Cricket Xtra: Imitation game working for young Indian stars

Ajit Vijaykumar 05:34 18/04/2016
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Young AB: Sarfaraz Khan.

Traditional methods of coaching and natural talent generally mould players during their formative years. But for many aspiring cricketers, there is a third factor that has an influence on how they play – the technique of current stars.

For many kids, ‘copying’ their favourite stars not only intensifies their love for the game, it also provides a ready-made formula for success. Obviously, everyone can’t manage that, but for a select few, imitation is an effective tool in the pursuit of success.

When former India opener Virender Sehwag made his international debut, one could spot the distinct similarity between his and Sachin Tendulkar’s batting style. The stance and back-lift had an uncanny resemblance and later on, Sehwag admitted he tried to bat like the legend but ultimately stuck to his own method. Even so, that effort to emulate a top performer was evident.

In the ongoing IPL, two young Indian players have stood out for their playing style which is quite similar to that of some big names in world cricket. Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Sarfaraz Khan is just 18 but has already been labelled the most talented young batsman in the country. He had an outstanding U19 World Cup, scoring 355 runs from six games and helped guide his team to the final of the tournament.

The portly batsman caught the eye in the previous edition of the IPL, playing audacious lap shots behind the wicket. With a successful U19 World Cup campaign under his belt, Khan has gained more confidence in his batting and in the opening game of the 2016 IPL against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he was at his inventive best, scoring 35 runs off just 10 balls with scoop shots over fine leg and third man.

It should come as no surprise that Khan idolises South African AB de Villiers – the undisputed king of daring strokeplay. That de Villiers is his team-mate has provided Khan with an opportunity to further refine his hitting and hopefully, come close to the levels attained by the Protea.

Then we have Rising Pune Supergiants leg spinner Murugan Ashwin. When we think of classical leg-spinners, the languid and round-arm action of Shane Warne comes to mind. But Ashwin has taken the ‘mystery’ route and his action is almost identical to that of West Indian Sunil Narine. But while Narine bowls right arm all-sorts, Ashwin sticks to leg spin predominantly. But I feel once he gains more control, the variations will creep in and he will be doubly effective.

Rewind a few years and fans will remember a young Shoaib Malik making his debut. Those who saw him bowl the first time would have sworn it was a Saqlain Mushtaq duplicate, with the run up, jump and even the doosra – even if of an inferior variety to that of the Pakistan legend.

Why, even Australia have unearthed what some fans are calling a ‘YouTube kid’. Off- spinner Arjun Nair is just 17 and has already caught the eye of New South Wales with his variations which he reveals he picked watching YouTube videos of IPL stars Ravi Ashwin and Narine over and over again.

Emulating the style of the stars is a very ‘Asian’ trait. Many young players in the Subcontinent latch on to the nuances of the big players more readily because it seems an easier route to success, especially if there aren’t many proper coaching centres around. And every once in a while, one kid manages to crack the code. It might not be the most original out there, but such duplication is a beautiful ode to the original master and also carries the art into the future.

BCCI a soft target

There is no doubt that there are quite a few things wrong with the way the Indian cricket board has managed its affairs over the years.

Be it conflict of interest issues or the way it handled revelations of corruption, the BCCI hasn’t covered itself in glory in the past. However, there is a growing tendency among those in a position of authority to belittle the board at every possible juncture. The Indian judiciary has made some startling statements and decisions of late, some of which I feel have been unfair to the BCCI.

The Indian Supreme Court’s attempt to restrict the number of advertisements during international matches as part of an overall effort to overhaul its functioning, was laughable.

It is one of the many recommendations the court is forcing down the throat of the BCCI which will have serious ramifications.

And last week, we saw the Bombay High Court move all IPL matches after the end of this month out of the drought-hit state of Maharashtra in a move to conserve water. This even after the IPL promised to use only treated sewage water to prepare the grounds and also make a generous donation to the state’s disaster relief fund.

That no such stern action has been taken against other sporting events in the state of Maharashtra, no cultural events cancelled nor swimming pools emptied to fight the drought proves that the BCCI has become an easy target.

Know more about Sport360 Application

Recommended

Most popular

IPL: Warner demands quick improvements from Sunrisers

Sport360 staff 04:58 18/04/2016
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Demanding more: David Warner.

Captain David Warner admits Sunrisers Hyderabad have to regroup quickly and start winning games if they want to be in contention in the Indian Premier League this season.

While all other teams have notched at least one win, Hyderabad are yet to open their account having lost both their matches and lie at the bottom of the table.

Hyderabad lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore by 45 runs in their first match and the next to Kolkata Knight Riders by eight wickets on Saturday. Warner feels his bowlers have not executed their plans well in the last two games with RCB raking up 227 and Kolkata chasing down 146 in the 19th over losing just two wickets.

“Our bowlers have sort of missed the mark in the last two games – I felt that execution was not there,” he said on Saturday. “Last year and this year we still haven’t worked out the complete game, the batters haven’t worked well with the bowlers. We have to try and gel and work together as much as we can.”

Hyderabad take on Mumbai Indians, their second straight home game tonight, and Warner wants his side to end their winless run with this encounter.

Defending champions Mumbai also enter the match on the back of a three-wicket last-ball defeat to Gujarat Lions on Saturday and will be keen to get back to winning ways.

“We have go to really come out firing,” Warner told Cricinfo. “This game is going to be the game (where) we gel together, we bat and bowl well and field well. They are going to be hungry as well because they are in a same position as us. “We have to be switched on and make sure we keep executing our plans, we can’t keep talking about it, we have to do it on the day.”

Meanwhile, the participation of Mumbai’s pace spearhead Lasith Malinga continues to be a subject of debate with the Sri Lankan cricket board warning him that he cannot play in the IPL without their no objection certificate.

Reports in India speculated that Malinga, who was present in Mumbai during their game against Gujarat, has been ruled out of the tournament after the franchise’s medical panel found him unfit.

However, there has been no statement from Mumbai about the bowler’s knee injury that kept him out of the World Twenty20. He is expected to be out of action for the next four months.

Most popular

Related Sections

#360view: de Kock sparkles as Delhi beat RCB

Sport360 staff 23:35 17/04/2016
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Quinton de Kock notched a sublime century as Delhi Daredevils beat Royal Challengers Bangalore.

De Kock finished on 108 off 51, as Delhi beat the 191-run target on the last over.











Most popular