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Sight Screen

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Sweeping statement

Bobby Simpson's coaching columns are invariably interesting; this one, which riffs on the events of the Pak-England Test series is par for the course.
England's epidemic of batsmen getting out trying to sweep was a disaster waiting to happen. Four of the first eight batsmen were out on the first day in Lahore playing the sweep shot. I am forever amazed just how gullible coaches can be when they latch on to in-fashion methods, which may not be the best way to go. Fashion, fad and theories seem to be in vogue today and sweeping against spin bowlers is the height of fashion in the eyes of some coaches.
There is definitely a place for the sweep shot against spinners, but only when the ball is pitched outside the leg stump. In addition, the batsmen should also ensure that if he misses, his pads come in as the second line of defence. To try and sweep balls outside the off stump is courting disaster, particularly if it is spinning away from the batsman.
England's coach, Zimbabwean Duncan Fletcher is also enamoured with the sweep shot. And interestingly, England and Zimbabwe are just about the worst players against leg spinners in the world. I wonder what is the record for the greatest number of batsmen out sweeping. England, then, must be in contention for this record.
I wonder whether someone will whisper in Duncan Fletcher's ears before England come here next year that the Australian wickets, which offer high bounce, make sweeping a precise art. If they keep playing the sweep shot indiscriminately, Warne will have a bonanza.


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