Sunday, February 5, 2012

Some insights into the game of Cricket

Having played and watched Cricket for quite a long time now, particularly after having just played recently, I thought it good to put down certain thoughts regarding playing the game.

These are some of the things from what I have heard and seen from television and from personal experiences. Although in India, everyone knows almost everything about the game, I want to talk about something in a different way. This is not about playing at international or other higher levels but just in general.

If you are playing the game, you need to prepare. That is the very first thing. it should be both physically and mentally. Physically you need to maintain a certain fitness level to be able to play it well. You should have enough practice to be able to feel comfortable, confident and relaxed before the game. You also need to know where exactly you are playing- the surface and ground and the opposition.

If you are a batsman, it is also important to select your bat which feels comfortable and depending your style of play, its weight should be decided. If you aren't used to it, a heavier bat will tire you quite fast.

Most players also like to have certain routines. I have a habit of looking down and behind- at my stumps before each delivery. This is to have an exact idea of where my off stump is. It is important to know that so you know exactly where the ball is heading and whether you can leave it safely or not as well. You can also choose your guard depending on what you feel more comfortable. There are a few very simple things to keep in mind as a batsman. You need to get in the right position and be balanced. That is important as it will help you to decide how and where to play the ball and you will be able to do it the way you want. It is also important to not think about hitting the ball very hard. Most people get itchy and just feel like going down the track and blasting it for six. It is not necessary at all to hit the ball powerfully to hit it for a six. Ganguly never did that. The result is decided at the point of impact of the bat and the ball. If you understand the mechanics, just giving mere direction and elevation is enough to get six runs without even having to use your strength. Timing and placement are the key.

As the bowler is running in, a batsman can look where he feels comfortable. Generally it is the ball. Looking at the bowler can be distracting as bowlers can even use that to do certain things to distract the batsmen. One thing is the action of the bowler. Some times that can put a batsman off. As a batsman, when the ball has left the bowler's hand, it is important to decide what length it is pitching and accordingly move forward or back to get in the right position and balanced which I talked about earlier. It is also very important to keep in mind the gaps in the field. Some people might even keep in mind where the fielders are but I prefer to remember where the gaps are and that is where I need to hit it. I feel it is simpler than remembering where the fielders are so not to hit there or to hit over them. Premeditating is a dangerous thing. It can work some times but for the long term it is beneficial to play according to the merit of the ball. Every batsman has certain strengths and weaknesses. So if the ball is pitched in the area which is your strength, then the batsman has to back himself to go for it. Most batsman also forget the importance of singles. A quick single stolen not only rotates the strike, bringing in new batsmen, it also frustrates the bowler who would like to plan a wicket. It also helps the batsman to be collected in the mind by being at the other end. He can use that opportunity to look at things differently, the bowler what he is trying to do, since the non striker would be closer.
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