Tuesday 16 December 2008

Triggers With Attitude

With South Africa about to play in Perth, older heads might recall 1970, when Barry Richards flayed Australia in the only four Tests he played. 

Even the Batsman was too young to see it, but Richards became my first hero (here), and today, in need of a nostalgia fix, I found this on youtube. It's bad Baz making his third hundred in a week; 129 for Hants against Lancashire in a Gillette Cup match in '72. The voices of Laker and Benaud tumble down the years as he does it, too. 

His shotmaking is exactly as I remember it - especially the first six he hits - but his stance, with his back hunched and his feet almost together, and his grip, the back of his top hand facing the bowler, are not. 

What's more shocking though, is how still he stands. Richards and his fellows had never heard of trigger movements. They were as alien a concept as helmets (Bas doesn't even bother taking his sleeveless sweater off...).

The maxim of the old days was 'see it early, play it late', and that extended to how you moved. On the first day of last season, I was in the Nursery at Lord's watching Clive Radley working with his groundstaff  boys. Without exception, the batters had big trigger movements. It seemed to be part of their mental armour. One kid was essentially jumping at the ball with both feet. He moved more before it was bowled than he did afterwards. 

Barry once made fifty using just the leading edge of his bat in a club match. Check out his bat in the clip. It's so thin it's almost translucent. He is a god from a different time. And he once got 300 in a day in Perth - against Dennis Lillee. 


Anonymous said...

Unrelated to this post, but to a previous one.
Dravid has been asked to rest for a while by the chairman of indian selectors after the Mohali test match. Which means he'll play in Mohali for sure i think. If he takes rest after Mohali, his chances of coming back depends on how well his replacements perform.

Damith S. said...

ToB, I must tell your blog is one of my favorites. Love reading about the old generation. I am too young to have seen those legends.

Brilliant. Barry had a stint with SL as batting coach. We could surely use him now as well.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I am even older than the Batsman, so I can remember seeing innings like this at the time. So much power from such a tiny, tinny bat. Wonderful.

The position of the top wrist had seemed very unnatural to me until I was told (by an old Oxford Blue) that if you tucked your left wrist behind the handle, the only way to follow through would involve breaking said wrist. Alan Knott seemed to do all right, though...But by the time Richards came along, I was reconciled. The narrow stance remained absolutely orthodox until much later, although Bradman was the precedent for a wider placement of the feet.
As for trigger movements, these were never seen in good class cricket of any sort; stillness was all, as I'm sure you remember.