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100 not out

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Article by pro's
« on: March 24, 2011, 09:25:20 AM »

i Thought it would be a good idea to take bits of articles and post here to aid with learning and coaching. here is one by Martin Crowe, taken from Cricinfo. If this opens up a can of worms re: copyright etc. Then Admin can delete the topic. I think its a way of learning, by listen to the pro's
who do it day in day out.

What is the first thing you look for when you are watching a batsman?
His eye and head position, his ability to stay balanced and therefore move off both feet, and the ability to play late - see the ball early and play it late. It's not easy to allow the ball to come all the way to you and hit it at the last second as opposed to going hard at the ball. You have to do that - go hard - sometimes when you want to hit the ball in the air. But I would say head position, footwork, balance and playing late are the key.
What exactly does it mean, playing late and having extra time?
The greatest skill you have as a batsman is the ability to see the ball out of the hand. Once you do that, you have created time and are gathering information instinctively, processing it and making a decision on what to do. If you see it early, you have time, but if you see it late, you tend to play it early because you are searching for the ball. You are not decisive. This differentiates a very good player from a not-so-good player.
Can this ability be developed?
It's a skill you've got to learn. A player in bad form is not picking the ball out of the hand. That is the first priority as a batsman: to see the ball from the hand, see it early. With different bowlers with different actions, at the moment of release. You've got to do your homework when you are facing new bowlers.
How much of it is pre-determined?
Any player who pre-determines is asking for trouble. Batting has to be an instinctive reaction after you pick the ball early. You should have a number of different options, particularly in a game where you are looking to score quickly, but if you have predetermined your shot, you are unlikely to pull it off.
Who are the best batsmen you've seen when it comes to picking up the ball early?
The two best I saw were Greg Chappell - he was a stylist - and Viv Richards - he was a powerhouse. They had wonderful strengths and powers of concentration and belief.
There were players that I liked to watch - David Gower, Mark Waugh. These were the players who just stroked the ball, but were not necessarily so successful. Sometimes they would come across as a bit lazy, perhaps, but they just had a style that was nice to watch.
What would you tell a young batsman who wants to handle the fear of pace?
I used a lot of affirmations. Obviously visualisation and preparation were vital to me when I tried and walk out to the middle feeling that I belonged. Then, when I was out there, because I had lots of negative thoughts, like lots of players do, my only way to deal with was use positive affirmations, and I would keep repeating those.
How does that work?
I developed a routine where I would go towards square leg, stand there, switch off and control my breathing. I sort of stayed in the "now" by rubbing my back or just focusing on my breathing, and I would go, "This ball, this ball, this ball, this ball." Then, "Soft hands, soft hands, soft hands," as I took my stance. Then I would look at the bowler and go, "Watch the ball, watch the ball, watch the ball." Those were my three affirmations. The softer and the slower I spoke, the more relaxed I was. I used the affirmations so that no other thought could get in. And that's how I controlled my concentration and my ability to see the ball.
Can you tell us a bit more about how a batsman gets into the "now", the zone?
It's a matter of form, belief and preparation. You are always preparing for the next innings or the next Test match or the next series. Everything you do in your life, you are preparing for the rest of your life.
I did a lot of visualisation, and I worked very hard in the nets. I gave myself a reason to feel confident that I could succeed against any bowler and any country. It became easier if I could sense that in a team environment we were playing well. The 1992 World Cup was one example. I saw the team respond well to my captaincy, and so it became easier to get into the zone. Once, in 1994, I was in bed for three weeks with flu and all I did was visualise. When I went out to bat after that I was in the zone!
How often were you in the zone?
It didn't happen too frequently. I became a very conscientious batsman, very technical-minded. I had too much fear built in early on. If I had been picked at 22 [instead of at 19], it might have been a whole different career. In fact, from the age of 22 to 32 I averaged 54. But I had had such a bad start, and ended up having such a poor finish. Thirteen Test matches with just one hundred was very hard for me to put aside. If I were playing for Australia and at No. 5, it would have been a whole different game. But that's all hypothetical. I am a New Zealander, and you feel the pressure in some ways like an Indian would here, because you are in a small village.
How did you approach playing spin?
For any young guy, particularly when you are in a medium-pace country like New Zealand, facing spin is an ongoing art. County cricket helped me with that. Facing John Emburey, Phil Edmonds, Derek Underwood, all the wonderful county pros in the eighties, helped. I was playing spin every day.
I would use my feet a lot, going down the wicket to the pitch of the delivery. I used to then try and force them to bowl short, and I would pull and cut a lot. Against legspinners I wouldn't go down the wicket so much because they had the ability to turn it away a lot more, and so I would tend to pull and cut.
Did you make any technical adjustments while playing spin?
I would open my up stance a lot. I felt that the idea of staying side-on was ridiculous against spin. If you watched Javed Miandad, he was the best at it. I copied his stance when it came to playing against spin. Not as much as [Shivnarine] Chanderpaul, but a lot more than what I would do against the quicks.
How exactly did that help?
I didn't worry about my back foot being square. Because you are not looking to go on the back foot to defend and have a strong base. What you are basically doing is making sure that the body is not going to come in the way of hitting the ball. So you are defending in front of you. It's really head and hands; you don't have to go around your front pad.
This was for both legspin and offspin?
Everything. But I never really rated the offspinners. They just came into the hitting zone, which was leg side for me. Watching Miandad bat was the best education I got in playing spin.
Was there a routine you had before you went out to bat?
No, I would just try to relax. My philosophy was to get to the middle quickly. Greg Chappell told me to have very strong body language. I would loosen up my shoulders a bit. I would feel tall and lift my height up, and I wouldn't show any sort of tentativeness. So I would walk out basically saying, "I am ready." Even if you are not feeling it, you can talk yourself into it. Ideally, you are going out there with a genuine feeling of "I will score runs, and send a message across to the opposition."
For example, with Mushtaq Ahmed in the 1992 World Cup, I got in his eyeline and suggested with my body language that he was bowling to someone with a big reputation. It's not an ego thing, it's kind of making aware yourself that it's going be him versus me for the next half an hour.
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mattw

