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Sight Screen

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Fit to be tied

Bobby Simpson in an interesting column, where he posits the theory that there could be such a thing as too much fitness.
I became even more concerned when, as the West Indians arrived in Australia, all the talk and hype coming out of their camp was how fit they were and how this extra fitness had made the pace bowlers faster, stronger and more aggressive.
I became near paranoid when I saw, during the first lunch break of the first Test, the physical trainer take the non-playing members out onto the oval in front of a large crowd and put them through a very testing fitness routine.
Why my concern? I have seen this all too often when coaches think that all they have to do is make their charges fitter to achieve better results.

And, amusingly, this:
I thought Norman O'Neill, the great Australian batsman of the sixties, summed it up best when watching practice one afternoon. Seeing the state team players piggybacking team-mates up the steep hill behind the nets on the Sydney Cricket Ground No. 2, he sighed: "I wonder whether that is helping their cover drive."

What I found interesting about Simpson's thesis is that he is arguably the first to really define -- in practise, not theory -- modern coaching, in course of his partnership with Allan Border. And it's not like Simpson's saying -- as, actually, some Indians have suggested -- that a player's fitness needs are more or less filled by a gentle jog from the canteen to the nets; his argument here is that emphasis on fitness, without a focus on skill sets and role definition/recognition, is pointless.

16 Comments:

  • Sorry just came on the forum annd had to make this comment..
    I watched yesterdays game and was amazed and appalled at the fact that Dhoni was being sent in at 8!Thats ludicrous...I am not sure what everyone felt on this forum about that, I have not read any comments. Forget the result..that's alright...but to be this is being over smart, over strategic and very unfair to someone who is being denied maximum overs when he is playing the best cricket of his life till date. I can never agree with these 'selective strategies where no matter how many times Sehwag fails, Kaif fails their position never gets changed, but Dhoni, Gambhir are absolutely treated as they feel. Pathan always is the beneficiary..nothing against that...nut just unfair on someone who is winning matches on his own.

    By Blogger mau tor, at 12:35  

  • i think the batting order was just perfect given the scenario we were in .

    By Blogger Pankaj Tripathi, at 12:48  

  • i had more expectations from kaif and GG though :)

    By Blogger Pankaj Tripathi, at 12:49  

  • I too have no complaints about batting order. Given the conditions, I think it was a better idea to protect Dhoni and use him later for big hitting once the seaming conditions are gone. I don't see anything wrong in that.

    By Blogger Yorker, at 12:54  

  • mau: Not to discount your views, but donno if you got to watch the game. The way the ball was swinging around and bouncing, the last thing you needed to do was put Dhoni in there early -- you need to remember Gambhir went in the 12th over -- and miss out on his potential to hit big at the death. Yes, he has won games for us, and will likely do that again, but I thought IMHO given the game situation, risking Dhoni was unacceptable that early.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:04  

  • prem...as I said during match time...couldn't they have kept someone else...eg Kaif as supersub? Keeping GG at supersub meant having to play him down the order while actually they took him as an opener (I hope so?)

    By Blogger worma, at 13:13  

  • Prem - Do you think the fitness criteria for Tests can be / should be lower than ODI ...

    e.g. Laxman - one of the best batsman we have when it comes to skill, timing etc ... but obviously not the high rankers in agility. But I think he is a must in Tests and not an automatic selection in ODI.

    Obviously it is not only about Fitness but what are your thoughts overall

    By Blogger @mit, at 13:15  

  • worma, I think
    they put a lot of emphasis on prob of batting second, and GG would have sure shot for Karthik ..
    As I had said in other post irrespective of the results, players like JPY are the best fit for SS

    By Blogger Pankaj Tripathi, at 13:24  

  • pankaj: I know they took GG thinking of batting second...which meant suersubbing Kathik. What I meant was this -

    1) They were surely looking at GG to open batting second. With probably VS coming down. I cant imagine they took GG to bat in middle order

    2) They thought if they were forced to bat first, then they will look to get in GG only in case of collapse (as it happened) and somewhere in middle order

    3) What I am suggesting is that they should have kept GG in main XI...and Kaif out of it...so that he can come in, when collapse happens, somewhere in middle order. And if batting second then he obviously comes in at change of innings

    This would have ensured that GG bats at the top only. If thats what they wanted.

    By Blogger worma, at 13:37  

  • worma: When I saw the team list, my instinctive reaction was, right, GG will be supersubbed in, he will open with Sachin, and VS will bat down -- likely between Yuvi, who I expected to come out ahead, and Kaif. I think the middle order thing was merely coz their hand was forced by the early collapse. The only criticism, and hindsight plays a role in this, that you could possibly make is, a better option would have been to let Pathan go in at the fall of Dravid, and wait to use your supersub ploy depending on what YS, IP and MSD actually do. That way, you wouldn't lock out one spinner too early in the game -- but like I said, that is largely hindsight, at the time I figured bringing GG in for MK was the way to go.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:46  

  • worma: about Kaif as Supersub, the catch would have been, had he not been needed, we lose a good fielding option. what surprises me is why Raina wasn't pencilled in -- he's an interesting option there which reminds me, was it just rumor? doesn't raina bowl a bit? wonder when if ever they plan on using him as filler, for the odd over or three.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:47  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger worma, at 13:49  

  • amit: never did think these were absolutes. or that you can quantify requirements for each form. the thing is, one is shorter, but more intense; the other, you have to stay fit over 5 days, which is a whole other ball game, but the slightly more leisurely pace allows you to pace yourself better. i think basic fitness is de rigeur; i would not use 'fitness' as the *sole* criteria determining selection, but look at the whole -- fitness, temperament, form leading in to the game, skill sets vis a vis nature of opposition, all of that stuff is imho equally relevant.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:52  

  • sorry Prem...we will have to agree to disagree here. I do not find too much logic in shielding Dhoni. If he cannot be trusted with bouce and bit of swing of Hyderabab, are you going to just drop him if you go to England, Australia or NZ? He is a inform frontline batsman..shielding him from say 3 to 5 no is ok...but no 8 is a tailender postion. Not for someone like Dhoni. By the way Dhoni has opened and also scored 2 hundreds at no 3! Swing and bounce should not be thatmuch of an issue for him.

    By Blogger mau tor, at 14:08  

  • also how about shielding Yuvraj once in a while...he has terrible technique( he would have gone atleast 3 times yesterday if he was not lucky)He too did not have a clue to what SA was bowling. He basically started hitting out of trouble. Twice third slip would have had him...point being that I have found Dhoni to be a easy target to be moved around and not Sehwag, Kaif, Yuvraj.

    By Blogger mau tor, at 14:11  

  • About Raina's bowling...I think he bowled a bit in SL and it was at best decent but nothing Sehwag, Tendulkar & Yuvraj couldn't already do with their part-time spin.

    By Blogger ClannZĂș, at 14:58  

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