September 3, 2010

The problems with India's young batsmen

Some pull to make a statement, one pushes meekly. One's feet resemble Johhnie Walker's, another needs to stop resembling others
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I believe that you can have the worst technique in the world, but if you have a sharp, disciplined mind you can still survive at the international level. Technique, though, does become very important, at times, like in Dambulla recently, where the ball didn't behave as predictably as it does elsewhere nowadays.

The short ball is something Indian batsmen are generally, and naturally, not too good against. I used to envy young Australian batsmen during my playing days. A bouncer was a scoring opportunity for them. The moment somebody bowled short, they pounced on it. It's like when an Indian batsman sees a spinner bowl short. For Indian batsmen against bouncers, their first instinct is not positive. Then we sort of tell ourselves that we are going to be aggressive.

In the nineties India started to look at Australia as the team to be. The kids in that era grew up idolising Australian batsmen. Perhaps that's why a lot of them are playing the pull shot today, to make a statement, even if it doesn't come naturally to them. For the Australians the pull shot is like the drive or the flick is for the Indians.

There is a notion that in limited-overs cricket if you don't pull, you give the bowlers free dot-balls. And you can't keep ducking either. That's what the young Indian batsmen often say. Suresh Raina showed he played the short ball better in Tests, when he wasn't under pressure to score fast. In limited-overs cricket, though, they start pulling , but unconvincingly, thereby making it a high-risk shot.

Sachin Tendulkar doesn't play the pull anymore. Nor does Virender Sehwag. VVS Laxman doesn't play it as often as he used to. They are all still effective batsmen at the international level. You don't always need to always play the pull shot to prove something to someone. Why play a high-risk shot at a time when you don't want to lose wickets?

You don't need to hit a boundary every time the ball is bowled short. I remember when they bowled short to Sunil Gavaskar in limited-overs matches in Australia, he would glide it to third man for a single. And then the bowler had a different batsman to adjust to. How does Tendulkar take care of short balls in Twenty20? He does not play aggressive shots; he just takes singles to fine leg or taps it over where slips would be. More importantly, he shows he is comfortable against the short ball. That is the key.

If someone is bowling short in limited-overs cricket, he is not going to do so right through the innings. It's just a matter of maybe two overs. And it is impossible to keep bowling short in Twenty20. How many pitches will allow you to do that? At any rate, India's main problem is not that they are stuck for long periods without scoring runs. Their problem is that they are losing wickets. It's not like they are three down for 180 in 50 overs.

Fast bowlers keep bowling short at a batsman only when they see he is uncomfortable against it. What happens with a Raina or a Ravindra Jadeja is that they show they are uncomfortable. If Raina, even in Twenty20, ducks under one, and guides the next one for a single to fine leg, and shows he is comfortable, he won't get much more of it. It will only happen if it's clear to them that he is getting into strange positions while trying to pull. Being secure against the short ball is important. Even if you're not scoring off it, if you look reasonably comfortable against it without playing an attacking shot, you will be fine.

Therein lies the need for these young batsmen to discover their own game, what they are suited to do best. And the onus, a lot of it, is on Gary Kirsten to help them do that.

Dinesh Karthik
You have to feel for him, for he has never got an extended run in a certain position. Having said that, he is opening in limited-overs cricket. The white new ball does a bit more than the red one, and once the lights come on, sometimes it swings even more. To face the new ball well, he needs to get back to his basic game, with which he seems to have lost touch.

Karthik's game has changed in the last two or three years, during which he has mostly played limited-overs cricket and tried to meet the demands of those forms. I see him doing things that seem to be outside his game. For example, standing outside the crease. When you are out of form, playing a fast bowler on a responsive pitch, why would you want to give yourself less time?

When you walk down the pitch to bowlers like Kyle Mills and Lasith Malinga, it just defies logic. I think Karthik is a little confused. Too many pre-meditated movements have crept in - both when he walks down the pitch and when he sometimes stays in the crease for no apparent reason. He doesn't seem to be doing the one basic thing: watching the ball, and then reacting to it accordingly.

When you play swing bowlers off the back foot, giving yourself more time, you get width. You get a chance to play the square cut. Imagine that Nuwan Kulasekara has bowled an inswinger. You stand outside your crease and thrust your front foot forward and counter the swing. Compare it to another batsman who stays in the crease and sees the inswinger coming. If it is not very full and finishes around middle and leg, it can be deflected to fine leg or square leg. You need not limit your options by walking down the pitch. When the ball is spinning or seaming, it makes a lot of sense to play it late.

Sehwag rarely walks down; Tendulkar never does. There are two batsmen who come to mind who have successfully adopted this tactic without limiting their scoring options. For Matthew Hayden it was an extension of what he did; he could always go back to his basic game. Gautam Gambhir also walks down the pitch sometimes, but he seems calm in his mind when he does it, ready to react to whatever happens; he is watching the ball closely all the time.

Karthik seems to go down with a specific plan in mind, and if the ball is not where he expects it to be, he struggles. You get the feeling he is not settled in his mind. My advice to him would be to just settle down, get into a normal stance, give himself time to play, and just react to the ball. Then, when he wants to play differently, if he walks down the pitch, he'll be fine. He has got a decent enough basic game to succeed in international cricket.

Virat Kohli
Kohli is a talented player, one who goes out there wanting to make a difference. His technique, though, worries me, especially in conditions like in Dambulla. He will get such conditions in South Africa, Australia, and sometimes in England.

Whatever the length of the ball, the position of his feet is the same. He gets into a sort of criss-cross position, where the front foot is across from the back foot - and not well down the pitch, as it should be. When the ball is short, you have to go slightly back, or at least your weight has to go back; when it is pitched up, you have to go forward. He does not have this basic game.

Kohli could be advised to have a look at Rahul Dravid, because they have some similarities. Dravid too looks to get on the front foot, but when the ball is pitched up, he makes an extra effort to get down to the pitch of it. When it is short, he stays back, without actually taking a backward step: he is waiting for it, his weight is back, even though his front foot seems to be down the pitch. When Dravid plays a square cut, you will never see both his feet together behind the popping crease. His front foot will be out of the crease, but his weight will be back. That is how he gives himself time to meet the ball late.

Kohli is making life difficult for himself on responsive pitches by just having one kind of foot movement for all lengths. It can be worked on if he plays a hundred balls of different lengths in a day in practice. And if he is reminded again and again to get back when the ball is short and well forward when it is full.

Rohit Sharma
We have to consider Rohit a bit like we would VVS Laxman. They are both elegant batsmen, but Rohit is a bit tighter than Laxman was when he first appeared. Laxman, though, showed that he had great mental discipline, which Rohit needs to acquire.

Technically there aren't too many things he needs to work on, like Kohli and Karthik do. He needs to know he is a little loose at the start of the innings, and that, like Yuvraj Singh, he is tentative outside off and has a tendency of going through the line of balls outside off. He has to learn to leave them alone, because he is not a square-cutter. If you are going to push at deliveries outside off, you are doing yourself no good. He does not get into a position to cut them nor does he look to leave them.

Of late Rohit has been getting out lbw to full balls. And that is mostly to do with confidence. When your confidence is low, you tend to try and get into position even before the ball is delivered. It is a nervous act, although Rohit manages to look casual when he is doing it. The front foot goes across as a natural defence; you are basically trying to cover yourself up. You don't want the ball to go through and hit the stumps. You put the front foot down as a survival instinct, but it happens a bit too early. In Rohit's case, the foot is going too far across too.

That will only change when he becomes mentally more relaxed. It is a technical thing, but it has a lot to do with your insecurity as a batsman. In the nets he needs to tell himself, "Wait. Make your foot movements only after the ball is delivered." When you are out of form, you think too many things, and before the ball is delivered you have made certain movements, getting yourself into positions that are not ideal. When you are in form, like Sehwag, you stand still in the crease and your feet and body start operating only after the ball is delivered. When you think too much, you don't do that basic thing well enough, watching the ball. Rohit has to keep telling himself to "watch the ball" to remove all other thoughts from the mind and focus on what really matters.

As told to Sidharth Monga

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RHolmes12 on September 6, 2010, 14:32 GMT

    I agree with sonjjay. Pushing regional batsmen from Mumbai and Delhi regions have been always a norm in Indian Cricket.

  • on September 6, 2010, 2:55 GMT

    This is a joke, I have seen Sanjay Bat in the 90s.. especially in the aussie series before the 92 world cup.. And now he is advising these guys??

