March 1, 2010

Technique

Tendulkar double ton reiterates technique

Aakash Chopra


Technique is perhaps one of the most important things that distinguish a good cricketer from a great cricketer; Tendulkar's great innings told us just that © Associated Press
Enlarge
 

Only the God of cricket could have made a daunting 200 look so effortless. The game of numbers isn’t one for Sachin; he has gone well past that. That evening on the 25th February, Tendulkar didn’t just break an overwhelming record, he narrated cricket’s lost story. The double ton, perhaps, brought back, the passé ‘technique’ into the game. My admiration of Tendulkar’s masterclass didn’t just stop at the record, but the manner in which he pulled it off.

You would assume that a certain amount of slogging is almost mandatory to score a double century in fifty overs. But Sachin proved that it can be done by playing good cricket and knocking some skillful cricketing shots. The reason why Sachin doesn’t need to slog his way to big runs is his impeccable technique.

Ironically though, talking technique has almost become blasphemous in modern day cricket. No longer is it only about the number of runs you score, the strike-rate at which those runs are scored is equally important if not more, especially in the shorter formats. Perhaps, there is seemingly nothing wrong about thinking in terms of strike-rate because that makes for entertaining cricket. Innovation is not an aberration anymore but a norm.

While most cricketers playing international cricket are capable of changing gears and adapting to the new demands of the game, a whole crop of youngsters trying to break into their respective state under-16, under-19 teams are not. To a young mind, the easiest way to score quickly is to take the aerial route and play adventurous shots. The impression a youngster carries is that technique restricts you from playing all the shots and hence slows you down. Little do they realize that in reality, technique empowers you to play almost every shot in the book or perhaps more. It’s the technical dexterity and not slogging which enabled Sachin to score a double century off merely 147 balls.

I see that the role of a cricket coach more important now than ever before. He ought to help a youngster find the right balance and ensure that he doesn’t sacrifice technique for adventure. But are these coaches well equipped to ensure that a youngster doesn’t go astray? The answer is an unfortunate No. Only a few cricket academies in the country are run by qualified coaches. Others are merely organized net practice facilities which would rarely produce good cricketers. We may not be able to organize the cricket-academy sector but we can always ensure that the coaches working with the state teams at all levels are qualified coaches. After all the BCCI organizes coaching clinics on a regular basis producing Level 1, 2 and 3 coaches. These coaches in turn should be absorbed by the state associations.

I watched a Ranji Trophy probable bowling big no-balls and all that the coaches around could possible tell him was a feeble ‘stop overstepping’. No one would tell him how to do it. Poor kid kept bowling for nearly an hour with no success. I felt sorry for the boy because it wasn’t his fault. It’s the duty of the coach to rectify mistakes, but sadly, they couldn’t. If this being the state of affairs at the First class level, pity how things would be at levels below Ranji. The way forward is most certainly a sound lesson in technique, for you can break a rule only when you know it.

Technique is perhaps one of the most important things that distinguish a good cricketer from a great cricketer. And the God of the Cricket told us just that.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

RSS Feeds: Aakash Chopra

Keywords: Technique

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Bakshish Singh on (September 22, 2010, 2:44 GMT)

Its also more the atttitude of the younger generation players to emulate the more successful Sachin or Sehwag. They should realize that it requires special grace to become a Sehwag or a Sachin. But with Sheer hard practice and developing the mental determination one can become a Dravid. People should realize that Dravid is a great cricketer and once the basics are right one can play all the shots in the book as Dravid has proved time and again. It is important that the coaches reiterate the focus on sound technique and strong fundamentals. In the T20 era it is tough for young cricketers to accept this fact.Even the younger indian players like the Rainas, Karthiks and the Pathans look to play more Ariel shots. Probably their strength may lie in that as of now but that will not give the required consistency and cannot give them the big hundreds on a consistent basis.

Posted by Ella SoullessGhost on (May 10, 2010, 20:45 GMT)

Truly interesting story u have here. It would be great to read more concerning such theme. Thanks for posting such information.

Posted by M. Omair on (March 5, 2010, 13:04 GMT)

Now Tendulkar is the best. He is better than others but I think Dravid is very very near to him. It is debatable that either Dravid is better or Ponting.

Tendulkar now scored more than 30000 runs against 15 to 16 countries in different grounds more than 50 all over the world.

