Don’t disregard technique!

Reverting to relying more on technique will definitely make the extremely talented cricketers of today provide great entertainment. The modern-day cricketers have the speed, agility and strength in great measure and if they can integrate technique into their set-up, it will be difficult for the spectators to stay away from either the venues or the television sets.

AB de Villiers... modern day star.   -  Getty Images

It was interesting to listen to former legends discuss if Viv Richards would have played strokes like AB de Villiers does using the 360 degrees of a cricket field if he were to be playing currently. The main point of discussion was whether Richards would have used the helmet or not. While Botham reckoned Richards would have, Holding was in no doubt that his former West Indies teammate would not have used the headgear. However, the underlying factor was the surreal ability of Viv Richards that was discussed during their commentary stint.

Whether Richards would have jumped on the improvisation bandwagon is debatable, but one has to realise that he more or less played cricketing shots to dominate the bowlers. His strike rate was healthier than the rest and the irony was that some suspected that Richards was perhaps not conventional in his technique! Be that as it may, one has to say that his technique was as conventional as his mindset was unique. Given the way Test matches are being completed well before they get into the fourth day, the need of the hour is to analyse if the technique employed in modern-day cricket is appropriate. The “power” factor has taken over the minds of the modern-day cricketers by and large due to a plethora of shorter-format matches played in a year. The power factor has snuck in slowly and surely to perhaps overshadow the technique that is required for the modern-day cricketers to succeed in all conditions. The ability is not short by any means, but it is getting to a point where the reasons for the early conclusion of Test matches are incomprehensible. Even today, the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Kane Williamson and Joe Root, to name a few, have succeeded in all formats with technique being their strongest suit. Perhaps they are not viewed as the glamour boys for not sending the ball out of the park frequently enough as some others do, but that has not deterred them from making a statement time and again with their conventional approach.

The South Africans were not too happy with the behaviour of the pitches in India, but seeing them collapse on home soil does give a lot of food for thought. One wonders if pitches would have been discussed as much if the Indian batsmen were to put up bigger totals than they did against South Africa. However, there is no denying the fact that technical chinks are not enabling batsmen to convert their potential into top performance. Yes, the crucial element of form has to be taken into consideration, but the modes of dismissals indicate that form is not the issue.

The time has come for embracing the changes that have come into cricket without disregarding the tested and proven methods that churned out quality cricket. One has to move with the times, but despite the welcome changes, the core aspects have to be integral parts in the package that make an international cricketer. The charm of cricket is in seeing well-fought duels time and again which used to be the case in the past. But unfortunately the spectators don’t get to see such enthralling sub-contests within a main contest these days. The point I am trying to make is that reverting to relying more on technique will definitely make the extremely talented cricketers of today provide great entertainment.

The modern-day cricketers have the speed, agility and strength in great measure and if they can integrate technique into their set-up, it will be difficult for the spectators to stay away from either the venues or the television sets. The danger lies in overlooking technique as archaic because it is not perceived as the most glamorous of things in cricket.