  • leslie_alo on September 5, 2010, 17:51 GMT

    We understand that Sanjay would've chipped in with his advices to these youngsters which would've fallen in deaf ears which might have prompted him to come up with such an article. Let us admit that if the foundation is poorly laid, then this is expected of this. We will continue to culture cricketers like S Ramesh, Yuvraj, Wasim Jaffer, etc who grab opening spots of Indian teams and plunder in wickets where ball does not bounce above the knees, but who do not know to cover drive in lively pitches and horne their fishing skills in the pitch and do not know which ball not to flick! Let us not forget that once India also produced top cricketers of the calibre of Sunny, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Pataudi, Vengsarkar, Jimmy, Sanjay (you were not bad - let us acknowledge! ). If the present system goes on, Indian fans will have nothing to be proud of when likes of Sachin, Dravid and Laxman retire - so now who is doing the homework for that - not the selectors as of yet :(

  • cricket_is_my_life on September 5, 2010, 17:48 GMT

    As a lay man, I would like to ask the following question to Sanjay: consider a limited over game and you are playing the last over. You need to score 15 runs to win. The opponent bowler knows that you and your partner both only score singles against short balls. What should now be the strategy of the opponent team? Yes, you guessed it right. The opponent bowler will bowl all six balls short and you two will gather six singles from those six balls. End of the story.

  • leslie_alo on September 5, 2010, 17:33 GMT

    Another revolutionary experiment Vengsarkar did was to conduct Ranji trophy matches in a pitch not belonging to the participating states. This resulted in pace oriented pitches and the results were to be seen. The top batsmen during those days like Gambhir went on to accumulate runs abroad as well. Suddenly huge and cry was raised regarding dip in popularity of matches and some vested interests were successful in bringing Ranji to square one where whims and fancies of home teams are taken care of in matches. So now what is the outcome - Indian youngsters are poor players of spin, pace, test, one-day and T20 now. When Pakistan is able to groom Umran Akmal, Haider, etc, can Indian selectors boast of a single consistent youngster? Compare Indian population with Pakistan population - why no bowler from India is able to bowl a swinging toe-crusher or bloody bouncer? when has an Indian bowler bowled consecutively above 140 plus ? Selectors - not all the fans are dumbs, ok...

  • adwait on September 5, 2010, 17:15 GMT

    Bingo Sanjay! The techniques of young Indian batsmen is really worrying. Suresh Raina seems to have the worst technique, he's fast turning into a flat pitch bully, just playing that hoic over mid wicket. Rohit n Robin look the best bet at this stage...

  • RHolmes12 on September 5, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    The problem with Indian Selectors and their media is - Some people are just pushed and hyped to be selected. They can only score below 30 and keep their place, make money by giving advertisements and so on. - Some people are dubbed as having "technical flaws". These are the people who do not have any god-fathers. - Some are very talented and they can keep non performing

  • SajinVarghese on September 5, 2010, 11:38 GMT

    At this outset,as a fancy selector,i rather pick Rahul Dravid back in the team and Pujara,Tiwary & Badrinath,Rayudu all will give a good chance to show their capacity to be included in WC Squad.Enough is enough,Karthik has given abundant opportunities despite the slot given and Sharma, stop-gap career can only boast,Kohli,get his technical skills right and will see again,bye,that's all

  • sonjjay on September 5, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    @ leslie_alo , you said it!! Some fan has called pujara useless inspite of saying that he has actually not seen em play, funny!! I agree when u say Vengsarkar was a better selector and had a vision, guys like Murali Vijay are taken to T20 world cup ahead of Robin utthapa can any1 justify it ?? however pushing regional players has always been the norm in Indian cricket . i am eagerly waiting for Srikanth's tenure as a selector to end. hopefully we have some1 who can take us forward...

  • theswami on September 5, 2010, 7:55 GMT

    Badri, Pujara, Tiwary ......... must be given chances

  • RHolmes12 on September 6, 2010, 14:32 GMT

    I agree with sonjjay. Pushing regional batsmen from Mumbai and Delhi regions have been always a norm in Indian Cricket.

  • on September 6, 2010, 2:55 GMT

    This is a joke, I have seen Sanjay Bat in the 90s.. especially in the aussie series before the 92 world cup.. And now he is advising these guys??

  • leslie_alo on September 5, 2010, 17:51 GMT

    We understand that Sanjay would've chipped in with his advices to these youngsters which would've fallen in deaf ears which might have prompted him to come up with such an article. Let us admit that if the foundation is poorly laid, then this is expected of this. We will continue to culture cricketers like S Ramesh, Yuvraj, Wasim Jaffer, etc who grab opening spots of Indian teams and plunder in wickets where ball does not bounce above the knees, but who do not know to cover drive in lively pitches and horne their fishing skills in the pitch and do not know which ball not to flick! Let us not forget that once India also produced top cricketers of the calibre of Sunny, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Pataudi, Vengsarkar, Jimmy, Sanjay (you were not bad - let us acknowledge! ). If the present system goes on, Indian fans will have nothing to be proud of when likes of Sachin, Dravid and Laxman retire - so now who is doing the homework for that - not the selectors as of yet :(

  • cricket_is_my_life on September 5, 2010, 17:48 GMT

    As a lay man, I would like to ask the following question to Sanjay: consider a limited over game and you are playing the last over. You need to score 15 runs to win. The opponent bowler knows that you and your partner both only score singles against short balls. What should now be the strategy of the opponent team? Yes, you guessed it right. The opponent bowler will bowl all six balls short and you two will gather six singles from those six balls. End of the story.

  • leslie_alo on September 5, 2010, 17:33 GMT

    Another revolutionary experiment Vengsarkar did was to conduct Ranji trophy matches in a pitch not belonging to the participating states. This resulted in pace oriented pitches and the results were to be seen. The top batsmen during those days like Gambhir went on to accumulate runs abroad as well. Suddenly huge and cry was raised regarding dip in popularity of matches and some vested interests were successful in bringing Ranji to square one where whims and fancies of home teams are taken care of in matches. So now what is the outcome - Indian youngsters are poor players of spin, pace, test, one-day and T20 now. When Pakistan is able to groom Umran Akmal, Haider, etc, can Indian selectors boast of a single consistent youngster? Compare Indian population with Pakistan population - why no bowler from India is able to bowl a swinging toe-crusher or bloody bouncer? when has an Indian bowler bowled consecutively above 140 plus ? Selectors - not all the fans are dumbs, ok...

  • adwait on September 5, 2010, 17:15 GMT

    Bingo Sanjay! The techniques of young Indian batsmen is really worrying. Suresh Raina seems to have the worst technique, he's fast turning into a flat pitch bully, just playing that hoic over mid wicket. Rohit n Robin look the best bet at this stage...

  • RHolmes12 on September 5, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    The problem with Indian Selectors and their media is - Some people are just pushed and hyped to be selected. They can only score below 30 and keep their place, make money by giving advertisements and so on. - Some people are dubbed as having "technical flaws". These are the people who do not have any god-fathers. - Some are very talented and they can keep non performing

  • SajinVarghese on September 5, 2010, 11:38 GMT

    At this outset,as a fancy selector,i rather pick Rahul Dravid back in the team and Pujara,Tiwary & Badrinath,Rayudu all will give a good chance to show their capacity to be included in WC Squad.Enough is enough,Karthik has given abundant opportunities despite the slot given and Sharma, stop-gap career can only boast,Kohli,get his technical skills right and will see again,bye,that's all

  • sonjjay on September 5, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    @ leslie_alo , you said it!! Some fan has called pujara useless inspite of saying that he has actually not seen em play, funny!! I agree when u say Vengsarkar was a better selector and had a vision, guys like Murali Vijay are taken to T20 world cup ahead of Robin utthapa can any1 justify it ?? however pushing regional players has always been the norm in Indian cricket . i am eagerly waiting for Srikanth's tenure as a selector to end. hopefully we have some1 who can take us forward...

  • theswami on September 5, 2010, 7:55 GMT

    Badri, Pujara, Tiwary ......... must be given chances

  • thisgameislife on September 5, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    the key in this article is - 'play to your strengths'. dravid defending in top-form is as demoralising for bowlers as sehwag attacking in top-form. these youngsters are trying to live up a brand rather than build it with their performance in matches. the only thing these batsmen need is to be dropped if they do not perform. for them to realise that fame will flee if they are not serious (unless they want to be on tv reality shows as stars). they all have the talent for the level. they need the work ethic. and if they do not learn the work ethic even after being dropped - some other guy will take their place. drop them - let them earn their place back by playing first class cricket (in india, eng, aus or saf). copying other batsmen is not solution (be it dravid, sehwag, tendulkar).

  • leslie_alo on September 5, 2010, 3:12 GMT

    The way people like Yuvraj are being selected for test team especially when he did not have not even one fifty in tests in australia and the way how young guys like Pujara are not groomed and encouraged (even after he has established himself in Australian young players tourney) looks like a scam wherein the selectors might be involved - Why did we kick Vengsarkar out as selector! Remember we won the maximum tests abroad while he was selector - why? Since he had a vision - when he was the selector, please check the statistics available here in Cricinfo - Ranji was dominated by bowlers then and fast tracks were the norm. But I suspect how sincere Srikanth is to Indian cricket - when I see people with sound technique like Pujara being sidelined and people like Yuvraj who flops in lively pitches always, but scores a century in dead pitches, and not even plays Ranji finds a place in the national team - a pandora box is not far!

