ON TECHNIQUES

Posted on April 21, 2013. Filed under: CRICKET, IPL, SEHWAG, SPORTS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

 

Oxforddictionaries.com provides the following meanings for the term technique:

1.skill or ability in a particular field

2.a skilful or efficient way of doing or achieving something

Merrian-Webster.com also has a similar offering to make when technique is defined as a method of accomplishing a desired aim.

What is my aim of talking about technique?

It has to do something with athletes and sportspersons in general and Virendra Sehwag in particular.

Sehwag has been one of my most favourite of cricket players and when he fails to perform as is the case now, it is painful to say the least for me and many of his fans.

A student of mine, who is now a colleague, blamed the lack of technique as the reason for the repeated failures of Sehwag that has led to the omission of the batsman from the Indian team. Even in the world of IPL where Sehwag was expected to score heavily, things have been extremely disappointing.

There are instances when commentators use the phrases like ‘straight out of the copybook’ or ‘right out of the coaching manual’ while describing a shot. I wonder which or whose manual or the copybook is to be used as a reference while explaining a particular shot played by a particular player. This is because each player has his or her own technique that is as individual as the player in question. This is very much a dichotomy since every player is urged to play according to his or her natural talents (meaning individual technique), yet at the same time, we spend too much time thinking and talking about some manual or copybook.

Every player has a particular way of dealing with a specific ball or a pitch and it is very difficult to have a similar solution for all. The physical characteristics of the individual player do matter a lot when playing a shot. There can be only one Brian Lara and no matter how hard one desires to imitate his style, the lefthander will be considered unique.Ravindra Pushpakumara of Sri Lanka had a bowling action very close to that of Waqar Younis of Pakistan but the Sri Lankan could not even once replicate the success of the Pakistan paceman. A certain Vivian Richards had a style and technique of his own and no other batsman till date has shown that kind of an ability that would make bowlers shiver in their pants.

Sunil Gavaskar was extremely successful playing against some of the greatest fast bowlers that have graced the game. He did that without the use of the helmet and that too on wickets that were really fast and bouncy all over the world. At the same time, Gavaskar was equally adept against the spinners as his last innings of 96 versus Pakistan at Bangalore would testify. But there were some question marks about his record against spinners like Derek Underwood. The same is the case with Sachin Tendulkar when it comes to the handling of left-arm spinners. In his last tour down under, Rahul Dravid the technician was repeatedly out bowled. Do these o-called failings cast a question mark over the technique of these masters?

In tennis, the top players have their own style or techniques. Nadal is different from Djokovic who is completely different from Federer when it comes to technique. But all of them are successful. There was a time when the two-handed backhand shot was out of fashion in the men’s game but Djokovic has made it something of his signature shot. Those pundits or the so-called experts who earlier had some theories about why the two-handed backhand would not work are having a quiet time eating the humble pie.

Usain Bolt was deemed too tall for a sprinter and he has the physique of a marathon man from Africa but Bolt is the fastest man in the world for sometime now.

There have many singers who made the initial mark by imitating or covering the songs of the inimitable Kishore Kumar but later they tried to shed this image and started to sing in their own way. One can sing like a Kishore Kumar but one cannot become a Kishore Kumar.

It is not the technique or the lack of it that is responsible for the poor showing of Sehwag. The opposing teams and their bowlers have become smarter and Sehwag has failed to recognize this and reinvent his game. The failure is more due to the lack of confidence in part and in part due to the arrogance. Given the current state, it is very difficult to anticipate a successful comeback by Sehwag into the Indian team but that does not in any way diminish his contribution to the success of the Indian cricket in the not too distant past.

It is not mathematics where there is a unique solution for a specific problem. It is a sport where individual ability and creativity are involved and where a critical decision is to be made when not even a few seconds are available.Does anyone bother about the techniques of masters like Leonardo DaVinci or Michelangelo? Let us not bother about the technical failings of Sehwag. Sit back and recollect those innings where Sehwag conjured some magic with the same technique in the past.

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FULL FORCE GAYLE

Posted on November 17, 2010. Filed under: CRICKET | Tags: , , , , , , , |

My apologies to Van Morrison for using the title of his song and misspelling it.

Chris Gayle showed everyone once again his ability with the bat. It is not the number of runs that are important, but the way is which the runs are scored makes for a great game of cricket. The same can be stated of Sehwag. Despite the question marks over their technique and temperament, these two are only four batsmen to score triple hundreds twice in test cricket.

It is sad that Gayle has to play alongside far ordinary colleagues in the team from the West Indies. If he would have been part of a different and a stronger team, greater recognition would surely have followed.

Sometime ago the commitment of Gayle to test cricket was questioned following his confession of greater love for T20. But then that has not prevented his from scoring 333 runs at Galle. There is another interesting thing that I find common between Gayle and Sehwag. Both can strike the ball hard over long distances and yet they have accomplished more in the longer version of the game. Since Sehwag is in the company of really good players in his team, his knocks often turn out to be match winning ones. On the other hand, Gayle has to remain on the losing side. There is Shahid Afridi who has achieved a lot in the short and the shortest format of the game, without doing much of any substance in test cricket.

Looks like with the burden of captaincy gone and with no need to give politically correct statements, Gayle has discovered new ways to liberate his soul. No longer does his batting is tied with the word ‘responsibility’.

