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Batsmen must be self-reliant - Katich

Daniel Brettig

October 15, 2013

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Simon Katich prepares to play a shot, Kolkata Knight Riders v Perth Scorchers, Group A, Champions League T20, Durban, October 17, 2012
Simon Katich: "The harsh part is that even though it's a team game it's very much an individual game, particularly batting ... At the end of the day you're out there on your own" © Getty Images
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Last week, Cricket Australia assembled more than 20 of the nation's sharpest cricket minds at the SCG in an attempt to work out how to help the nation's struggling batsmen. Simon Katich was not among the delegates, but he has a simple piece of advice for those players fighting to establish themselves as consistent run-makers at state and international level - no one else can do it for you.

Katich's message of self-reliance was significant both for how true it was to him, as the owner of a proven batting technique few coaches would admit to having suggested, and for how far out of step it is with the ways of the 21st century game. Australian batsmen have never been surrounded by more mentors and minders. But as Katich stated so bluntly, at the moment of critical importance it is just them against the bowler.

"The harsh part of this game is that even though it's a team game it's very much an individual game, particularly batting," Katich said after making 67 for Western Australia against Victoria at North Sydney Oval. "So you can help as much as you can with advice and passing on experience, but at the end of the day you're out there on your own.

"One thing I've gathered from my career is the more self-sufficient you become as a batsman the better off you'll be, because unfortunately no one can bat for you. Everyone can help, coaches and team-mates can help with advice, but in the end it's just you against the bowler and you've got to win that battle. There's some good kids floating around the state system, no doubt, and it's a matter of them grabbing their opportunities and making the most of it."

Alongside the grabbing of opportunity and the fostering of independence, Katich joined his fellow late 30-somethings Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey in arguing that the current crop of international batsmen needed to be granted faith and continuity. He recalled taking time to feel settled as an international batsman himself, and wondered if his successors have been given enough of a chance to find their feet.

"I just think people have got to be patient because it's not that easy to step into international cricket and perform straight away," he said. "There's many guys in the past that have taken time, I know myself it took time to feel comfortable at Test level. So it doesn't happen straight away but if there's patience and persistence with guys then hopefully at some point they'll reward the selectors and keep churning out consistent runs."

Katich is playing for WA after a decade out of the yellow cap due to a request by his former team-mate Justin Langer to reinforce an alarmingly thin Warriors batting order, beset by injuries, national call-ups and a wider malaise affecting the state. So far he has agreed only to play in the domestic limited-overs matches in Sydney, but Langer is pushing him to go on to four-day duty.

"I want to be able to walk in the front door of my house in the next couple of months," Katich joked in reference to a Sheffield Shield schedule of six matches in as many weeks after the limited-overs tournament concludes. "I'm pretty sure Justin will keep chipping away at me, he has been the last few months.

"But I'm happy with my decision, I'm happy to be helping the boys out as well, in extreme circumstances, where a number got injured before the Champions League and we've lost three or four of our senior players to the India tour. I guess the timing of it all was nice to try to help the boys out by playing this week and giving them some experience. I am grateful for having started my career in WA, and from that point of view it's nice to help out in this way."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Mary_786 on (October 16, 2013, 13:15 GMT)

Katich has reiterated the comments form guys such as Hayden, Ponting and Healey as all said that we must show greater faith in our younger batsman(i.e Hughes, Khawaja, Smith) if we are to be number 1 again. Hayden't example was great in that he said that in his first few games he was so nervous that after one of the games he walked into a yoga place to relieve the pressure but it didn't work. It was only after 10 odd games in a row before he started finding his feet and look how he turned out. Now if you take someone like Khawaja, he top score in Lords, got a howler in Manchester and was dropped. Hughes had a failed series in India but got only 1 ashes game. How can we expect our best young batsman to develop if we don't give them the time to find their feat. Stop picking on ODI form and reward the young players who have earned theiir way through shield cricket.

Posted by   on (October 16, 2013, 11:56 GMT)

Katich's advice is equally applicable to the fielders. A little less though, since dropped catches and misfields can let them down. For Batsmen have to be on guard only about their partners getting them run-out. Otherwise; yes, they are totally self reliant!

Posted by VVSR92 on (October 16, 2013, 4:33 GMT)

This guy is a great leader and a good cricketer who australia has not used him to its best.Whatever he tells or does makes sense! If not for clarke's troubles australia might not be struggling in internatinal level.People like katich,hodge can be given roles to develop cricketers for auusies

Posted by Clavers on (October 16, 2013, 2:29 GMT)

This guy should still be in the test team.

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (October 16, 2013, 0:47 GMT)

What Katich is saying is true, but conversely true is that you can either setup someone to succeed or you can set them up to fail. Australia had the luxury for 10 years or so to be able to bring in players at 5/6 where they were shielded by Hayden, Langer, Ponting and M.Waugh/Martyn. Katich, Hussey and Clarke benefited from this - on the other hand Hughes, Khawaja and Warner have not. Now I am not saying that for example Hughes would have been more successful had he been introduced at 6 under a strong top order, but am merely pointing out that some conditions (that are outside a batsmen's control) are more conducive to success than others.

Posted by   on (October 16, 2013, 0:35 GMT)

I sure hope he decides to play in the Shield, at least then he'd be eligible to be picked for the Ashes. And either way, it's just good to see him still playing, no reason for him to retire from first class cricket he's still one of the best bats going around.

Posted by ygkd on (October 15, 2013, 20:38 GMT)

I saw something about a horse last night which won only one of its first sixteen races or thereabouts, was sold for $7000 and is now running in the Caulfield Cup having won half a million in prize money. How many million-dollar yearlings have gotten that far?

Posted by ihaq1 on (October 15, 2013, 15:23 GMT)

i think katich should realize that a good batting coach who is more interested in batting might be a better idea than just being interested in politically bashing in the opposition...a captain who is not floating on top and is deeply involved in selecting teh team as well as keeping tabs on players abilities and form...it is also better tobe working as a team ie. having one aim and obviously selecting teh best players ...if players donot work or perform consistently than a new one should come in their place...players should know what is teh standard that is required and should work to achieve that...it just does not work if u play well once than doodle around for teh rest of a tour...!

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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