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England mantra: Stoop to conquer

Remember Rahul Dravid taking a few nasty hits from Stuart Broad on the knuckles while batting during India's tour of England? Well, going by England's think tank on this tour, there were things they learnt from that and will implement when they take on India in the five-match one-day series beginning here on Friday. Nilankur Das reports.

cricket Updated: Oct 10, 2011 23:52 IST
Nilankur Das

Remember Rahul Dravid taking a few nasty hits from Stuart Broad on the knuckles while batting during India's tour of England? Well, going by England's think tank on this tour, there were things they learnt from that and will implement when they take on India in the five-match one-day series beginning here on Friday.

Batsmen from the subcontinent tend to play with a low grip and a wider stance, which help them time their shots better on slow and low turfs. The England support staff has analysed that, and during the nets on Monday the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott were seen standing with a much wider stance.

So, as surprising as England coming to India 10 days ahead of a one-day series might seem, they are obviously using the time to train for their upcoming tours of Dubai and Abu Dhabi (against Pakistan in January) and Sri Lanka (in March) as well. And these slight adjustments could turn out to be crucial to their success here.

“Yeah, we did speak about that in our batting meetings. Because the pitches here stay a bit lower we have got to work a way to adjust to that. All batsmen have their own style. But by taking a wider stance or holding the bat a bit lower could help us adjust better,” England all-rounder Ravi Bopara said.

“When the subcontinent players come to England you see a lot of them getting hit on the gloves which shows they grip the bat very low. We can learn of them by either keeping the hands low or by lowering your stance and work out a way. The best time to do that is during these warm-up matches and at the nets," he added.

Former India opener and Bengal coach WV Raman felt there was no hard and fast rule. “I don't think the grip makes much of a difference. Sachin Tendulkar has always played with the same low grip and has got runs everywhere,” he said.

“But a wider stance which makes a batsman stay lower could help on subcontinent wickets. But it’s again about individual adjustments. In any case, I feel it's easier for batsmen who have played on bouncy and fast conditions to adjust to a slower and lower wicket than the other way round.”

Former Mumbai coach Praveen Amre, who also batted with a wide stance , too felt it was up to the individuals to adjust. “But as a professional coach you have to give these inputs to players when playing away from home. Staying low definitely helps you to time the ball better in these conditions. It helps a batsman to find the sweet spot more often.”