The longer form of the game which is not exactly in the pink of health, needs players like Gayle and Sehwag. More importantly, there is a place for characters and players with attitude like Gayle. Otherwise, test cricket would become boring.

I cannot desist myself from using some lines from the song of Van Morrison even though the same praises somebody else.

Like a full force gale

I was lifted up again

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aN ORIGINAL

Posted on April 18, 2010. Filed under: CRICKET, INDIA, SEHWAG, TEST CRICKET | Tags: , , , , , |

It is difficult to make oneself count when one of your teammates goes by the name of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Ever since the Mumbai maestro made his debut in 1989, all cricketing superlatives seem to head in one direction-Mumbai.

Great cricketers like Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, Anil Kumble and V V S Laxman could have made the headlines consistently, but for the exploits of Sachin. All of these have been match winners, though.

But,one man though has carried a bigger burden. Virendra Sehwag was called a ‘Sachin Clone’ and even today some one called him the protégé of Sachin. The commentators might shamelessly argue that such labeling is some sort of a compliment without recognizing the full import of the contributions made by the ‘Nawab of Nazafgarh’ to the success of Indian cricket in recent times. These epithets, I believe are just an indication of a pretty blinkered view of the world.Sachin is without doubt a great player but that does not make Virendra Sehwag an ordinary player.

Sehwag was and even now accused of having a bad technique for a proper batsman.A number of commentators take pride in pointing out the flaws in his technique when the batsman is out for a small score.But then how have the runs continued to flow from his bat?

Sehwag was also accused during the Chappell era of possessing a spirit detrimental to the interests of the Indian team and the Delhi batsman was left out of the team for a while. This also went against Sehwag as far as the captaincy was concerned.It is a testimony of his temperament that he weathered all these storms and made a smashing comeback into the team.

Even during the last trip to Australia Sehwag could not find a place in the test team and when given the opportunity, he batted for a long time in ensuring the safety of his team.

Few players have batted in the way that Sehwag does in the longer version of the game over a long period of time.In the Multan test, Sehwag hit a six to go to the triple hundred mark. Sehwag is incidentally the only batsman after Donald Bradman to go past the 290 mark in a test innings on three occasions.

Wisden named Virendra Sehwag as the Leading Cricketer in the World for the Year for the second year running.

Surely, this is not a bad recognition for some clone or a poor imitation having very few qualities of the original and in this case the copy sometimes seems to shine brighter than the original.

It is difficult to make oneself count when one of your teammates goes by the name of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Ever since the Mumbai maestro made his debut in 1989, all cricketing superlatives seem to head in one direction-Mumbai.

Great cricketers like Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, Anil Kumble and V V S Laxman could have made the headlines consistently, but for the exploits of Sachin. All of these have been match winners, though.

But,one man though has carried a bigger burden. Virendra Sehwag was called a ‘Sachin Clone’ and even today some one called him the protégé of Sachin. The commentators might shamelessly argue that such labeling is some sort of a compliment without recognizing the full import of the contributions made by the ‘Nawab of Nazafgarh’ to the success of Indian cricket in recent times. These epithets, I believe are just an indication of a pretty blinkered view of the world.Sachin is without doubt a great player but that does not make Virendra Sehwag an ordinary player.

Sehwag was and even now accused of having a bad technique for a proper batsman.A number of commentators take pride in pointing out the flaws in his technique when the batsman is out for a small score.But then how have the runs continued to flow from his bat?

Sehwag was also accused during the Chappell era of possessing a spirit detrimental to the interests of the Indian team and the Delhi batsman was left out of the team for a while. This also went against Sehwag as far as the captaincy was concerned.It is a testimony of his temperament that he weathered all these storms and made a smashing comeback into the team.

Even during the last trip to Australia Sehwag could not find a place in the test team and when given the opportunity, he batted for a long time in ensuring the safety of his team.

Few players have batted in the way that Sehwag does in the longer version of the game over a long period of time.In the Multan test, Sehwag hit a six to go to the triple hundred mark. Sehwag is incidentally the only batsman after Donald Bradman to go past the 290 mark in a test innings on three occasions.

Wisden named Virendra Sehwag as the Leading Cricketer in the World for the Year for the second year running.

Surely, this is not a bad recognition for some clone or a poor imitation having very few qualities of the original and in this case the copy sometimes seems to shine brighter than the original.

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IS A WIN POSSIBLE?

Posted on January 21, 2010. Filed under: BANGLADESH, CRICKET, INDIA, SEHWAG, SPORTS, TEST CRICKET | Tags: , , , , |

India have managed to take 7 wickets of Bangladesh and the home team need another 200 runs to secure the first ever win against India in test matches.That is highly improbable and it is no exaggeration to say that it would be impossible. But what is interesting is that whether the Indian bowlers would be able to get the remaining 3 wickets.

In the first innings, the lower order batsmen of Bangladesh put up a brave fight and almost equaled the Indian effort when more than half of the team was back in the pavilion with few runs.

There is no better opportunity for the beleaguered Indian bowlers to get a win even when it is against Bangladesh.

Hope the standing in captain Sehwag does not regret calling Bangladesh an ordinary team before the start of the test.

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