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Re: Article by pro's
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2011, 09:41:08 AM »

Good read, cheers for posting.
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Buzz

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Re: Article by pro's
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2011, 01:20:08 PM »

I love all this kind of thing. On Cricinfo Aakash Chopra has written loads of really good articles - some of which I have pasted in here - in the playing Swing and Playing Spin threads especially.
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"Bradman didn't used to have any trigger movements or anything like that. He turned batting into a subconscious act" Tony Shillinglaw

100 not out

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Re: Article by pro's
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2011, 01:56:19 PM »

Buzz. . .could these be collated into a read only (or locked thread)

i think it would be of benefit to forum users. can u raise it amongst the mods/admin .
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Buzz

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Re: Article by pro's
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2011, 02:03:43 PM »

Alternatively we can post the links and have it as an open thread.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/author.html?author=276.
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"Bradman didn't used to have any trigger movements or anything like that. He turned batting into a subconscious act" Tony Shillinglaw

Buzz

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Re: Article by pro's
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2011, 12:32:12 PM »

Here is a good interview with Big Jesse Ryder - who is someone i think is pretty talented - he also has a very simple technique and one for left handers to look at closely (especially if you are of an "athletic build")

http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/507818.html
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"Bradman didn't used to have any trigger movements or anything like that. He turned batting into a subconscious act" Tony Shillinglaw

Simmy

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Re: Article by pro's
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2011, 12:48:44 PM »

decent read cheers dude!

i am going to study this guy! as he is a bit porky and bit of a banger lol like me lol
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Ryan

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Re: Article by pro's
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2011, 12:57:18 PM »

Amen to that!  :D
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Re: Article by pro's
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2011, 12:35:13 PM »

Ok for those of you who don't know, Aakash Chopra is one of my favourite cricket writers at the moment. Here he has written another really good piece, this time on Choking and Panicing...
http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/508868.html

p.s. I love the comment "When thinking goes deep, decisions go weak"
South Africa's capitulation against New Zealand has brought the c-word out again. Nothing seems to have changed for them in big tournaments ever since they came back to international cricket after the apartheid era. They have always had the arsenal to go all the way and yet have fallen short, always in the knock-out stages. Not a single win in knock-out games in a World Cup is a record they'd give both their arms and legs to change.

While their record cannot be contested, whether they choked or not against New Zealand can be debated. There's a fundamental difference between choking and panicking, which the writer Malcolm Gladwell explains quite proficiently. While Gladwell talks in the context of tennis, his theory explains choking in cricket too.

What happened to South Africa against New Zealand in Mirpur was a bad case of panic, though it was conveniently considered a choke. So what exactly is choking and how is it different from panicking?

The fundamental difference is that while you think too much when you choke, you think too little when you panic. While choking, you want to delay the inevitable, but when you panic you want to get over with it as soon as possible, for you can't bear the growing pressure.

