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Rhythm dictates what you do

As the World Cup unfolds and fancied teams make rapid exits cricket theories get shattered. Not just experts, even bookies are proved horribly wrong. Amrit Mathur comments.

cricket Updated: Jun 17, 2009 02:38 IST
Amrit Mathur
Amrit Mathur
Hindustan Times

As the World Cup unfolds and fancied teams make rapid exits cricket theories get shattered. Not just experts, even bookies are proved horribly wrong.

In this state of acute uncertainty, where everyone is shooting in the dark with their eyes closed, one fundamental truth stands out -nobody knows.

Another fact that stands vindicated is that contemporary cricket teams are too top heavy and over coached. Cricket is loaded with excessive theory. Statistics and laptop-generated analysis have replaced smart thinking.

Ian Chappell smirks at this trend, especially the tendency to indiscriminately hire support staff. Commenting on teams with an army of so-called professionals (including a specialist wicketkeeping coach!), Chappell cannot conceal his disdain. When asked about their role, his response was typically acid: all they do is try and justify their jobs, and none of that is required by the players.

Shane Warne, known for independent thought, is another who is scathing about powerful coaches, and the move to grant them greater authority.

His take on Buchanan working with the ECB aptly summarises his position. “This will lift the Aussies,” he said, with biting sarcasm, “because Buchanan will overcomplicate things!”

Our own SMG and Ravi Shastri, two of the sharpest minds in the business, feel the captain should be king and others have only a peripheral role. The best teams work that way because cricket, by its basic structure, works that way. In this context, what was good for Bradman remains valid today.

Nowhere is this feeling - that an over reliance on strategy, planning, coaching is a massive waste, perhaps even harmful – more pronounced than in a Twenty20 situation. Many senior players in the IPL privately acknowledge that this cricket is too short and too quick, and that there is no time for thinking.

T20 has its own rhythm which dictates what you do, and with action from ball one cricket manipulates players, not the other way round. The format sets the pace, individual brilliance will always come into play but there is scant room for strategy.

Surprisingly, Micky Arthur (the longest surviving coach of an international team) agrees. “My job is only to define roles and prepare the team,” he says. “After that the game dictates the run of play.”

What this means is that it’s best to keep fingers crossed. Just sit back and just enjoy Twenty20. The team that wins will be the one that is Oye-lucky! Lucky-oye!

First Published: Jun 17, 2009 02:35 IST