  • Runster1 on September 5, 2010, 2:37 GMT

    @AsherCA Thats rubbish. Are u saying that CSK Sreenivasan is favouring batsmen that play for chennai. thats the most stupidest comment i have ever heard of. Raina is also not a 'tramp bully'. He is the only player in the IPL to have scored over 500 runs in the last 3 seasons of IPL. He is pretty consistent and plays some great shots and is a valuable player of the future for India in limited overs cricket. You have no evidence to suggest this the Sreenivasan does this rubbish. Btw...rayadu is no way near to raina's batsman skills. Raya du is a pretty much a domestic wicketkeeper and his skills with the bat are pretty average. the selectors would choose raina over rayadu any day. Get your facts right.

  • Alexk400 on September 5, 2010, 1:03 GMT

    I still can't fathom super slow spin bowler Irfan pathan to get selected. He is utterly worst bowler and worst batsman. Yes he hit few sixers when it is in the slot. He can't manufacture runs. He is cheap all rounder in your local club at best.

    I never seen pujara , so based on the people who support him he will be like badrinath , useless.

    it is shocking that when u given a chance you should grab with both hands. All these youngsters are overhyped by zonal sections of media and keep getting selected for no reason. Everyone should get few chances...may be they need to tell these kids , you need to score 50 average to be in the team after 5 innings.

    For me kohli and rohit sharma are both over hyped.

    Major issue with selection is there is no competition. There should be selection pool of 30 players...based on local form they should come in and get out of that 30.

    Need better domestic league to judge these players in 4 day matches.

  • AsherCA on September 4, 2010, 22:37 GMT

    The bigger problem with Indian Cricket seems to be - which IPL team / Ranji Trophy zone you represent seems more critical to selection than how well you actually play. Suresh Raina has shown time & again that he is a flat track bully, but was promoted to Sri Lanka. Dinesh Karthik has got multiple chances at the Intl. level without being required to show imporvement in performance. These gentlemen could be asked to stay home & fix limitations within their game, giving Irfan Pathan & A Rayadu who look better prepared an opportunith to bat for India. However, the actual issue - Pathan & Rayadu have no link to Chennai. The risk - if Pathan & Rayadu succeed, it reduces Chennai's representation in the India squad. Not acceptable to Mr. Sreenivasan of TN, owner of CSK & Secretary. He therefore provided services beyond the official call of his duty thru "valuable inputs" during selection committee meetings.

  • davedave on September 4, 2010, 18:59 GMT

    Yes what sanjay pointed out the batsmen weakness. But all the cricket batsmen have strengh and weakness but it is how they are good for the long run. when sehwag became an opener many wrote articles on him that he didn't have technique but now he is a world class opener it suits to Yuvaraj as well despite he is out of form but still he is a match winner. But if you can see Kartik, Rohit, Kholi and even Raina they are consistenly failing series after series. Look at Rohit and Raina who came to the squad since 2005 although on and off but what did they achieve. Sehwag, Yuvaraj, Dhoni after being played for five years look at the satistics. But these youngsters may be too good or legends for IPL matches that is it.

  • leslie_alo on September 4, 2010, 18:38 GMT

    Sanjay - let me add to your suggestions - the premeditated pull shot is the best weapon against the short ball. People who play this well are never peppered with short balls, as you would've observed. Take the case of Sachin, Sehwag or even Dhoni who are good in premeditated pull shots in any pitch. But, unfortunately, a big percentage of the youngsters know to play this shot only in dead pitches - NOT in lively pitches - hence they tend to fail - as simple as that. This remedy is not anything new. So are these people failing because they do not know these basic things. Simple - if you do not have lively pitches to practice, wetten the heaviest tennis balls available and ask some spinner to throw to you at a close range - there is no better practice than this . Let the players who can play the live ball only be selected - please let us not let the cricket fans down - let us for once accept that people like Yuvraj are poor in playing in lively pitches!

  • Ashok_893 on September 4, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    You are right. Our young guns need to learn more techniques to adapt with international pitches. These guys grown up playing in Indian pitches which doesn't offer much to fast bowlers. While playing these conditions, they couldn't judge the short ball when batting Dambulla like pitches. They need to improve their mental strength to be calm and decide the shots as our seniors does. Nowadays people thinking only shorter version of the game where they cant use much techniques. They might took Dhoni as roll model who has enormous mental strength to play game without much techniques. The future of Indian cricket still in these guys who should learn much more irrespective of the format they play.

  • Alexk400 on September 4, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    For me sanjay always tells the truth like ian chappell , they go against the grain...true well wishers and analysts.

    There is sickness and symptoms. Can't play shorty ball is sickness. Symptom is lack of strength. No strength , no reflex.

    People keep saying select this and select pujara ..etc. Sooner or later india has to cacth on with gym culture and body building , then only indians will get stronger physically.

    For me everything in India is opposite of western values. Complete ulta.tribal.

  • Nampally on September 4, 2010, 15:40 GMT

    Sanjay, your very impressive summary of problems with our top 4 future youngsters of India begs the question: What can we do to correct these problems & why not present them NOW?. A lesson for BCCI & the Selectors to work upon immediately.Actually even before the Dambulla disaster, these 4 have consistently exposed their footwork was far from acceptable. Some suggestion for BCCI & the Selectors: 1. Run coaching camps both in batting & bowling at 2 or more centres each with 20 players 2. Let these 4 practice also their footwork on a matting wicket instead of turf against fast bowlers as well as spinners by having two pitches side by side.3. Let the batsmen watch the footwork films of Don Bradman & other greats and try to emulate them in their batting.4. Check other youngsters for their footwork - Mukund, Dhawan, Pujara, Tiwary, Rehane, etc. and ensure they too get enough practice and have correct footwork. Good Batting is When Feet,Hands, eyes and brain coordination are perfected.

  • Percy_Fender on September 4, 2010, 14:59 GMT

    In the past India have had players of the caliber of C K Naydu, Mushtaq Ali, Merchant, Manjrekar, Pataudi, Hanumant Singh, Borde, Durrani Gavaskar and Vishvanath, who were all excellent players of the hook shot. That may have been because when started playing, they had to play on matting wichets where back foot play becomes instinctive. A hook calls for courage because a batsman has to read the length of the ball, position himself in a fraction of a second and execute the stroke. Normally a batsman should go back and across so that he gets the additional time to play the shot. But if you see the Australians, Ponting in particular, they come noticeably on the front foot before going on to their back foot to play the shot. I feel our front foot players like Kartik in particular would gain immensely by watching and replicating Ponting and others. More important than this is to bring in matting wickets for the lower grades of cricket. This will ensure that back foot play becomes instinct.

  • S.N.Singh on September 4, 2010, 13:53 GMT

    Sanjay is correct in hi analysis. The technique of Dravid should be adopted by the young players. India selectors have a problem with their pannel. The are eager to get rid of senior players. Kumble,ganguly and they have no replacement for them. They need partner ship in ODI matches. Dravid has 10,000 runs in ODI with and average of about 40. Kumble is there. Why push Jaggeda when you Infan Pathan, Infan is a better alrounder than all of the present day players. Infan can bat from one to eleven. Dravid can build partnership. The young player had their share of chance. They will have to wait until the seniors faded. The selectors are playing with India reputition. We need Fast Bowlers. BCCI should look in the country parts for strong young people. Rainia and Kholi is about the best potential India Have. Raina is the worlds best cover fieldsman. S.N.Singh USA

  • S.N.Singh on September 4, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    Very good observation by Mr. Manjrekar. People do not see this. I always tkink Dravid has one of the best technique as a batsman. If the indian batsman look at ow Dhoni bats., they will learn a lot. In my opinion Dhoni is a very hard person to out. Dhoni waits for the pitch of the ball, then decides what to do. In regards to bowlers, with my experience as a bowler, a batsman should be ready according the type of bowler. If it is a fast bowler they should be on the back foot waiting to play where ever you want to put the ball, ESPECIALLY SHORT BALL. If it is a spinner, they should be on their front foot waiting to decide where to play it. This technique should be adopted by the cricket accadamy so young players could get use to it. GETTING READY ON THE BACK FOOT worries the fast bowler. TRY IT AND YOU WILL SEE THE RESULT. I also think Kholi has a lot of talent so is Raina. I had written the BCiCI of these two players. S.N.Singh USA

  • addiemanav on September 4, 2010, 10:09 GMT

    i wud suggest them to do shadow batting for few hours a day..watch old videos of tendulkars and other greats..wear ur batsman suit and just try and imitate the batsman in the video simultaneously..thinking about your game is most important..they need to do it methodologically..these guys really need to travel with indian A sides to SA and AUS,play some more first class stuff and then play for india.otherwise 2 years from now ,india will struggle really badly!!

