, so we shall just sit back and watch Sehwag throw his wicket away to wide deliveries outside the off-stump. - NK


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are right!
Even today there is overwhelming number of “purists” who view the game from the 19th century perspective.
Even sir Donald Bradman had a lot critiques questioning his technique .
I think we need to redefine the word “technique” in 21st century context.
The likes of sehwag,jayasuriya,gilchrist,gibbs,gayle,Even Brian lara donot have the kind of footwork that “purists” still harp on.
I think in Modern day with almost all the teams having at least one bowler bowling in the excess of 140 kmph,you need batters who have geater hand aye co-ordiantion to hit the ball .Even the technically correct (so-called) need to have greater hand –eye co-ordination to hit the ball.
So I am pretty sure that in years to come you will have players who have greater Hand-eye co-ordination along with great bat speed through the hitting area who will succeed in both forms of the game,the likes of Kevin pietersen.

Nasimul Haq

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Nagraj said...

Yery much morden day cricket the term perfect technique does not exists.Many top players in the history of world cricket didnot or doesnot have so called perfect technique which are mentioned in coaching manual.As long you get ur timing right and read the ball well its enough.alos agree with Nasimul Haq hand eye coordination is very important when you facing shoiab or Lee kind of bowlers.

10:38 AM  

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