There is an interesting discussion on the PitchVision Academy on the merits of twenty20 as a coaching model for young cricketers. Sometimes the performances of the top players can look almost superhuman, and it can be difficult to find ideal models for younger players to follow.
Trying to hit the ball as far as Chris Gayle, or playing the Dil-scoop, or bowling 150kph yorkers like Lasith Malinga – surely, that’s only for the professionals?
Is there something in twenty20 for younger players (and amateurs at all levels) to aspire to?
If you saw the IPL2011 game between Deccan Chargers and Delhi Daredevils, then the answer has to be yes.
Top order wickets with aggressive, high class quick bowling. Proper spin bowling (by which I mean slow bowling with the emphasis on spin and variation). And above all, quite magnificent striking.
The game will quite understandably be remembered for the innings of Virender Sehwag. But the Daredevils’ innings started with Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma reducing Delhi to 3-25 of 5.5 overs with direct, back of a length, flat-out fast bowling. And if the Chargers had held their catches, Amit Mishra’s legspin and googlies would have got the reward they deserved.
So – if you are going to bowl fast, then really bowl fast. Spin the ball hard. Oh, and hit the ball a long, long way.
OK, the last one takes some doing, and some of Viru’s hits weren’t out of the (old) MCC Coaching Handbook. But that knock was as much about the mental strength needed as the stroke play, and even the ECB Coaches Association now recognises the “slog sweep” (it features in the excellent “Howzat!” DVD) – you just need to learn how to play the shot.
And if that all doesn’t provide inspiration for young cricketers, then I don’t know what would!