  • on September 4, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    what sanjay said was true but he didint mention abt jadeja in his article.its so sad that our indian players could not correct their technique even though they were worked by other teams in 2 t20 wc"s .dinesh karthik is good player of international standard but he needs to cut down on rash shots .abt sachin not playing pull there is no need of it when plays the upper cut over the slips so well.rohit sharma should take stint in county so that he can get some good scores under his belt as he seems to be tad slow against fast bowlers .Its just that he is lackin confidence when out of form.virat kohli canplay only on front foot with his feet movement and can be ideal for lbw .suresh raina just needs some patience to cut out that shot.

  • OnlyKaps on September 4, 2010, 7:50 GMT

    Sanjay, thats brilliantly analysed. Cannot fault the asset of good technique. having said that , one question though. A number of Australian batsmen dont have the perfect technique of a Gavaskar, Tendulkar or a Dravid - say Hayden, Langer, Martyn, Symonds, Taylor, but have had outstanding records and long careers in various forms of the game. Amongst Indians too, Mohinder, had a most awkward stance and technique but his ample guts made up for it and he had great success against WI and other top teams. Shastri, Vengsarkar, Vishy, Siddhu all had weaknesses in their techniques but were able to improvise and end with a 40+ average. Maybe these youngsters too just need to develop that confidence and ability to improvise strokes from difficult footwork positions atthis stage of their careers.. perhaps rectifying their technique totally may be difficulty and even not wise to suggest at this stage. (some minor changes are manageable but wholesale changes tough)

  • Percy_Fender on September 4, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    Sanjay has engaged in a good analysis and it is very detailed indeed. I remember Mike Brearley had written a book on "How to play fast bowling" He was never himself considered a great player of fast bowling though despite being a winning captain. Sanjay on the other hand was an excellent player of fast bowling like his father but he was probably so steeped in technique that he could not make adjustments that are so necessary to succeed in Australia and South Africa. Rahul Dravid no less in technical perfection failed on his first tour to Australia. But before he went there again made the necessary adjustments to his technique and as we all know, was India's hero in 2003/04.The point I wish to make is that all the named player are set in their own grooves. Any change can happen as in the case of Rahul Dravid only if the players themselves carry out some changes that are necessary as they see it. Rather than reading they should see videos of the better players and replicate them.

  • Percy_Fender on September 4, 2010, 4:51 GMT

    I was at the Kotla when Sanjay Manjrekar made his debut against West Indies,in 1987 which was a painful one for him courtesy Winston Benjamin. He was hit on the eye and took no further part in the match. He belongs as we all know to the Bombay school of cricket which meant adherence to technique and being proud of it. Having seen Sanjay's father Vijay play in the then Bombay of the 50s, I could see that Sanjay had indeed inherited the rich legacy of technical precision from his father. But where his Vijay Manjrekar was a superb player of the hook and the pull against the best fast bowlers, I have seldom seen Sanjay really play these shots. He was a fine player of fast bowling make no mistake but he tended to avoid these strokes.In fact Sanjay was probably the best player against the reverse swing that the two Ws used to generate.His career never really took off as expected because he could not make adjustments in his technique to play on the bouncy wickets of Australia, South Africa.

  • crazyuddie on September 4, 2010, 2:51 GMT

    @Mark00 I suppose Tendulkar's 6 centuries in Australia in test matches were also with bouncer restrictions.

  • on September 3, 2010, 23:46 GMT

    You're wrong mr alex. Inability o play the short ball is not the lack of strength. Its lack of reflex. That in turn is due to lack of better practice. That is due to lack of bouncier and better pitches in India but much more than that, lack of better bowlers.

  • kmgnath on September 3, 2010, 23:45 GMT

    Hello Sanjay- I have to ask one more thing regarding the selection in India, ... Is it good to send the under performing players to Domestic or NSA or MRF to either regain confidance or to rectify their techniqe, rather then shutting the doors on them after few chances.

    BCCI should act more professionaly, rathen than droping a player from the team, they should have a seperate STAGE called RECTIFY where each and every player who is under performing is send to rectify accordingly (FITNESS, TECHNIQUE, ATTITUDE,...) and bring them back quickly.

    This helps to bring the performing player in the Domestics into national team and send them back if they are not with ease.

  • on September 3, 2010, 23:10 GMT

    SM rohit is not a elegant batsman...why u comparing him with laxman...rohit sucks and shud be banned from playing any sport for lifetime!!!

  • BillyCC on September 3, 2010, 22:51 GMT

    Mark00, disagree with you on your point that Sachin and Sehwag are not complete batsman. I think Sachin is one of the most complete batsman in the world today. He looks comfortable against all deliveries even the short deliveries. By comfortable, I mean he doesn't consistently get out to certain types of deliveries and their scoring zones are well defined. Comfortable does not mean "beautiful to watch" or being able to score runs off every type of delivery. Sehwag is also complete, less so than Tendulkar but still a very complete batsman. He looks less comfortable than Tendulkar but that is his right as an opening batsman against the new ball when the bowlers are fresh, the ball is bouncing and moving and the pressure is at its highest. However, I do agree with your point that many other Indian batsman are not complete and struggle on pitches with true bounce. That is why Sanjay is suggesting that more work needs to be done for these batsman.

  • on September 3, 2010, 22:30 GMT

    Well How bout training sessions that concentrate on Playing the short Balls....I mean the weakness has been identified....so why not work on it........They are 11 men representing a billion people so you expect them to improve atleast a little bit.. But at the moment the short ball looks like the perfect plan for any oposition against india

  • Alexk400 on September 3, 2010, 21:55 GMT

    It is not just indians that do not play short ball. Bad way to put it. It is anyone who lacks arm strength and leg strength to hit the ball in quick speed. Change diet to meat. And hit the gym. It is so simple to play short ball if you are strong.

    Stop saying indians can't play short ball. Say it weak people can't play short ball. Say the truth like it is. You can solve all the problem easy!.

  • Jim1207 on September 3, 2010, 21:26 GMT

    @Mark00, so here comes someone to start the debate on Sachin and Sehwag's "inability" to play short balls! So do you mean that if a player could play short balls, he is a complete batsman? Legends would be able to score even if bowlers can bowl 6 bouncers an over, that's why they are so. If that's their weakness, any bowler could have taken Sachin's wicket in a match after bowling one short ball in each of 6 or 12 overs and Sachin would have never scored a century with that "weakness". Taking your argument, we can say that if Ponting had played only in India (turning or "flat" tracks as called by many) all the time, he would have never reached an average of 25 for all his career, which would not be true. So please stop bringing ill-advised reasons to remark that Sachin or Sehwag were legends only because of restrictions on bowlers by ICC. I could not laugh any more, Thanks for the treat.

  • on September 3, 2010, 20:07 GMT

    I totally agree with SM on his comments on RS/DK/RK. All are talented cricketers. But they will have to work hard to be in the Indian team for long time. The time is not longer before the likes of Rahul, VVS, Sachin going to retire before that they should enter into world of cricket with confidence

  • Bang_La on September 3, 2010, 19:42 GMT

    @VipulPatki, why the youngsters should go to talk with SRT, VVSL, RD or Sunil Gavaskar? Do you think any of them believes that he is any less than any of the above? Rather, I have a feeling that all of them think they are far better because their market price is exponentially higher for billboards or tv ads than either of the ones I named :)

  • asokk on September 3, 2010, 19:29 GMT

    sir.....really u r correct. i'm thinking as per young players playing in odi matches are pathetic........we should now give chance to other players like ROBIN UTTHAPA,IRFAN PATHAN,YUSUF PATHAN,.......for the world cup 2011

  • vaks on September 3, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    @sbkalgi,I agree with ur points...........rohith is best among the other youngsters....he can hook,pull n his tech is better than other youngsters....but the problem is his attitude.....he has a very lazy attitude....he need to work on that....otherwise he's not gonna succeed in int cricket.....

  • wolf777 on September 3, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    Karthik has been given enough chances already. He is basically a front foot player who finds it hard to play short ball or when the ball starts swinging. I remember you saying in one interview that players get tags attached to their names such as in your days you were called 'Technically correct batsman'. Similarly, no matter how many chances Karthik gets, people will say that he has not been given enough chances. I would say 'enough already'. Give chances to more dependable batsmen instead of trying to 'invent' Karthik as an opener.

  • gandabhai on September 3, 2010, 17:45 GMT

    I always knew you were a very good reader of the game . How about using your knowledge to help team India more ?

  • spiscean2002 on September 3, 2010, 17:22 GMT

    RD is better equiped than any one else in Indian cricket against short pitched deliveries. He can hook, pull at his will on those deliveries and shown least discomfort playing those balls. How come Sanjay forgot RD while talking about pull, etc. Most of young generation is lacking of descipline what RD, SRT, VVS, AK, SG had adopted in their progress. Its hard work and only hard work can get any one on top, not the talent alone. Look at the fitness level of RD and SRT today, they are far better fit than Rohit, Yuv etc.

