Thursday, 14 January 2010

Pull the other one

Two out of form batsmen, two pull shots, one caught, one dropped, one gone for seven, one 137 not out... Well you know - is there a god or isn't there? Depends on which player you ask.

Last night I sat up to see the start of Australia-Pakistan. Katich lumbered in front of one early and got video-replayed out. Ponting came in and hoiked his first short ball to Mohammad Aamer. Didn't have to move. Spilled it like the U17 player he is... Ponting, remarkably, carried on pulling. It took him about two hours to hit one even half-decently.

This morning, Pietersen got in early against South Africa, drilled one down the ground like a man who'd remembered where his stumps were, then hoiked a short ball straight to midwicket. Wayne Parnell caught it like the U19 player so recently was.

Both shots seemed nervously offered, both though came from the machismo of the big player. Ponting played it because he'd told the press he was going to. He was raging against the dying of the light. Pietersen played it because in his head he's the kind of player who plays the pull shot. No surrender.

A coach will tell you to put the cross-bat shots away until your timing comes back and you can read the speed of the pitch. Yet Pietersen and Ponting and the like stand above conventional wisdom. They'll tell you that the pull shot is the symbol of their dominance. They just have to accept the capricious nature of fate from time to time.

9 comments:

Lou said...

One's playing Pakistan the other South Africa. The Gods have nothing to do with it.

Brit said...

KP will get a 100 in the second innings, mark my words.

Mark said...

Sorry Brit - but I doubt it. KP is all over the place at the moment. To use a colloquialism, he doesn't know if he wants a shit or a shave.

A couple of big scores against Bangladesh will put him right though.

The Old Batsman said...

Lou, yes, didn't think of that... I thought Asif took it quite well actually...

I wish I was thinking like Brit. I fear I'm thinking like Mark. What he needs is what Punter got - an outrageous slice of luck.

Lou said...

I believe that Asif (wonderful bowler that he is) is so used to it, it is a pleasant surprise when they take sitters more than a shock or a disappointment when they drop them.

KP has had plenty of luck in his career and this is his first proper dip in form. He'll be back to his commanding best sooner rather than later.

Ghanshyam Nair said...

Watching Pietersen play and miss Steyn a couple of times, he seemed quite ill-balanced, and was walking into all his straight-bat shots.
I think he moves about the crease way too much. Which is okay for some batsmen, but for someone with a stance as wide as his, he needs to stay still longer.
The shot that got him out, of course, had nothing to do with this. That's how he usually gets out.
But getting into a better-balanced position will, I think, increase the length of time spent at the crease and the number of runs scored between his soft/crazy dismissals.

Brit said...

Off topic, but I noticed that the not out decision on Smith's caught behind off Sidebottom wasn't overturned on referral even though it was obviously out. Darryl Harper can't be enjoying this referral business much. He is overruled on referral 50% of the time, and now on referring his referral, we find that currently 100% of his own referral decisons are wrong.

The Old Batsman said...

Just about to blog on that - TMS are saying that the SABC didn't give him the sound feed....

MJ said...

Ashes 2005, The Oval, KP dropped in the slips on 0, and again on 15 (by Warne!). Goes on to score 158, effectively saving the series.
You don't need to be playing a pull shot for the gods to get involved.