BATTING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Twenty nine kids ranging from the ages of 9-13 took part in the session with Deep Dasgupta, as he helped the youngsters improve their stance and posture at C4. (Picture: B. Halder)
If you think impossible is nothing, try convincing a nine-year-old before a cricket game — “No hitting fours or sixes, runs only by running.” But no amount of adorable puppy eyes and chubby cheeks managed to change Deep Dasgupta’s decision, when the former Team India wicketkeeper-batsman joined hands with Skulpt for a cricket workshop for kids on December 3, at Calcutta Cricket Coaching Centre on Southern Avenue. t2 caught up with him after the two-hour-long session.
In the age of T20 cricket, how tough is it to convince a bunch of kids to work on their defence?
It is pretty tough. I teach a few kids for Bengal as well and when their heroes are AB de Villiers, who’s playing the reverse sweep and reverse-whatever shots, and then to tell them to defend, it’s really difficult. But the important thing is to get them out on the field and at least make them start playing the sport. Once they get serious about the sport they realise how important the defence is. It’s the bedrock for everything else. So I guess when they start playing seriously, they’ll understand the value of it and practise it as well.
How important is to get the basics right when you’re young?
The idea is to let them hit balls or bowl because at the moment, their motor skills are developing and any sport, be it cricket or football or badminton or tennis, helps in improving their motor skills. So at this age, kids should play as many sports as possible and by the time they’re 12-13, they’ll be in a good position to decide which sport they want to play.
What if a young batsman has an unorthodox style, but it’s working for him?
A lot of coaches tend to make cricket complicated, but it’s not. There is no right or wrong way of doing things, it’s very subjective. So what works for you is your technique. (Shivnarine) Chanderpaul had a different style… Sachin (Tendulkar), Viru (Virender Sehwag) had different styles… and it worked for them. But obviously there are certain basics which have to be correct like the way your bat comes down, keeping your head still... but you can count them on your fingers. It’s not as complicated as some people make it to be.
Decode Chanderpaul and Sachin’s technique for us....
A lot of people noticed Chanderpaul before the bowler bowled, he was open-chested looking face-on but as far as I’m concerned, it’s at the point of delivery how you are. He would be open but then shuffle and become side-on as the bowler would be in his delivery stride. Chanderpaul was more defensive in his approach, whereas Sachin was more attacking. He was more technical. But both scored thousands of runs. So that’s a good example of how subjective technique is.
Gautam Gambhir at 35 is batting with a new stance. How challenging is it to adjust after so many years?
It is difficult. But again, there are certain shots you can play more comfortably if your stance is a certain way and certain shots you can’t. So the game plan becomes very important. And you have to be mentally strong.
One batsman in world cricket who can be a role model for kids?
I think it’s difficult to choose one. But you’ve got Virat Kohli, who’s technically very sound and has bridged the gap between T20 and Test cricket. He’s changed the way we think about T20. He doesn’t just think about 4s and 6s. You don’t have to hit two sixes... you can also run six 2s to get 12 runs in an over. He’s been very successful in managing both the formats. He’s a great role model.
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