Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Simpson speak: Is Tendulkar listening??

By John Cheeran
Now the secret is out. The secret behind Sachin Tendulkar's wobbly show at the crease.
What Greg Chappell and Tendulkar himself failed to analyse or rather admit, has been made public by Bob Simpson, the legendary coach and captain of Australia.
But it however remains a mystery what prompts former cricketers to offer unsolicted consultancy.
It's all because Tendulkar is no longer watching the ball out of the bowler's hand.
"Tendulkar has fallen into what is probably the most common error in batting - not watching the ball out of the bowler's hand but watching for the ball in areas around it," Simpson writes in his column.
"Tests have shown that you can pick the ball about a metre sooner if you watch it right out of the bowler's hand. This is a huge advantage to a batsman," adds Simpson.
The BCCI bosses should be making notes as they prepare to select the successor for Chappell. Had Simpson been there to assist the Indian team in the Caribben, we would have won the World Cup.
"Sachin was a dream to coach. Almost in my first session with him, I noticed he had fallen into the error of moving back to the leg stump instead of middle and leg to cover good length. I discussed with him the disadvantages of such a method and the advantages of what I was suggesting.
"We watched a video of him batting in the nets, which confirmed my thoughts and Sachin immediately began remedying it. "For some years after this, even when I wasn't coaching India, whenever I ran into Sachin he would always ask if I had noticed anything wrong with his batting.
"If Sachin were to ask me that question today I would say, 'check the video and you will find that even with your defensive shots you are late getting into position'."
Simpson finds Chappell a bad coach. "Obviously Greg Chappell had problems with the attitude of some of the top players. I found his public declaration of his dissatisfaction over the attitude and commitment of his senior players most disappointing."
(But as far as I know Chappell never questioned the senior's attitude, at least, on the record. So I'm surprised how Simpson writes that Chappell's public declaration is most disappointing.
These are the wonders of journalism when fiction becomes fact and rumour the truth.)
Simpson does not stop there. "Chappell's lack of success with the Indian team has come as no surprise to the Australian cricket fraternity. He is admired greatly for his wonderful, graceful and successful batting and I feel he was one of the greatest slip fielders of all time, but his captaincy and coaching did not command the same respect."
"During his long tenure as captain of Queensland, they were considered the best team in Australia but didn't win a single Sheffield Shield title. In recent times, he had a long coaching stint with South Australia but with poor results."
Chappell's somewhat autocratic manner was often blamed for his lack of success, as was his perceived lack of understanding that his charges didn't have his golden touch and class as a cricketer."
Simpson recalls his stint a consultant to the Indian team in the late 1990s.
"I can only speak of the pleasures of coaching the senior Indian players, though there were some frustrations. Whether it was assisting Javagal Srinath to bowl a slower ball, Rahul Dravid to improve his slip fielding or Anil Kumble to hold his action longer to maintain his flight, I was always conscious of keeping it natural.
"India, like most countries, have their own style of playing cricket. To divert too far from that is seeking problems, and denying the natural instincts of the individual players," he said.
Simpson also criticised the tendency among somecountries to ape the Australian system even if that did not suit them. "The whole world seems hell bent upon copying the Australian way of cricket. Sticking to the very basics of cricket has always been the successful format of cricketers and teams throughout the world, not fashion, fad and theories, which seem to be the driving forces today," he adds.

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