Whenever we compare him Sir Bradman, we neglect the fact that he is still going on. So I think actual comparison will come after his retirement which may be in 2015.

In my opinion both are legend. One legend from past and another one in present. Beside average, Sir. Bradman career has too much limitation like in top 100 wicket takers in test, he faced five and for 150, only seven including Voce with 98 wickets. For top 30, he faced none. But again this was not his fault, at that time, cricket pace was slow. Timeless matches were there, which again was not his fault. In actual only two teams were there. He played only ten ground totally with five each in both regions but he is the best batsman of his time.

Posted by prasad on (March 4, 2010, 19:11 GMT)

No doubt, sachin is god of cricket and, The best part of sachin is yet to come..............

Posted by Zeeshan Ahmed on (March 4, 2010, 5:47 GMT)

Dear Arun, whatever I said is all true about Sir. Bradman, I think you do not want to see big picture. It is very easy to score 200 against Bangladesh but came to face Marshall, Robert, Garner and Holding, even you are unable to score 100.

Bradman runs per inning against England is 79.8 and Lara 58.5 so actual difference is 21 runs but Lara faced it one out of nine teams. If Lara scored 5031 runs against England then Bradman 6863 runs, see diff.

Even when he started his career, there was great depression, people were thinking about bread and butter, not cricket.

Even I mentioned the fact that he only played one out of 50 leading wicket taker, do not make you understand the way of cricket at that time.

Did you know about Headley, his average was 71.23 against England, but he had not timeless matches against them but came to Australia drastically change to 37.33. If he was batsman in Australia, he could easily change it from 71.23 to how much, we do not know the exact.

Posted by tejasvi on (March 4, 2010, 3:05 GMT)

he is the best batsmen ever in world & no one can beat the records of him & he will do the higest indiviual score in test matches also...

Posted by Amin Aijaz on (March 4, 2010, 2:30 GMT)

So whose innings between, Sachin Tendulkar's 200* on a batting paradise or Saeed Anwar's 194 on a Chennai hot day is a better one? No doubt Anwar's was the better one as the innings came in an era where T20 didn't exist and a team scoring 300 was considered an amazing score, at par with today's team scoring a 400. High strike-rates was uncommon in the 1990s. No ball changes after 34 overs and only 15 overs of powerplay existed as against the 20 overs of today where the batsmen decide 5 of them.

It wont be long before a Virender Sehwag or a Chris Gayle will scale the peak of 200. Already last year we had a 194* from Charles Coventry from Zimbabwe equalling the then world record. And this man couldn't get enough strike in the end else he could easily had gone past the 200-mark. So all in all, a great innings by Sachin but certainly not the greatest one. Anwar's was greater.

Posted by zxaar on (March 3, 2010, 9:26 GMT)

This is my last comment, sorry akash for out of topic comment.

"but to compare him with the great sir vivian is not advicable. just compare the strike rates and averages of bowlers Sir vivian faced all his life and the little master facing in recent times."

i checked viv richard's records. Pak was better bowling attach in 80s, richards average 31 against them in 41 matches. He never hit odi century against pak. Further i checked richards average 8 against sarfraz nawaz and 7.5 against qadir. The same qadir whose career was cut short by young sachin. So yes, there is no comparison with sachin. We know who better odi bat is. (by the way sachin has faced better bowlers all through out his career).

Posted by Aakash Chopra on (March 3, 2010, 8:59 GMT)

Dear readers, thanks a lot for your comments. Really overwhelmed by the response. Please keep reading and writing in. I always try to read all the comments. Your feedback is precious :) You can also follow me on Twitter for a more personalized contact. My handle--cricketaakash Thanks, Aakash ps: @Naresh...thanks a lot. :)

Posted by XERSES on (March 3, 2010, 6:42 GMT)

And then there is Brian Lara !

Comments have now been closed for this article

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra is the 245th Indian to represent India in Test cricket. A batsman in the traditional mould, he played 10 Tests for India in 2003-04, and has played over 120 first-class matches. He currently plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy; his book Beyond the Blues was an account of the 2007-08 season. Chopra made a formidable opening combination with Virender Sehwag, which was believed to be one of the reasons for India's success in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04. He is considered one of the best close-in fielders India has produced after Eknath Solkar.

All articles by this writer