  • mohsin9975 on September 3, 2010, 17:21 GMT

    Sorry.In my previous comment i mentioned jadhav as the man in form.Actually it was rahane i was talking abt. And yes, enuf of ishant,rohit,karthik.Well said mr.manjrekar.I m a big fan of urs and also ian chappel for ur unbiased and to the point comments and analysis.My opine that the ranji players slog all their life to get recognised. and when they perform why do selectors prefer ipl showponies like rohit and karthik.Look at 1st class avg of pujara,mukund,rahane and that of rohit,kartik,raina and yuvraj(test avg) u wud be bound to think how these youngters r being wronged

  • Mark00 on September 3, 2010, 16:36 GMT

    It's about time someone of Manjrekar's stature stepped forward and admitted what has been obvious to many for a very long time. There isn't a single Indian batsmen in recent memory who could be termed a "complete batsman." Their best bet is to adapt their methods to prevent their weaknesses from turning into wickets. Given that bouncer restrictions and unrestricted body armor strongly favor Indian batsmen who are primarily front foot or forward-leaning players, it's no surprise that so many, from Tendulkar to Sehwag, have accumulated impressive records despite being incapable of scoring freely off short deliveries.

  • Bang_La on September 3, 2010, 16:35 GMT

    What concerns me, after the departure of the oldies, how India can have a team of 11 comprised of standard batsmen. In the last few years, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have already found quite a good numbers of good batsmen.

  • mohsin9975 on September 3, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    I think our selection policy is flawed.A player in (good domestic not ipl)form for 2 seasons shd be selected to show his repertoire of skills at least for 15 games.If he is not able to show his calibre in this period he is not good enough.I know people will argue saying sachin got his first 100 in his 79th odi,but nowadays u hav so much intl exposure that a 1st class player is already conditioned to play top class cricket on debut itself.Players like pujara,mukund,jadhav need to be picked now as they r inform.Look what happened to jaffer,muzumdar(no mumbai bias intended) when they wer not picked at their peak of form.Rohit,karthik,ishant had enuf chances to prove.Time to drop the axe

  • VipulPatki on September 3, 2010, 16:19 GMT

    I hope the Indian players read this article and indeed do approach Rahul, Sachin or yourself to discuss their technique at an extended length.

  • havocsat on September 3, 2010, 16:19 GMT

    good article... but i must say i truly feel for cheteshwar pujara... how much more does he have to perform in domestic cricket... there has to be some sort of fairness... he has to be given a chance in tests n allowed to fail if at all before age frustration n ipl slam bang play catches up n destroys his batting... None of these above mentioned players like kohli, sharma n karthik even look anywhere close to good test players... Rohit sharma says his idol is yuvraj singh... need one say any more... Where are we going to find the mental discipline, the attitude, the ability to stay away from the nightlife party scenes n not get carried away by the adulation that Sachin, rahul, vvs laxman have??? These youngsters have been systematically purged of talent by ipl and really nothing can be done about it... In 2 years after the great trio has retired i fear for our test side.India wd be a walkover test team n i if i were Dhoni i wd be a very worried man looking at whats left in the cupboard

  • PremZtalks on September 3, 2010, 15:58 GMT

    Sanjay's comments are good. But thoughts like these are also a reason for Indian team youngster's struggle. Are these youngsters don't ever know about these basic things? why do you expect a coach to say this? you could argue that a coach is paid so much...But that is the difference between a team like Australia and India. Swaugh/warne/Ponting/gavaskar/kapil/sachin...did they need a coach to spoon feed them.Years ago a cricketer is recognised by public only if he plays in the InternationalXI if not Ranji. But now they have IPL, CL, ICL, corporate trophy, INDIA 'A',under-19 WC and other county options to make there strong presence to the media world. To have a larger piece of pie they got to be attacking even if it comes good only once in a full moon they still could lay their claims on the larger pie.Solution: make the Ranji trophy the best domestic cricket trophy in INDIA. And force the best youngsters to go for INDIA 'A' tour and come good out of it to stake a claim in team INDIA.

  • on September 3, 2010, 15:50 GMT

    one possible way of hitting the short ball is the upper cut ................if the the bowler is a pace bowler..............if he is a medium pacer.........just get above the ball and whack it............virat kohli is a good talented cricketer but is not using his potential bt d other 2 r just wastin space in the team

  • KeenObserWhere on September 3, 2010, 15:39 GMT

    @re_sharat: Read the article thoroughly before commenting. Sanjay says "He has to learn to leave them alone, because he is not a square-cutter.". So when he says he is not a square-cutter why are you him to show an instance of a square cut? I am sure Sanjay Manjrekar played more test matches than you and he knows what he is talking. He is known world over for his technique. So how do you think the bowlers have their bunnies? The same thing does not have to mean the same thing!!!!

  • Dhanno on September 3, 2010, 15:25 GMT

    To Knowledge_eater : "because WHEN they are good they probably look better than almost every same age youngster from another country" -

    And that WHEN IS: When the pitches are the ones found in Kanpur, Pune, Ahmedabad (which are as dead as say Tinu Yohanan's cricket career!) and more of the flat track "varieties" served by India . When the bowling is like IPL, one good kid and 3 indian bowlers who were handpicked from some tv show (or they are already dead while playing on the above pitches, like Irfans&Munafs). This is the time when Kohli and Sharma and the ilk look uber confident and better than any other youngster. Its only a person with enough "knowledge" knows how better/useful/skillful a trott, a morgan, a hughes is!

  • raopreetam on September 3, 2010, 15:18 GMT

    Excellent article, but what i dont understand is, why dont these legends of indian cricketers spend some time, go to the nets where these young guys are practicing, and actually rectify their mistakes. I see commentators making so many comments on the technique of a batsmen or bowler, but how often, are these faults conveyed to the players and made sure they are rectified. how difficult is it to identify a mistake and rectifying the mistake. Thank you very much for this article, but will these players who have been mentioned in the article, will they read this article, and make changes accordingly. do these players need one coach and not everyone telling them what to do and what not to, or should they listen to every expert? these are all the questions that pop up into my mind time and agian. Well as far as i am concerned, i urge our experienced cricketers to spend some time and contribute to the better technique of this budding cricketers, before they are demoralized further.

  • Nampally on September 3, 2010, 15:01 GMT

    Good analyses Sanjay. In my past few comments to various write ups I have been mentioning that the failure of the middle order is due to incorrect batting technique- Not getting behind the ball due to faulty footwork.Yuvraj is the worst culprit but You omitted him.The photo of Rohit with both feet in the air like a ballet dancer & playing the ball well away from his body is a Stern "No-No".I am surprised you called Rohit a technically correct bat. Rohit, Kohli, Yuvraj & Raina have immense talent but they need to work on their fundamentals - the footwork If you see the "greats" from the past - Merchant, Hazare, etc and in more recent times Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Azhar, Sachin, Dravid & VVS, they all have proper footwork. Hence they succeeded even on bowler friendly wickets.If the bouncers are outside the off stump, the ball can be left alone - no need to pull the ball. Only hook the bouncers when they are playable & on or outside the legstump. Individual Coaching is the answer.

  • riskreddy on September 3, 2010, 14:54 GMT

    It is true that the young lot of Indian batsmen succumb to fast short pitched deliveries. The only way that can be rectified is by playing more cricket on fast bouncy wickets, even during regular practice. Most of the Indian batsmen get practise on lame batsmen friendly wickets, which make them natural strokemakers, but at the same time makes them strangers to the quick/short ball. Batsmen like Sehwag/Tendulkar have the eye, technique and the required bat speed to tackle the quickies/short deliveries. But batsmen like Kartik/Rohit/Raina/Virat who lack such likes can only acquire it through dedicated practise to similar deliveries on bowler friendly pitches.

  • kmgnath on September 3, 2010, 14:52 GMT

    Hey Sanjay- you hit the bulls eye. totally agree with you apart from rohit sharma. in case of Rohit Sharma, you might have missed one more point, his ATTITUDE and FITNESS, he has to work on that quickly. He feel he THE STAR. This happens when you are raised in the middle class in india suddenly see lots of money (IPL). He has to come out that sooner, for his better. Rohit Sharma only perform in IPL well, cause it is more of entertainment rather than competition. You might have noticed this in Champions League. None of the Indian teams reach the finals, I know it is too early to comment, but it is fact.

    Even though I am great cricket fan, I love to see all the sports grow equally well in India so everyone gets equal importance and funding. I have seen few people moving away from following cricket but there are lots of them(new generation) who started to follow this game. In cities many people stated with Soccer/tennis/NBA ect as their interest rather than cricket.

  • Arijit_in_TO on September 3, 2010, 14:39 GMT

    Kudos to Manjrekar in writing this piece.

    Anyone that is a casual observer will note the big drop off between the Old Guard --look at the batsmen on the Test team-- and the Young Guns --specifically those that have crashed out of the last two T20 tournaments. Given my bias to watching Tests --yes, I am a dinosaur in this world of meaningless ODI tournaments hold sway-- on tracks that create a true contest between bat and ball, I have to wonder how these kids will handle the rigours of real cricket without artificial field restrictions, powerplays and other related contraptions.

