Saturday Cricket Club Blog

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Art of Cricket by Don Bradman ...

It will be rather unwise for me to review this book. Nevertheless, I can't stop admiring it. If and when time and ability permits me, I'd dare review the book. But for now, I have just recorded two sample chapters from the book to give you an idea of the lucid and elegant thoughts expressed by one of the greatest cricketers (and cricketing brains) of all time:

After hearing the last recording again, I felt ashamed that I do not have a record (that's made by myself, not by Vishal or TCA) that I maintain myself. Well, it is never too late ...

B as in Believe ...

Well, I know it is over for SCC as far as ISTS Knockout 2006 is concerned and they did have an unceremonious exit from the tournament. It means something in terms of what should be done next and how the most consistent team in TCA can get back on track.

Something that I wanted to underline was nothing comes for free. This is especially true in terms of time. A thing that we designate as our passion quickly turns into our religion and starts taking toll on us. But it is hardly felt that way for we love the thing we spend time on.

I have a few thoughts regarding this and I am going to write them down for everyone's perusal. Although there is a local flavor to it, any true fan of the game of Cricket would agree with these ideas expressed below ...

  • 'B' as in "Believe": I read a banner somewhere that said, "If Boston RedSox can do it, damn it, we can too". With all due respects to the great Boston baseball organization, I feel that is true for anyone who wants to be a winner. You've got to believe. SCC has probably been the only team that beat the champions comprehensively. It has also been beaten by some mediocre teams to touch bases with the reality, but one has to look at what is possible.
  • Stick to the Basics: Every magnus opus starts with a resounding following of the Basics. There is no easy way out. I'd say following basics are paid attention to:
    • Search for a Ground: It is important that we have comparable playing conditions during practice sessions and matches. There is more than meets the eye here because one of the most important problems SCC has is the lack of putting bad deliveries away. Away means out of the boundary line, notwithstanding the aerial route. If the Soccer team and cricket team shares the playground, a shot just beyond short mid-wicket is awarded four runs, but that's hardly true in match situations. This also brings in the point of a discipline that is needed. We do measure 64 yards for the pitch, but we should also measure the distance to boundary line and have a boundary line. It might also help to consider actually reserving a ground and put these worries to rest forever.
    • Minimum 13: This goes hand in hand with the above. Unless we have at least a baker's dozen present for the practice session, it is hard to achieve what above dictates. Whereas this is easier said than done, unfortunately there is no choice.
    • Interest in Practising: The Alan Drill is simply irreplaceable. We need to beef it up with the run-out drill. But if practice sessions are not as dearly attented to as the matches themselves, it is hard to imagine where the honing of skills will come from. It goes without saying that some basic problems with our cricketing styles are impossible to overcome, but practice does make us perfect.
    • Innovate Practice Sessions: This is more of a task of the SCC think tank. Acquiring different skills needs different kind of practice sessions. Maybe more of one-on-one kind. For example, if a bowler has hard time deciding the exact run-up, pitching the ball at a desired spot then we have to adjust the practice session accordingly. Alternatively, if a ball is pitched on middle and on at a drivable length, batsman should consistently be able to hit it to the appropriate region the on side.
  • Improve Temperament: This is by far the hardest. What's possible at practice sessions is not possible during matches. I am not sure how one could improve upon this. Maybe all should read Don Bradman's Art of Cricket?
  • Define the Primary Roles: It is often necessary that a player satisfies the role that is demanded by the circumstance. But planning is needed. We plan the stuff and then work the plan. All players must know what their primary responsibilities are. This translates partially to the approximate number in the batting lineup where a particular batsman will bat. Whereas we have to make adjustments to that lineup on a given day, it is important that we don't inflict unstability by making changes to batting lineup or bowling order.
  • Replacement of the Blood?: No mission that fulfills the promises of longevity can rely on the same set of people. So, we must be in search for new players and make the team more and more formidable. Like or not, we are amateurs. We have other life. A balance is needed and that means more bodies that have similarly thinking minds are a necessity.

Bottom line: SCC is here to stay. One or two defeats are not a setback. Let's live the verse "Cricket is our Passion".