Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The joy of six

The 150th DLF Maximum* took to the air yesterday. Not so long ago, that would have been a statistic of note, now it's merely a signpost on the way to the new age. 

There is an IPL omerta on Sky Sports in England [it's transmitted by the rival Setanta here], but when nebulous commentary box discussion touches on six-hitting, someone, generally Athers or Nasser Hussain, will make a comment about 'the massive bats they use these days'.

It's not an observation that their colleague Ian Botham bothers offering, perhaps because he was an intuitive hitter of the ball. It's the change in attitude rather than the change in bats that's key.

Atherton hit four sixes during his 115 Test career. He was outdone even by Boycott, who struck eight in 108 Tests. Kevin Pietersen hit four sixes in his first Test. [Athers struck one in his 54-match ODI career, a stat that sees him comprehensively hammered by Chris Tavare, who managed two in his 29 matches]. A bigger bat would have made no difference at all to him.

What has happened, along with a new fluidity of technique, is an adjustment of what batsmen consider possible. An England player at the IPL asked Virender Sehwag what he thought about technically as the bowler ran in. 'Oh just watch the ball and hit it,' Sehwag replied.

That, to me, seemed to be the real transition that English cricket is trying to cope with right now - a transition of the mind, an acceptance of the possible, a belief in the new age.

* See what you've done Lalit? See...?


Leg Break said...

But it’s the creeping changes to the rules that have allowed this.

Covering the pitches, allowing batsmen to wear enough padding to make them protected gladiators / astronauts, bringing in the boundary ropes, banning decent balls that could swing a bit, preparing flaccid pitches, banning good old-fashioned short bowling, and fielding restrictions in limited overs matches.

It’s a disgrace.

The Old Batsman said...

Yes, LB, you're right on. I should have written that into the post a bit more. I guess these factors do play into the batsman's mindset.

Q said...

Really? Just 4? Damn!

I think the batsmen had adjusted long before Lalit had anything to do with it... The England are still trying and it keeps getting tougher.

achettup said...

And the 200th six was hit just a day or two ago. This might sound a bit crazy, but I suspect Atherton might have hit a few sixes if he played a T20. I say that because, although we have this notion that some batsmen just cannot do it - and for whatever reason - T20 with its shorter boundaries and lower value for your wicket give you the same opportunity to hit out as you would in the nets for your last couple of overs. Case in point, VVS Laxman, who I have hardly ever seen try and heave a six. If it should still be called a six, I'm beginning to wonder if DLF Maximum is actually a clever way of preserving the sanctity of real sixes.