  • manasvi_lingam on September 3, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    Rohit Sharma is the most overhyped player I've seen in this team. He's the only batsman apart from Karthik who averages below 30. And Karthik is a wicketkeeper primarily whereas Rohit is supposed to be a batsman. I think he should be asked to go back to domestic cricket and play there for a while. Kohli has technical shortcomings and so does Raina. Raina at least seems to be working a little on it. However, there are other talented batsmen out there: Pujara, Mukund and Rahane.

  • knowledge_eater on September 3, 2010, 13:06 GMT

    Briliant, but I would have left out the secrete of short ball though hahaha anyways I am optimistic about these them, because when they are good they probably look better than almost every same age youngster from another country. I personally love playing pull shots though. They need to take out,"I am going to prove it to the world, I am good batsman mentality." I mean if they stop listening to media for once and listen to people like you, sit down, resolve that problem and when they come in the middle. They should look curious. Curious to find out how their batting has changed after fixing that problem. Curious but not afraid or not super confident cocky. They should be curious. Sachin always have been curious, Sehwag is very curious right now to find out "how much I can play". "Australian pullshots are like drives/flicks of Indians" Thats the best line. Peace.

  • ut4me87 on September 3, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    For some reasons Pujara never gets picked. It is about time he is given a chance. I think he is technically more correct than Raina or Sharma and will be useful in South Africa and England next year. But the worry is bowling - can we cure the injury problems of the senior bowlers before South Africa and England test series.

  • CouchCommo93 on September 3, 2010, 12:15 GMT

    Couldn't agree more with what Sanjay Manjrekar says here. The moral of the story is that the system for growing and cultivating players needs to change in India. For too long has it been sporadic periods of intense focus on particular players and roles. It destroyed Irfan Pathan, and is eating into the likes of Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma, Dinesh Karthik and other potentially brilliant players. There was a time when Ishant Sharma was possibly the best quick in the game. Not anymore. Reason? He hasn't been cultivated, from a very young age, into a rigorous and competitive system that forces young talents to learn the value of consistency and mental discipline. After 5 years in the Australian cricket system, even teenage team captains have learnt that consistency, commitment, and determination is EVERYTHING in cricket. Glenn McGrath, the greatest quick to grace the world stage, is the best role model for anyone who wants to be the best. India needs to train the youngest and make them excel

  • on September 3, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    I can understand... the negative points about all the three mentioned batsmen. But How funny, How can Sanjay M. can say all this. While commentating this guy always critises the Indians against Pakistanis. My opinion is... Sanjay M should mind and learn his ethics before he comments aboput any other cricketer.

  • on September 3, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    Instead of giving chances to Rohit Sharma, Jadeja and Karthik to improve their technique by playing in the national team and helping India lose matches... Its better if they play in domestic level to do so. Its better to have players like Uthappa, Pujara, Saurabh Tiwary, Ambati Rayudu or Shikhar Dhawan who we have seen playing shot deliveries nicely..

  • HostileJ on September 3, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    @RoyalG:I'v been to a batting academy where Gary Kirsten coached us (9 guys) for a week.Sanjay probably wrote this on the back of a chat with Gary cos the things that he says sounds exactly like what Gary taught us 3 years ago:He said 4 important things:The 1st and most important thing is to watch the ball .If you keep doing saying/whispering it then your mind blocks any other thoughts.The 2nd thing was how important leaving is in the longer version e.g2day/3day/etc. Bowlers dont like running up and bowling so that you can leave all day.leave enough and they will come straighter allowing the drives/ondrives/glances to come into play.3:the importance of 1s and 2s:you dont have to score boundaries to make runs.bowlers are allowed to bowl well..so yuv gotta survive on 1s and 2s sometimes.lastly,pick 4 scoring shots and stick to those.I can pull and cut but because of risk (and my technique) I try (really hard) to stick to driving/glancing/backfoot driving and sweeping (against spinners).

  • Arok on September 3, 2010, 11:22 GMT

    Good analysis and observance of individual players flaws. Let the mentioned players heed these cardinal advises. There are no perfect players, it took so many matches, adjustments, readers and senior players harsh comments for Sehwag to become an established player in the side. Yes, you are absolutely right, you need not score in a short delivery just give an impression that you are not uncomfortable; that will be good beginning. If we drop all these players and bring too many new players then will be start finding fault in those players and shout for a new bunch of players. Better the board can arrange for a special training for these players to rectify their techinques, they have come a long way and entered the national team, without talent they could have not reached so far.

  • on September 3, 2010, 11:20 GMT

    Very good comments from Sanjay but I believe short ball should not matter because the world cup is going to happen in Sub-Continents and we need to concentrate on our basics.Indian players should need to get back to a good form and rythm before the WC. IPL has helped foreign players to play the game that is required in sub-continents.We need to now concenrtrate and make sure that main players must be fit without any injuries.We need to concentrate more on a all rounder who can play a bit as No 7 batsman.Yusuf pathan or Jadeja should be considered as a No 7 bowling all-rounder.Dhoni has to make sure he always goes with 7 batsman and 4 bowlers.This statergy by Dada was very much successfull for us in 2003 WC.I hope winning the WC 2010 would be a great achievement for our batting legend Sachin.I believe we do have a great chance if we fire all cylinders.GOD BLESS OUR TEAM....JAI HOOOOOOOO...Go India Gooooo

  • Manoj76 on September 3, 2010, 11:17 GMT

    Very True Sanjay whole world now knows that Indians don't play short pitch deleveries very well. Its very True that we lose to many wickets because of this SPD unless and untill players start playing this delevieries comfortably the fast bowlers wont stop this.

    As per your suggestion it is not necessary to play the aggressive shots they can take singles on such deleiveries and send the signals to all FAST BOWLERS that they are very comfortable with such tactics.

    Sanjay we have many great players i.e. Sunny, Ravi Shastri, Kapil Dev, Amarnath, Vengsarkar and yourself who can analysis the problem the youngster are facing and help them to rectify the same. In fact BCCI should conduct workshops in which such great persons should be invited and correct all the defeciences of young talents.

    ROHIT SHARMA is such a great batsman and it is really delight to watch when he is in form. He should correct all his faults because if we have to win the WORLD CUP we need them.

  • Dishanstc on September 3, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    When Aravinda de Silva took the position of Coaching the U19 team and schools cricket in Sri Lanka the first thing he did was to switch school level cricket from being played in substandard pitches to mating pitch, that actually enhances the ability play your shots as the mating gets the ball to bounce a little bit more, I'm not saying that the Indian pitches are substandard but they are still to low in bounce like most subcontinent pitches, the way look at it only Gambhir can manage himself on any type of wicket( among the young crop)

  • on September 3, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    How did sanjay forget to mention dravid for playing short pitch deliveries. He is by far the most complete batsment to handle them in the indian team. I dont understand why was dravid not picked for the series. He should be the part of the world cup squard. Till date no one has won more matches (both test and one dayers for india) apart from dravid..........

    nice article sanjayyyyyyyyyy

  • mezrg on September 3, 2010, 11:03 GMT

    Super analysis by one of the most technically correct batsmen I have seen from India. Now I fear that these guys would learn these tricks and beat us :) !!

  • rtom on September 3, 2010, 10:49 GMT

    common.. very simple.. send all of them to play Ranji matches for atlest 4 seasons !! let them establsih in that with high scoring.. then they are suitable for international level. check the records of Dravid, ganguly and VVS. They all were scoring tonnes of runs before got selected to national sides. .

  • on September 3, 2010, 9:04 GMT

    I just hope that Dinesh,Rohit and Virat are listening to their Seniors. Sanjay's analysis should be taken seriously by the players.

  • sankar800 on September 3, 2010, 8:46 GMT

    Sehwag can do wonderful pull shots! Only very fast bouncers he avoid pull shots! Normal fast or medium pace bouncers he does pull shots!

  • vipin.chaudhary2325 on September 3, 2010, 8:45 GMT

    nice article.. covering not all but some good points about indian bench strength... Poor Karthik should be played as a Keeper, by watching Dhoni, everyone wants to see a batsman/keeper like him, but Karthik is keeper first den a batsman, neither he is a opener nor he should be played as a batsman only, he can be used as a reserve keeper, not as a opener, Rohit sharrma is great talent, but somehow he is unable to deliver in senior level, and may be one-day cricket is not for him, he is like dravid, and can be more useful in tests, kohli is the next poster boy in India, and he will definately end his carrier with 10000+ oneday runs with 40+ average dat for sure

  • evenflow_1990 on September 3, 2010, 8:33 GMT

    there is another solution. maybe they should learn to play the pull shot instead of coming up with more excuses to avoid it. the pull and hook are the best ways to tell the bowler whose boss.

