Only the God of cricket could have made a daunting 200 look so effortless. Sachin isn’t one for the game of numbers; he is past that. On February 25, Tendulkar didn’t just break a record, he narrated cricket’s lost story. The double ton, perhaps, brought ‘technique’ back into the game.
You would assume that a certain amount of slogging is mandatory to score a double-century in 50 overs. But Sachin proved that it could be done playing good cricket. The reason why Sachin doesn’t need to slog is his impeccable technique.
Ironically, though, talking technique has almost become blasphemous in modern day cricket. No longer is it only about the number of runs you score, the strike-rate is equally important, if not more so, especially in the shorter formats. Perhaps, there is nothing wrong about thinking in terms of strike-rates, because that makes for entertaining cricket. Innovation is not an aberration anymore but a norm.
While most international cricketers are capable of changing gears and adapting to new demands, a whole crop of youngsters trying to break into their respective state under-16, under-19 teams are not. To a young mind, the easiest way to score quickly is to take the aerial route and play adventurous shots. The impression a youngster carries is that technique restricts you from playing all the shots and hence slows you down. Little do they realise that technique empowers you to play almost every shot in the book then some more. It’s technical dexterity which enabled Sachin to score a double-century off merely 147 balls.
The role of a cricket coach is more important now than ever before. He ought to help a youngster find the right balance and ensure that he doesn’t sacrifice technique for adventure. But are these coaches equipped to ensure that a youngster doesn’t go astray?
The answer, unfortunately, is no. Only a few cricket academies in the country are run by qualified coaches. Others are merely organised net-practice facilities, which rarely produce good cricketers. We may not be able to organise the cricket academy sector but we can always ensure that the coaches working with state teams at all levels are qualified. After all, the BCCI organises coaching clinics on a regular basis, producing Level 1, 2 and 3 coaches. These coaches should be absorbed by state associations.
I watched a Ranji Trophy probable bowling big no-balls and all that the coaches around could possible tell him was a feeble ‘stop overstepping’.
No one would tell him how to do it. The poor kid kept bowling for nearly an hour with no success. I felt sorry for the boy because it wasn’t his fault. It’s the duty of the coach to rectify mistakes, but sadly, they couldn’t. If this is the state of affairs at the first-class level, one can only wonder what things are like at lower levels. The way forward is most certainly a sound lesson in technique, for you can break a rule only when you know it.
Technique is perhaps one of the most important things that distinguish a good cricketer from a great cricketer. And the God of the cricket told us just that.