Sunday, June 19, 2011

Gadgetry Overload

Sports is one thing that keeps changing with time. No matter what sports you see, overtime it has become faster, quicker and much more watchable. The good old days have gone, the new age style meets substance is in. Take for example football. In the old days it were played on muddy grounds with natural grass, many times which slowed down the ball and during rains slowed down the players. Shots were unpredictable, and many times tricked even the best of the goal-keepers. But overtime if we see all that has changed, with the latest turfs that are smooth as hell it seems players are playing on a giant billiards table rather than a football field. Shots have become faster, with modern technology balls have become lighter and more vicious. Players now can impart hair pin bends,curves, dips to the innocent football. Really its time we called it swerve ball. Also the speed of the game has picked up drastically. Computerized strategies, video tapes have all added to the sharpness of the game played between the posts. 

Likewise if we see all other games have similar conditions. Whether its cricket, a 300 plus score is no longer safe. Quality pieces of willow where even edges can go for a six have murdered the bowlers. With batsmen too being studied through the microscopic lens, it has become imperative for teams to constantly reinvent and innovate style.

However that is not the point of this post. The one thing that has not changed over the years is Test Cricket. Though the pitches have become flatter, more information is available about opposition still the essence of Test Cricket has never changed. You still have to guts it out. Stroke making with bigger bats is no use in the first hour of a decent pitch. This has been reinforced with the ongoing series between England and Sri Lanka. Quality pitches by the English have proven that Sri Lanka which dominated the English in the world cup still doesn't have the technique to hold fort the English bowlers. They had been finished in under 25 overs in the final day and this is the World Cup semi finalist that I am talking about.

Coming back to Test Cricket you see nothing has changed. Fast bowlers are still rare and quality leg spinners rarer. Everybody wants to become the finger spinner who bowls off breaks which do not turn. If we see today the only "Fast" bowler that we have today in Dale Steyn who can really clock it up with deadly swing and accuracy. His post lunch 15 overs to Sachin and Co will be remembered where he was not nearly but completely unplayable. We have few quality off-spinners around like "Harbhajan on a good day where he understands that he is there to bowl and take wickets and not there to do a Yusuf Pathan", Saeed Ajmal a truly world class chucker, whose doosra turns like a leg spin, but his arm is bent over 90 degrees. So that leaves us with only Graeme Swann with his quality thought processed off spin. There is a method to his off spin bowling,something which has been lacking in all his contemporaries. 

Leg spin is dead. And I thank Shane Warne for providing us glimpses of the dying art in the recently concluded IPL. So unless Steve Smith is mutated, I don't think we are going to see leg spin for a long time. 
Special thanks to Daniel Vettori to establish that left arm spin is an art that can trouble even the best and not something to be tonked by coming down the ground.
Thanks again to VVS Laxman to show the world that wrist can also be used to create breathtaking strokes and not just bowl leg breaks.

I think the main reason why Test Cricket has not changed is because it has a great deal of mental aspect to it. Its all in the mind rather than in your technique. Yes you need solid technique to play it but an even better temperament to conquer it. And that sadly is a rarity. Anyone can flay bowlers for two overs on a flat batting track with no nothing. But only a few can stay there under immense pressure on  a cracking wicket, when the lead is more than 500.

The point I want to make is that if people say that cricket might not require a great deal of physical stamina but it does require a mental makeup of that of a chessman.


3 comments:

  1. Vigorously nodding my head in agreement.

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  2. Yeah totally agree wat u say :) 5 days of cricket and then a possible chance of a result is something too hard for the impatient generation:)

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