Many a team has lost matches because players have tried to finish games with sixes rather than get the fours that can be attractive too but obviously don't get the crowd up on its feet as much as a lofted shot does. Afridi's success in the second half of the ICC Twenty20 is a sparkling example of what sensible - and not senseless - batting can achieve for the team. Hope some of the Indians were watching.
Intis’s twin successes, spaced out though they maybe, add strength to the belief that countries where English is not spoken too much benefit from having someone who can speak their language as the guiding hand, be it a coach or a manger.
Of course, at the end of the day sport is about natural instinct and so most of the theory stays just that while the practical is where the player has to find the solutions himself out on the field in the fierce public glare and expectations of the team’s supporters and media assembled for the occasion. However if a player is told of his responsibilities and importance to the team and what the team expects from him then he can raise the level of his game to meet all those and make a telling contribution to the team.
The shining example of that is Shahid Afridi who, in the first few matches of the ICC Twenty20, came onto bat with only one purpose and that was to try and hit the first ball he faced out of the ground. He was out first ball most times and it was only after the skipper Younis Khan and Inti sat him down and told him his importance in the team and played a little bit on his ego that Afridi did justice to his batting. His bowling was very effective even if he wasn’t always taking wickets but his batting was a worry because of his reckless approach. Once that was tempered and he was prepared to play himself in with shots along the ground, he went on to become the player of the match in the semi-final and finals as well. In fact in the semi-finals, although he still scored at a more than a run a ball, he didn’t hit a single six and so scored fast but without taking risks. He was peeved that he wasn’t declared the player of the series since he was on the winning side and had made a huge contribution to the team’s turnaround after the initial group matches and that led to
A player who knows that he can belt the ball out of the ground has to learn to curb the ‘nasha’ (Hindi/urdu word for intoxication) of that shot for it is best played instinctively than in a premeditated manner. The latter presumes that the ball will be bowled in a certain way and will thus land where the bat’s arc will meet it at the right angle and time to send it booming over the boundary. If the ball doesn’t land that way then the attempt ends up as a catch and makes the batsman look silly as he walks back to the pavilion. It is getting over the ‘nasha’ that is the key to consistency. Many a team has lost matches because players have tried to finish games with sixes rather than get the fours that can be attractive too but obviously don’t get the crowd up on its feet as much as a lofted shot does.
Afridi’s success in the second half of the ICC Twenty20 is a sparkling example of what sensible – and not senseless – batting can achieve for the team. Hope some of the Indians were watching.