Saturday, December 23, 2006

NZ Batting Woes

Having said that the Murali affair is a tragedy to me, this cannot be blamed for NZ's shocking batting. For me the problem with the NZ batsmen is not one of ability but of technique. I was watching the Aussies, Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Hussey, Clark, Gilchrist and then there is Martin, and they all have one thing in common; excellent technique. They have different strengths but they have wonderful defences on both feet, and can play the full range of shots according to the book. They icing on the cake is that they can also smash it!

When I look at NZ's batsmen over recent years they have Stephen Fleming apart, had appalling techniques. They do not use their feet effectively against speed or spin. Many have visible weaknesses like falling away to the off side, playing away from their bodies against pace, standing flat footed on the crease line against spin. They simply aren't schooled in the art of batting.

When I look back over the last twenty years there have been some NZ players with superb techniques. Richardson against pace. Crowe; exquisite against all bowling. Turner was brilliant. John Reid (the left hander) was flawless. Andrew Jones was an exception in a sense, but if you looked closely he played with a straight bat and good technique as did Coney.

The current crop of Astle, MacMillen and co need to be put out to pasture.

I am not surprised at their lack of technique. I remember taking a coaching course in the 80's and they told us not to worry about good technique, encourage them to simply hit it. That is like learning reading with phonics! You need the basics if you are going to be a good batsman.

So, it is time for a change. Teach them the basics from youth and hopefully the rest will come. We need a new generation of batsmen who know the basics of the full range of shots and then we will see a change.

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