  • ygkd on September 3, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    I would have to argue that there are indeed places where you do need to play a pull shot to impress someone, even if it shouldn't be the case. Just try being a young Australian batsman and not play the pullshot. I know Steve Waugh shelved the hook etc, but if you're not going to be in his class and you shelve the pull down under, don't expect to play top level Aussie cricket no matter how many other shots you have. It is repeatedly said here that Ponting is the benchmark - actually he's nowhere as good as he once was - but the expectation is that everybody should be like him. Personally, I find it a narrow-minded view. It is much more correct as is said in this article that the important thing is demonstrating comfort with short-pitched bowling. How you achieve that should be a mattter for each individual. One-size-fits-all coaching will only ever benefit some. This article recognises that individuality.

  • on September 3, 2010, 8:05 GMT

    The problem with most of the young Indian batsmen is not only they look uncomfortable against bouncers but short pitch bowling as well.The problem is chronic among the new lot as it can be inferred from the way Gambhir got out to Tait in the T-20 world cup.None of them come to good positions to execute the pull or hook.But most of them can take cue from Ganguly who only started playing the pull shot after 5-6 years in international cricket.But when are they going to work on their flaws?Kohli can improve a lot with his short selections but the guy with whom I am most disappointed is Rohit.He has no performances to speak of but is still making to the Indian team.I think selectors are making a mistake by not asking some of the senior Indian batsmen to vacate in a planned manner.I seriously believe Dravid has to go followed by Laxman and Tendulkar so that new players get their chances when there are some senior men around.

  • on September 3, 2010, 7:48 GMT

    Maybe Indian batsmen should play in the Sheffield Shield in Australia. That they need to get more time in the middle is but obvious. We have way too many players who sit on the bench thru entire series' and then play only the t20 games. They MUST play Ranji games and review+tweak their techniques regularly. And @jaanson - I'm sure the players have the will to read & learn. Lets not be so pessimistic so early into their careers. After all, even Sachin took 79 ODIs to get a 100. As for Harsha - he never claimed to be a cricketer. You need not be an international player to be a student and keen observer of the game.

  • royalg on September 3, 2010, 7:48 GMT

    brilliant article, like a batting manual for the youngsters, tell gary kirstein to teach these kids wat sanjay jus said. am baking kholi and sharma to shine big time if they learn there mistakes soon and rediscover the form they had, i wud luv to seee both these youngsters in TEST CRICKET more than ODI.

  • Psyc_s on September 3, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    It is nice to see Sanjay mentioning Sachin in a positive note after a long time...

  • dineshdutt on September 3, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    Very nice article... But who told you that sehwag doesn't play pull shot....If sehwag scores 15 fours 2-3 'd be pull for sure..... May not be in the square..... Tendulkar never stops playing a particular shot.... He's started playing a few shots more than the other ones...... Example of Dravid's Cut Shot was best of 'em all.... And the article is excellent ......

  • RaghuramanR on September 3, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    Indians always try to ape the British. Over-theorizing. Over-emphasis on 'coaching book' technique. Firstly all this should be over before a player plays even Ranji Trophy. The player should 'correct' his technique on his own and not follow 'others'. What may suit Sachin, may not Kohli. It is comical these days to see 'great students' of the game comment that Sehwag has good footwork and technique. The same Sehwag was given a loadful by Boycott, Gavaskar, Shastri and co, when he said that commentators are complicating things which seem pretty simple to him - 'see the ball, hit it' is what he says, works for him. Why meddle with him? Now that he has been successful, they are now saying tht Sehwg has a great technique and footwork. India will never improve with such 'advisors'.

  • on September 3, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    Rohit Sharma is a highly overrated player kept due to obvious pressure by Mumbai lobby. His only consistent performance has been his failures. Selectors and team management keep giving him chances so that at least one decent (read 30s to 40s) can keep him in the squad for next 10-15 matches. They dropped Jadeja (I am not a fan of Jadeja either but at least he as a batsman had been better in this series than Rohit. You dont like his bowling, dont bowl him!!!) and played him in final. Shikhar Dhawan has been finished without playing him when he was at his peak and murdering attacks in Ranji Trophy. I hope they dont do the same to Pujara. And if Sachin and Gambhir were unavailable, they should have picked Dravid. His work ethics would have done wonders for these "instant superstars." This series has not been an ideal preparation to say the least. Wake up Kris!!

  • cricconnossieur on September 3, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    Excellent commentary Sanjay. Always regarded you highly, none another than Sunil Gavaskar had rated as you as one of the finest batsman against pace bowling and you have the figures to prove. Mr. Jaanson clearly doesnt know his onions when he mocks at Harsha. Harsha is a decent cricketer himself having played for the Osmania Univ teams unlike Mr.Jaanson. Coming to Young Indian batsmen, wish u had commented on the other test hopefuls, Murali Vijay, Badrinath and Pujari.

  • on September 3, 2010, 7:16 GMT

    Hope that we will get a good team before world cup.

  • sonofchennai on September 3, 2010, 7:12 GMT

    The best medicine for all these lapses lies in the pitch prepraration for ranji and other domestic matches...Identify 10 grounds of which 5 must be bouncy and pacy. 3 must be spinner friendly, i wouldnt mind even if it is minefield andmatches end in 3 days, ranji matches are played for 4 days and with no results for most matches and last 2 grounds must be somewhere in gawhati or in dharmashala where there is enough wind and breeze for seam and swing...and send all these batsman for year or 2 to play domestic matches,,ofcourse it is too late with WC around the corner

  • thenkabail on September 3, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    ARTICLE MISSES BIG PICTURE: The bane of Indian cricket in searching for young talent is not finding the right candidates, but supporting the hopeless. That is what Sany has done here!!!. There is no point in giving Karthink more opportunities!!!. Please bring on Cheteswar Pujara. Pujara looks to me an ideal replacement for Dravid in 1 year or so. But get him now into Indian team. Rohit Sharma is an ideal replacement for Sachin in about a years time. he has dissapointed us lately, but as Sunjay mentions, his technique is right and now it is all about his mental fitness and physical fitness. Virat Kohli may be a candidate to replace Laxman. But one has to look at domestic circuit and see for new talent. Why not Mukund?. For heaven's sake, it is time to drop Raina. he is one lucky cricketer, who has repeatedly failed India in crucial games. What about Abhishek Nayar. he seems to me a talent encourage. So is Unadkat.

  • CricFan78 on September 3, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    Do I hint a Mumbai bias here with Sanjay not questioning Rohit's technique who has got LBW more times playing across the line to in dippers than Virat Kohli has.

  • on September 3, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    Good article Sanjay... Hope the players read it. Here's what I feel about these batsmen:

    One thing about Raina: I observe a swivel of the bat(closer to the vertical plane) when he tries to pull the short ball, which makes it difficult to get him a greater range for the trajectory of the ball, though he imparts a lavish elevation on the ball. His pull is effective in smaller grounds, but as you said he should try to be less aggressive and more sensible against short balls.

    Yeah, Virat's batting style resembles that of Dravid's, it's better if he tries to take a leaf out of The Wall's book and learn to adjust according to the length of the ball.

    Rohit has a very good technique(he's a bit tighter though) but I feel a lot of things go through his mind while batting. He has to do all 'necessary' thinking and nothing more to get scoring. I believe he's gonna be the spine of the middle order in future.

    Thank you for this analysis, Sanjay.

  • Gizza on September 3, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    Good stuff Sanj but ns_krishnan is right. The only way for the newer batsmen to improve is practise. This means they will inevitably struggle on the pitches in South Africa, England and Australia. But the Indians fan and selectors have to be patient. Even India's 90's and early 00's legends took at least two tours to get used to foreign conditions. Even Australia's batsmen took ages to get used to batting on the subcontinent. Doesn't matter even if you average 150 at home, batting away is always a tougher task. And the only way to become a better batsman away is experience.

  • on September 3, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    Rohit played above 50 ODIs, but he proved himself only one time in his career vs aus in sydny. india give lot of chances to youngsters like karthik, virat, rohit, and ishant. no one utilize their opportunities. only few of them using their opportunities like raina and dhoni. we will lost so many matches if we give chances to rohit or ishant or karthik.

  • on September 3, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    For some of your queries to Sanjay regarding why Kohli & Rohit getting across is considered their weakness at the moment:- The golden rule of batting on a lively surface is to watch the ball till late & play straight. The key to success is the ability to judge the length of the ball. All greats had this unique ability to judge the length perfectly & play accordingly. The ideal foot movement should be back&across and never just across. The risk in getting across pre-determinedly is that any late swing or seam would find the batsman falling over & a dead duck; he simply wont have any time to recover from that stance. Also, by getting across, he is limiting the range of shots that he could play at a ball. Even the likes of Md.Yousuf had this problem earlier, when Irfan got him plumb with the inswinger consistently. Comparatively, if the batsman's initial movement is back& across with heads still & eyes on the ball, he is open to playing all the shots at a lesser risk of being a dead duc

  • on September 3, 2010, 6:19 GMT

    Very good read and good points. They need to learn from likes of Fab four. BUT, when are these young batsmen playing with the likes of Dravid, Tendulkar and VVS? You learn watching your idol play and atleast spending time with them. Most of these batsmen do not make it to tests and tendulkar rarely plays in ODIs. They get to see a successful Sehwag all the time and they try to follow his footsteps - a very difficult task indeed.

