From smack-bang in the middle of the bell curve

Pavlovian theories and India’s top 7

In blah, sachin, sports on December 9, 2006 at 7:13 pm

Pavlov’s conditioning theory propounded that repeating the same kind of stimulus time and again can lead to a conditioned response. That didn’t quite take into account the Indian cricket journalist. After repeatedly elevating every performance that was marginally above average to stratospheric extents only to see their messiahs crash the day they left indian shores you’d expect they’d be conditioned to look for an actual sign of brilliance before waxing eloquent. “Grits, Guts and Ganguly” says the HT article. The Hindu said it with a little less hyperbole but the ‘indepth’ analysis of his flawless technique against pace shouldn’t be read while eating lest you choke yourself to death. A reality bite; The team in question was called ‘Rest of South Africa’, as in players who aren’t good enough to play for the test team. Not quite in the league of Ntini, Pollock, Kallis and co. So why’d the others fail against even these bowlers?
  1. Virender Sehwag: Has traditionally relied on hand-eye coordination to plant himself on legstump line and swish through the line. Bowlers have worked that out about him and bowl a lot more at his body before giving him one that hits the pitch short of length and rises over off-stump. He’s not been good enough to adjust to the line that’s much closer to the body. Not everyone’s got the work ethic of a Ricky Ponting to overcome technical flaws.
  2. Wasim Jaffer: Mumbai’s most prolific opener, has bucket-loads of runs in Ranji. His is a more understandable problem of never having seen the kind of movement and bounce before. The bounce prevents him from getting into line and playing the ball under his eyes. Remains to be seen if he can adjust to by being more decisive letting them go outside off.
  3. Rahul Dravid: One of the best techniques in the world they say. The missing qualifier is best “frontfoot” technique in the world. Doesn’t like it when a huge frontfoot movement doesn’t allow him to play the ball at knee height. On the backfoot, Rahul’s backlift comes down from wide thirdman and across the line. Leads to those repeated instances of the ball sneaking through and hitting off-stump. But his more tenacious mindset enables him to concentrate that bit harder to hang on.
  4. Sachin Tendulkar: Been there done that, got the t-shirt. A legstump stance with decisive footwork and laser hand-eye coordination have been his hallmarks. Now, he’s only shuffling across and trying to almost fend the ball to the on-side. The bowlers goad him outside off and after letting a few go, he ends up trying to force one, either edging to slip or chopping onto his stumps. Needs to back himself to be able to see the ball and let the hands flow through uninhibited. Forget that there the field has an on-side for a session and play like only he bloody can. Play for the next ball, not for the day or even the session.
  5. VVS Laxman: Not a coincidence that he’s been most successful against the quick bowlers. Has a more erect stance than the other Indian batsman. Does not lunge onto the front-foot and therefore earns more time by letting the ball come to him after it has done its bit. The opposite of Dravid in terms of gutsing it out and therefore relies on gaining confidence early or not-at-all.
  6. Saurav Ganguly: His stance is almost like someone on the frontfoot before the ball is bowled. Closed stance (the right shoulder’s pointing almost at mid-off) and lack of any backfoot movement means he is incapable of facing short and quick bowling. Relies on giving the bowlers aggro to put them off their length. But has a definite weakness against the sucker combination; 2-3 short sharp followed by a floating wide half-volley.
  7. Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Quick bowlers who let him score should hang themselves. Has only one movement, a lunge onto the front-foot followed by an axe-like swing of the hands. People who compare him to Gilchrist are as much cricket experts as Mata Hari was a virgin. A definite bodyline attack, maybe even around the wicket would neutralise the biffer with an affinity to dairy.

India’s top 7; collective game-plans to tackle the pitch will only bomb. Each will have to work it out for themselves. “Spending time in the middle” is bullshit, bat like you dont like the bowlers, bat to hit them off their lengths, bat to get under their skins, bat to single out each bowler and f****in’ destroy their confidence……not my secret recipe…its been practised for decades by the guys in the baggy green…bat like the Aussies do!

  1. lets move to australia..

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