Hitting across the line!

Three Indian batsmen got out hitting across the line. I am reminded of the old adage that Neville Cardus used to write about “No square cuts before lunch!” That was the advice given to young Yorkshire batsmen who aspired to get into the Yorkshire team, let alone the England team! Of course times have changed a lot and batsmen have completely changed the way test cricket is played. Still patience is needed at times by batsmen and discretion is an important attribute that gets ignored. A bowling team like Bangladesh gives you many more lose balls than say Australia or South Africa. So if a batsmen is more discrete he gets more opportunities to score boundaries. Dravid, a stonewaller by repuation, scored 11 boundaries in his knock.

Coming to my point, the first to hit across the line was Dinesh Karthik. The score was 124 and the match is just 31 overs old. The ball is pitched outside the off stump and Karthik goes for an ambitious pull and gets out caught at mid off. Surely did the situation warrant such a shot? Yet Karthik “is an honourable man!” Next the Prince of Kolkata. Just completed a hundred with an abysmal flinch off a short ball. Immediately goes for the shot that had actually come off a few times in that knock and gets caught at mid off. Yet Ganguly “is an honourable man!” Finally the great man goes the same way hitting completely across a wide short pitched delivery to get caught at cover! Of all places! Yet Sachin “is an honourable man and so are they all honourable men!”

Accelerating is necessary but it has to be done with some amount of discretion. There were times when GR Visvanath could pound the third man fence with two gullies, a point and a third man. Today batsmen prefer the vacant onside as a better option. But are they quick onto the shot? Do they have enough power to belt it across? Is the ball close to the stumps to warrant such shots? Or is it ok if you’ve scored a fifty or hundred and can afford to take that chance! While Ganguly and Tendulkar atleast had done a big job in consolidating the innings Karthik should be just that little bit more patient. Even Ganguly and Tendulkar play the cut shot so well that they are better off backing themselves against such wide balls outside the off stump. Just a thought!

– Sanjay


3 responses to “Hitting across the line!

  1. Srikanth Mangalam

    I do not think that Indians have historically been quick on the pull shot. Kapil Dev is one that comes to mind as being an exception. Dravid played them reasonably well early in his career. The Aussies, specially Ponting, are champions of that stroke. Tendulkar actually did play them well for a brief period, more so in the one day format. Anyways, the point I was making is that I do not think there could be any excuse for either one of them to play that stroke. It is a low percentage shot for the Indians and, in my opinion, only demonstrates loss of concentration and nothing else.

  2. Well, if they do not get on top of that stroke (literally and figuritively) the Indians will have a tough time of it on the bouncy pitches of Australia later this year — and early next year. When Team India was here last, Dravid and Laxman played this stroke really well. Tendulkar put most strokes away and apart from Brisbane, Ganguly looked ungainly playing the pull stroke. To their credit, the team as a whole, however, did get on top of Brett Lee in that series.

  3. If you can’t play the pull, cut it (out), I say… 😉

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