Skip to main content

Technique vs Effectiveness!


“Skillfulness’ in the command of fundamentals deriving from practice and familiarity” is a dictionary meaning of the word technique. In cricket you often hear this word, with respect to certain players having that in abundance and others not necessarily accomplished with that attribute. So what are the fundamentals of batting? Can they be listed into bulleted points? Or is cricket or any sport for that matter an exhibition of diversity of skills, ability and methods to exploit talent? A boundary is a boundary, yet it appears vastly different from a Gayle’s bat than when it comes from say Trott. Sehwag and Gambhir open the batting for India, yet the former has a boundary (combined 4s & 6s) hitting frequency of 8.5 balls, while the latter clears the fence every 15 balls. So what brings about this difference? Is it mere batting ‘technique’ or does it have to do with approach?

Just like a bowler has to adjust his radar to left & right handers, he has to do that with respect to the type of batsman he is bowling. He would try and dismiss say a Dravid by bowling relentlessly to a worked out line but his plans go out of the window when somebody like a Gayle is batting; for not only does the latter have the ability to hit good length deliveries but also due to his intent of searching for runs off every opportunity. Somebody like Strauss could wear down bowlers but somebody like a Sehwag can dent the confidence of bowlers. Those who have played the game at the highest level say that cricket is a more of a mind game, even though you have to be physically involved in it! You could infer, thus, that mentally stronger players could be more successful in cricket than their physically stronger compatriots.

Dravid wasn’t the greatest off-side player when he started off, but when he ended you could doubt his off-side play. Did this big change happen only because he had the technique to adjust? If he was a Sehwag would that have been difficult? Dravid, Trott, Kallis, Ponting, Amla, Tendulkar (and you could add names!) belong to the school of textbook batting; whereas likes of Sehwag, Gayle, Pietersen are more of powerhouses with mighty impact on the game. You would associate words like class, consistency with the first set of names and adjectives like powerful, aggressive, and impactful. The game is lucky to have both these genres on display simultaneously, which provides opportunities to study the art of batting in most of its possible forms.

Like everything, cricket has evolved (for good or bad is a different subject of discussion!) and so have the skills involved in it. Limited over’s cricket has brought over-the-field hitting, innovation, cheeky shots but players like Cook, Gambhir, Shaun Marsh et al. provide the sober side of batting in colored clothes. Virat Kohli led India in a chase of 320 in less than 40 over’s earlier this year; the knock was more of sublime rather than hard-hitting, yet it satiated what the situation demanded. Likes of Gayle, Pollard, Yuvraj, Warner have an impeccable ability of turning the tide in no time and with minimum fuss. Dhoni, Misbah, Clarke form a set of players who are physically strong but mentally much tougher. They can clear the ropes with ease yet keep those gallery shots only when they are needed.

If you were to chose role models for young cricketers to emulate you would probably list Cook, Gambhir & Marsh from the above list, for they are the most easy to replicate! Yet you would want to have somebody like a Gayle and Dhoni in your line-up, for you wouldn’t want to care about ‘correct’ batting but ‘effective’ batting. A Pollard practices his skills as much as a Kohli, and thus in a way both the players attempt to command their respective attributes; isn’t the word ‘technique’ then over-hyped, more than it should be?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Captaincy Conundrum!

8 teams, 60 matches and 7 ‘Indian’ skippers (discounting Duminy and Miller) constituted the recently concluded 9th edition of the Indian Premier League. This featured 2 new teams, unfamiliar captains (Raina, Vijay), seasoned IPL leaders (Gambhir, Rohit, Dhoni), a motivational veteran (Zaheer Khan) and Indian cricket’s man of the moment - Virat Kohli captaining a powerful side. Right through pre-tournament previews till the beginning of the finals, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) wasn’t the most fancied team in the competition. The team was led by the only non-Indian skipper - David Warner, who didn’t have any prior experience of leading Australia. The middle order appeared fragile and injuries to experienced Indian international players (Nehra and Yuvraj) added to the perceptual woes.
Quietly and probably facilitated by the lack of attention, SRH managed to string in consistent wins and stay in the hunt for the title. The template of SRH was designed to ensure penetration with the new ball …

Dhoni's Time Is Up, But Whose Time Has Arrived?

Human tendency preserves memories by associating them with easily recognizable signals. Cricket by virtue of its inherent nature furnishes numerical statistics for this function. The two-test series in New Zealand may not be introspected with fond moments, but the bottom-line generated in the process has imparted a deep imprint on the timeline of Indian cricket. The Indian team and MS Dhoni in particular, now formally possess a dubious statistical feat - 4 consecutive away tours losses and the worst record for an Indian skipper in this context. Apart from getting into a sluggish pit of defeats away from home, the longevity and its consistency is now inducing emotions and retrospection from a critical aperture of the microscope. Naturally such a phase is succeeded by the exercise of identifying a scapegoat, and in the current case Dhoni is the face of all ills.
The primary objection to Dhoni's leadership is his perceivable inactive demeanor on the field. Real-time illustrations endo…

Tracking The Virat Progress!

It has been 5 years, 7 months and 182 matches since a certain Virat Kohli made his international debut. 8089 runs have come off his bat since then which accounts for 17.86% of runs scored by all Indian batsmen (in the matches involving Kohli); and improves to 19.77% in winning causes. 19 of his 25 tons have been hit when India has won, he has been the second highest run-getter in international cricket over the last 3 years and has a 3-figure knock against & in every test playing nation. These are featured highlights which you probably read every day and sometimes a large database smudges the nuances of each achievement.
After India’s win over Bangladesh in the World T20 2014 league game (including a clinical knock of 57*), in a brief chat Virat spoke something which was delightfully pleasing for all those who have tracked his assured graduation. From being accompanied with adjectives like brash and impulsive, he can now boast of words like mature, thinker and responsible about his …