Chargers: Why Tendulkar is rushing down the lane to peaceniks better than versions of Rohit and Kohli

If the ball is short, he must kick it up and up the arc from long-on to long-off. If the ball is still long, try to kick it with a vertical kick to the straight edge. Always in V. This is a pre-planned strike, but Tendulkar tries to hold it up as long as possible to disguise it from the bowler.

This nuance is missing in Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli’s throws. Rohit rushes, often hopefully, without waiting for the bowler to release the ball, and unsurprisingly gets in trouble. Sometimes he bounces the ball to the side, and his form becomes pear-shaped. Sometimes the charge is delayed too much, like Kohli against Mumbai Indians left-hander Jason Behrendorf, who takes too short a pitch and ends up in the panic zone, especially with the left-hander’s angle opposite him. He ended up swinging over it, unsurprisingly losing his form and losing his wicket.

Kohli doesn’t like to rush down the track to spinners. That reluctance is what led to the statistics that played out during the last Test series against Australia, where he was dismissed with a stump for the first time. It had nothing to do with superior skill.

But against the seamers, when he has no fear of being put in a stump, Kohli does run out of position. That’s one reason for his higher strikeout rate on the powerplay this year. As happened the other day, Kohli can lose his grip and try to swing over the side. Not as ideal as Tendulkar. Not many people manage that.

It was an amazing sight in the early ’90s when a teenage Tendulkar suddenly started throwing himself at seamstresses when he started opening in New Zealand. The cricket arenas, gleaming like silver-tipped bowls, were too small to stop this little big man. Not that Tendulkar was the first opener to throw out: New Zealander Mark Greatbatch made it his calling card at the 1992 World Cup.

At third, Dean Jones was one of the first openers in the 1980s, the zinc cream framing his eyes and the power oozing from his viscous attacks. In the ’90s, after Tendulkar, Nathan Astle often threw himself into the attack, and in the decade that followed, his compatriot Brandon McCallum got into it.

Modern prototype

McCullum’s charge seems to be the prototype for modern batsmen. McCallum’s legs were moving so fast and adrenaline was pumping so hard through his bloodstream,That he didn’t always take care of the bowler’s output and all nuances. There was a joyful looseness in his approach, not always successful, as in the 2015 World Cup final at the MCG when he rushed in the first turn to lose his stumps and game.

Batsmen of this age seem to want to be more like McCullum than Tendulkar, rushing into the attack without being overly cautious. But McCullum was so quick in movement, and his hand-eye coordination was so high for his age that he was more successful than many. Rohit or Kohli are not dashers in that sense, and their steps are not fuzzy like McCallum’s. And at times, when they are trying to hold up a shot, they don’t move forward as much, don’t keep their balance, and can’t get across the line as effectively as McCallum.

There was a six that the ’80s generation might remember. Raman Lamba, a spirited batsman who tragically ended his life by being killed by a short-leg ball to the head in Bangladesh. He moved down the track to the pacer to hit a six over an extra-cutter; both the charge and the target seemed quite unique at the time.

And when the aging Greatbatch reincarnated as the dasher of new balls in the 1992 World Cup, or when the visuals of Dean Jones’ power passes of the ’80s emerged, both were adored. Something about those shots screamed arrogant unceremonious, boss-level prowess, and soon Tony Griggs of the broadcasting world began shouting, Get this. The pacers’ scramble rarely seemed sweeter than this one.

Against bowlers who usually bat at a constant length, going down to the wicket is a little easier. Josh Hazlewood, for example, who often faces batsmen coming down to him in the IPL. Like Tendulkar vs McGrath. In Nairobi, as he said before, if he let McGrath do his thing, he would either run a stingy spell or, worse, pick up a bunch of wickets with his Uncle Scrooge game. And so Tendulkar did what he did.

He also mixed it up. In between, he would retreat far behind the goal line, and do so as inconspicuously and as late as possible so that the alert fielder would not have time to relay the message to McGrath. And, as he hoped, the ball was short, and Tendulkar spun it. As he did to South Africa’s Makhaiah Ntini during his masterful 97-ball hit on a bouncing track in Belfast, one of the best ODI strikes of his career.

As a forehand

Tendu hitting techniqueThe lkara in Nairobi against McGrath (one went for six and the other blurred for four) is like a forehand on the line, if you will. When he was downfield, his bat became a little more horizontal, allowing him to better control and bounce the rising ball. Even if he jumped out as late as possible, Tendulkar was quick enough to meet the ball as it came up after landing.

Last September, during a veterans road safety game, Tendulkar got on YouTube again, kicking the ball to Chris Tremlett. Then he flew over the long-on.

When the ball is batted from short range and the batsman is not in time for the serve, he can bend his wrist to settle the bounce and go down the line like a tennis forehand across the court. But if he picks the line of the ball outside, over the longswing, it will be difficult to ride the rebound. That’s why Tendulkar would be smarter to tilt the bat a little more horizontally to hit the ball over his head, rather than going down and up like Rohit Sharma or Kohli (except for that incredible Haris Rauf hit at the MCG).

Sharma used to do better with his outings, but lately there seems to be more hope than confidence. He leaves the field a little early, perhaps confident that he can adjust and strike out a ton no matter what the bowler does, but that doesn’t always work out. And MC Dhoni took advantage of that desperation by moving closer to the stumps, forcing Rohit to execute an awkward knee strike. Kohli was more successful this year, but he had his share of misses, too. Perhaps a replay of the Tendulkar vs. McGrath videos will help.

Walkers and non-walkers

Not all batsmen preferred the manic spurt. Some, like Aravinda de Silva, as he did to Terry Alderman in his epic 167 match in 1989 in Australia, walked the track and whipped. Like the tall Ravi Shastri, who ran out to the spinners and sometimes went down to the pacesetters. If Tendulkar moved to the offside before catapulting down, Shastri did the opposite: his back foot dragged him to the side as if he were walking on stilts.

Matthew Hayden turned walking into an act of power statement. He walked downward not to whip or kick, but to flog the pacer. About 15 years ago, in an outdoor café at a hotel in Bangalore, he recounted this throw. More specifically, about that feeling.

When you walk down the track, you experience a huge rush of adrenalineand. It really challenges them (the bowlers): I know you bowl very well here, but I won’t let you. When I go down, I just think: I just want to see the ball, and wherever they play, I’ll get there (Laughs). I do that when the bowlers come in and you think they’re playing really well. Walking down is a good way to upset the game.

The most unlikely lane walker was Gary Kirsten of South Africa. His action felt not adrenaline, but cricket smarts. He was a batsman devoid of much hitting power, but used that gait to skillfully position himself, keep his form and handle the ball up and over the board.

In one-day cricket, you had to find a way to get the ball to the boundary. So it was kind of a release shot, which I thought was pretty low-risk. But it definitely helped me get the ball to the boundary when I was under pressure. So yeah, that’s something I developed in my game, and it was very helpful for me, he told this newspaper last year.

Ganguly was doing an intermediate version of running and walking. And slanting the ball across the square. Kirsten felt risk-free, Ganguly exuded intent, Hayden was unabashedly overbearing, Tendulkar was artful excitement.

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