  • BillyCC on September 3, 2010, 6:03 GMT

    Cont'd from my previous post, young batsman today should focus on improving their technique in the long form of the game, cut out the risky shots, and develop mentally. The three batsman highlighted in this article each seem to have poor techniques. And just look at Rohit Sharma's photo. What a great photo highlighting a terrible technique. The feet, the hands and the head are all in the wrong place. If the camerawork was any worse, the head would be blurry as it probably would be moving all over the place. I don't care if he was playing T20. You would never see a Tendulkar or a Kallis doing something like this.

  • Agni.anand on September 3, 2010, 5:50 GMT

    a good piece of noticing the minute technical glitches of these batsmen. I am sure Gary will take care of these things. to add to it , I'll say mental comfort and conditioning is more important. at the back of mind these batsmen need support of captain , coach , senior players & most importantly THE MEDIA. their mind should not be cluttered with all sorts of worries but with the sole focus on their game.. IF YOU SUPPORT THEM AT THEIR WORST THEN U DESERVE TO LOVE THEM AT THEIR BEST.

  • jaanson on September 3, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    without any doubt sanjay is one of the sharpest cricketing minds. his take on all the players mentioned in the article shows how he has studied them and his advice also is spot on especially to someone like rohit sharma. but do these youngsters have the will to read and learn something or are they so busy that they cant be bothered? when someone like sanjay talks and writes you listen for he talks with solid experience behind him unlike harsha who only talks about himself even though he hasnt held a bat in his life.

  • on September 3, 2010, 5:35 GMT

    "It's like when an Indian batsman sees a spinner bowl short" - It's a GIFT for ANY batsman, not just Indians. Poor example.

  • forzaps on September 3, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    Really enjoyed reading this. You didn't mention Karthik's square cut which I always thought was excellent. If he would stay in the crease and relaxed he would get more opportunities to use it. Quite a few years ago a couple of my friends said Rohit Sharma was the new Tendulkar and I argued he seemed more like the new VVS Laxman. However, I can't put my finger on it but he seems to be missing something that VVS has. Even though Rohit looks laid back I think he is not able to shut out all external stimuli and get into the zone like VVS has done so often. Also, I always thought Virat's technique was pretty good, I still hope he will get to play some tests and gain some diiscipline.

  • on September 3, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    Good one, Sanjay. Perhaps you may also want to add the head position of Karthik: his head position is not still while playing, especially when he moves down the track. It kind of reminds me of Javagal Srinath's famous 'dance & slog'. Raina seems to be working hard on his technique, especially against short-pitched balls. There was visible change in his stance & some noticeable change in his shaping upto playing the short stuff, in Dambulla. Just get the feeling that he can improve with more practise & more so, confidence: but that can come from playing out more of those stuff out there in a real match scenario. You are right, Rohit looks like VVS-2. He is the best equipped among the lot to handle pace. Needs to work on his attitude & temperament than technique. Kohli, like Raina has a good attitude but need to work hard at his game & who knows, he might emerge the most successful among the lot: he already holds the record for being the fastest to 1000 runs in ODIs for India.

  • re_sharat on September 3, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    Sanjay ji please explain 2 things --> Why for Rohit Sharma "The front foot goes across as a natural defence; you are basically trying to cover yourself up." And for Virat Kohli "Whatever the length of the ball, the position of his feet is the same. He gets into a sort of criss-cross position, where the front foot is across from the back foot - and not well down the pitch, as it should be. "

    When we look at both the players why the same thing for Rohit Sharma is a natural defence and for Virat Kohli it is a lapse in technique ?

    And also please explain Why Rohit Sharma who has been treated as cuurent young player with best technique has not yet scored a single boundary by an elegent square cut, as it used to come from bat of Gundappa Vishy or from Rahul Dravid. If you have seen any of such square cut from Rohit Sharma, please give me an instance.

  • rjPrz on September 3, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    Every one comes as Next Sachin(eg, Rohith Sharma),

  • daark_child on September 3, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    great article sanjay.!! I remember Rohit making his mark in australia in sydney. But he hasnt been able to convert that into big hundreds. But still feel he is technically very sound. He needs to spend more time in the middle. And yea Dinesh karthik is bit unlucky. Facing the new ball odi's is bit difficult when the ball is moving off the seam.

  • Abhishek_Singla on September 3, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    Hope that three of the above youngsters read your article and get some benefit :) :)

  • ns_krishnan on September 3, 2010, 4:39 GMT

    Nice article Sanjay. But you have missed one thing I feel. These guys need to spend time out in the middle. About 2 or 3 domestic games ( 4 or 5 day ) would do them a lot of godd. But, how are they going to get it with this cramped schedule ?

  • on September 3, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    thanks sanjay bhayya. was interesting to read this article.

  • BillyCC on September 3, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    Excellent article Sanjay. The cross bat shots look great on TV, but you don't have to play them to be a successful batman. The key is being comfortable with the short ball as you point out in the article. I am predicting that the growing popularity of T20 cricket leads to a deteoriation in batting technique and especially batting concentration. As a result, in the next decade, I believe you will see a higher percentage of soft dismissals. Bowlers who can learn to be miserly and wait for the right moment to bowl the right delivery may well be the prototype for a successful test bowling lineup.

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  • BillyCC on September 3, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    Excellent article Sanjay. The cross bat shots look great on TV, but you don't have to play them to be a successful batman. The key is being comfortable with the short ball as you point out in the article. I am predicting that the growing popularity of T20 cricket leads to a deteoriation in batting technique and especially batting concentration. As a result, in the next decade, I believe you will see a higher percentage of soft dismissals. Bowlers who can learn to be miserly and wait for the right moment to bowl the right delivery may well be the prototype for a successful test bowling lineup.

  • on September 3, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    thanks sanjay bhayya. was interesting to read this article.

  • ns_krishnan on September 3, 2010, 4:39 GMT

    Nice article Sanjay. But you have missed one thing I feel. These guys need to spend time out in the middle. About 2 or 3 domestic games ( 4 or 5 day ) would do them a lot of godd. But, how are they going to get it with this cramped schedule ?

  • Abhishek_Singla on September 3, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    Hope that three of the above youngsters read your article and get some benefit :) :)

  • daark_child on September 3, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    great article sanjay.!! I remember Rohit making his mark in australia in sydney. But he hasnt been able to convert that into big hundreds. But still feel he is technically very sound. He needs to spend more time in the middle. And yea Dinesh karthik is bit unlucky. Facing the new ball odi's is bit difficult when the ball is moving off the seam.

  • rjPrz on September 3, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    Every one comes as Next Sachin(eg, Rohith Sharma),

  • re_sharat on September 3, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    Sanjay ji please explain 2 things --> Why for Rohit Sharma "The front foot goes across as a natural defence; you are basically trying to cover yourself up." And for Virat Kohli "Whatever the length of the ball, the position of his feet is the same. He gets into a sort of criss-cross position, where the front foot is across from the back foot - and not well down the pitch, as it should be. "

    When we look at both the players why the same thing for Rohit Sharma is a natural defence and for Virat Kohli it is a lapse in technique ?

    And also please explain Why Rohit Sharma who has been treated as cuurent young player with best technique has not yet scored a single boundary by an elegent square cut, as it used to come from bat of Gundappa Vishy or from Rahul Dravid. If you have seen any of such square cut from Rohit Sharma, please give me an instance.

  • on September 3, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    Good one, Sanjay. Perhaps you may also want to add the head position of Karthik: his head position is not still while playing, especially when he moves down the track. It kind of reminds me of Javagal Srinath's famous 'dance & slog'. Raina seems to be working hard on his technique, especially against short-pitched balls. There was visible change in his stance & some noticeable change in his shaping upto playing the short stuff, in Dambulla. Just get the feeling that he can improve with more practise & more so, confidence: but that can come from playing out more of those stuff out there in a real match scenario. You are right, Rohit looks like VVS-2. He is the best equipped among the lot to handle pace. Needs to work on his attitude & temperament than technique. Kohli, like Raina has a good attitude but need to work hard at his game & who knows, he might emerge the most successful among the lot: he already holds the record for being the fastest to 1000 runs in ODIs for India.

  • forzaps on September 3, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    Really enjoyed reading this. You didn't mention Karthik's square cut which I always thought was excellent. If he would stay in the crease and relaxed he would get more opportunities to use it. Quite a few years ago a couple of my friends said Rohit Sharma was the new Tendulkar and I argued he seemed more like the new VVS Laxman. However, I can't put my finger on it but he seems to be missing something that VVS has. Even though Rohit looks laid back I think he is not able to shut out all external stimuli and get into the zone like VVS has done so often. Also, I always thought Virat's technique was pretty good, I still hope he will get to play some tests and gain some diiscipline.

  • on September 3, 2010, 5:35 GMT

    "It's like when an Indian batsman sees a spinner bowl short" - It's a GIFT for ANY batsman, not just Indians. Poor example.