September 17, 2008
By A.K.S. Satish, Pages Editor
Much in keeping with the changing face of cricket, a few exponents of the modern-day game have defied all the rules on their path to glory. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, ICC’s Cricketer of the Year for 2007-08, is a classic example.
It is common knowledge that a batsman should stick to the basic principles of cricket coaching of a side-on stance, head still and straight back-lift to be most effective.
However, the West Indian has not adhered to any of this – he has an open stance, shuffles from leg to middle as the bowler runs in, and his back-lift emerges somewhere from thirdman.
Yet, he is a success. A huge success.
The reason is simple. Chanderpaul has an iron will to succeed and a confidence in his own abilities rather than technique, which are the key ingredients of success in any form of sport.
Ever since the advent of one-day cricket proper techniques has taken a backseat in all forms of the game.
Playing on the up is the in thing, while terms like “smelling the grass” have been left only to the cows.
Perhaps the constant evolution of the game has been why cricket has retained its lustre despite the trials and tribulations of the past decade.
Over the years entertainers like Vivian Richards, Kapil Dev, Ian Botham, Imran Khan have kept the game alive with their firebrand cricket.
But the birth of the Twenty20 format has brought to the fore a number of mavericks like Chanderpaul and Sri Lankan spinning sensation Ajantha Mendis.
Like Chanderpaul, the unorthodox spinner has his own style and casts a spell on the batsmen with his magic grip.
Clearly the emphasis appears to be on tapping your natural talent and skills rather than going strictly by the coaching manual.
It is a positive outlook to the game that has resulted in the emergence of stars like Virender Sehwag and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The mantra of success is the key and the means are not so important.
The cricketing fraternity has done the right thing by recognising the efforts of these raw talents, which should go a long way in keeping the interest of fans and emerging talent.