Choking

You play safe You may finish 30 runs short of the target if the opposition bowls really well and you lose all your wickets in the bargain. On the other hand, if you get to the 50th over needing 40 runs with five wickets in the hut, that's more of a problem. Some may call it a miscalculation but it really comes down to the mindset: to play safe for as long as possible.

South Africa have done this more times than any other team. Remember the tied game against Australia, when Allan Donald was run out? The match would have finished much earlier had Kallis and Co. not allowed Mark Waugh to bowl a lot of overs in the middle.

Chasing a target is a lot about identifying threats and weak links in the opposition and then treading with caution against potential threats while going after the weak links. Playing in safe mode can take you only so far; you must change gears at some point.

You don't take calculated risks Yuvraj Singh could easily have dabbed the ball towards third man instead of going over the point fielder against Brett Lee in the quarter-final in Ahmedabad. Going aerial may look dicey to some but it is extremely important to take calculated risks when you're playing strong opposition. If you wait forever for things to happen, chances are you won't be there when they do. When you refuse to take these calculated risks, you run the risk of digging a hole for the team, i.e. choking.
 
Chasing a target is a lot about identifying threats and weak links in the opposition and then treading with caution against potential threats while going after the weak links. Playing in safe mode can take you only so far; you must change gears at some point 
 
You think too much "When thinking goes deep, decisions go weak" is an old saying and it describes choking perfectly. Sport is more about instinct than intellect. Intellect is the primary requirement while planning but once the game starts, instinct must take over. You are more likely to succeed when you react, not over-think, for there's hardly any time to think too much.

When you over-think, you tend to think about how things can go wrong, and so you stop trusting your instincts. When you think before every step you take, you end up walking too slow. If you keep thinking about the possibility of getting stumped, you will never be able to go down the track.

Playing an aggressive shot is, most times, about backing yourself and trusting your instincts to go through with it. But the fear of what may happen if the shot is mistimed, or the ball bounces a bit more or less than expected, can result in a defensive prod. This is choking at a micro level.

I've also found that teams and individuals who are more inclined to technique than flair are more likely to choke. Their strategic and technical know-how tell them to play it safe. On the contrary, people who have a healthy mix of technique with flair - say, Pakistan - are less likely to choke.

Panic


You commit hara-kiri Panic is, in fact, the exact opposite of choking. If you play it too safe for too long when you choke, you self-destruct in fast-forward when you panic. What happened to South Africa in Mirpur was a straightforward case of panicking. There were no demons in the track and the New Zealand attack wasn't all that formidable. South Africa were cruising at 108 for 2 at the halfway stage but once they lost a couple of wickets, panic set in. When you start trying to take non-existent singles (the AB de Villiers run-out), start manufacturing shots when you only need to play percentage cricket (JP Duminy's dismissal), play reckless shots despite having a set batsman at the other end (Dale Steyn's and Robin Peterson's dismissals), it's a sign the team has lost it.

You abandon rational thought You think too much while choking and too little when you panic. You may need to score a run a ball, but somehow it feels a lot more than that. A couple of dot balls are followed up by a high-risk shot to ease the pressure. When you panic you tend to overestimate the pressure. A run a ball, with wickets in hand, is like walking in the park on most days, but not when you're panicking. Rational thinking deserts you the moment you panic.

Why did Bangladesh play silly shots when wickets were tumbling all around them against South Africa? It's common sense that if you're four down for not many, you must drop anchor, but they did exactly the opposite and tried playing ambitious shots. A six or a four can't win you the game, but you don't think along those lines when you panic.

Fear takes hold When you choke, you fear making mistakes, and subsequently you fail. When you panic, it is the prospect of failure that you fear, which leads to committing mistakes. The fear of failure cripples you so much that you self-destruct and bring about the failure you fear.

Panic has a domino effect. It is like an epidemic that spreads through the team, while choking can be restricted to a couple of batsmen in the middle. Once panic sets in, it's quite apparent and visible to everyone, including the players in question, but choking goes unnoticed till the eventual calamity is at the door.

If I may draw an analogy from tennis: when a player chokes, he keeps hitting safe shots, bang in the middle of the court, ensuring they miss the net and are well inside the baseline, hoping the opponent will make a mistake. When the same player panics, he goes for non-existing winners, resulting in enforced errors.

The outcomes of choking and panicking may be the same but both are different from each other. So the next time you see a team lay down their arms, it might be worth looking closely to see if they have choked or panicked under pressure.
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"Bradman didn't used to have any trigger movements or anything like that. He turned batting into a subconscious act" Tony Shillinglaw
 

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