Cricket is a bat and ball game which plays in a field with a 22 yard long pitch in the center of it. Batting is part of the game where a certain skill is required to play a moving ball at a healthy speed. In the present circumstances batting has become the premier entertainment of the game. Ever since a child is sent to Cricket practices by parents what they say to the coach is that to make him a Sangakkara, a Mahela or a Sachin, putting it in to a simple equation, a batting sensation.
It’s not easy to bat. The ball is moving and is coming at you at a high speed which might swing or seam depending on the conditions and many other factors as I’ve mentioned in “The Forgotten Bit in Batting”. Moreover it bounces (at least) once before it reaches the batsman. Batting is all about scoring runs while defending your wicket. To score runs a batsman has to survive for a long period and score runs as much as possible. Batting is not all about offering the bat to the ball but playing strokes where footwork is important. That’s when the technique comes. Batting might come naturally to someone as a born skill while another might have to toil hard to develop the skill.
As I’ve had mentioned in the blog post which is referred earlier, it finally comes down to instincts of a batsman. The ball is coming at you say 125 kilometers per hour within a 22 yard long pitch. It takes around 0.576 seconds to reach the batsman, which is about a blink of an eye. A batsman has to spot the ball out of bowler’s hands and to determine which line the ball is coming, on which length the ball pitches, from where to where the ball is swinging, whether to play on the off, straight or leg, whether to leave, whether to play back or forward, whether to attack or defense, etc. within that 0.576 seconds. That judgment has to be precise before taking action which is to offer a stroke.
So it comes down to natural instincts. Breaking down the line it’s about seeing the ball and hitting the ball. Though the trajectory, equipment and the context changes batting is like playing Table Tennis. You see the once bounced ball at different speeds coming at you at different trajectories from different places of your side which is 1.525 meters wide of the 2.74 meters long table.
Though the ball park and everything changes in the two games there are certain dynamics which are similar when you have a closer look at it.
First, batting is done by hitting the ball by a bat where in TT (referred to Table Tennis) a racket is used. In Cricket what primarily a batsman do is playing strokes and placing it out of the reach of fielders of the opposition to the ball coming at you where in TT a player is trying to strike or place the ball to the other half of the table out of the reach of the opponent, thus you get the runs.
Batting requires a solid base and balance at the moment of meeting the ball with the bat. Thus nimble footwork is essential, if not compulsory. You got to move forward, backward, back and across and assess in order. In TT you got to move quickly and make a solid base too, so that you could hit the ball wherever you want. You got to step back, move forward and move around the table in quick successions, where footwork is absolutely vital. In both sports it’s a bumped ball which is coming at you. So you got to make a quick judgment over trajectory, line and length and act accordingly.
Batting requires hand-eye coordination to a considerable extent as things happen very quickly where natural instincts take over. So does stroking in TT. It’s a tiny ball travelling and almost disappearing and you got to let your natural instincts take over, otherwise you will get caught in between.
In both sports the ball coming at the batsman or a player, dips, spins, swings and does whatever it does in different speeds. So controlling of your stroke has to be precise. This requires a good wrist work. Survival, attack and placement require a strong wrist, where as in TT you can’t leave the ball at any circumstance.
In TT if you got a better opponent you are pushed to the wall and so does in batting where if you have to face a very good bowler, and it can be threatening as both try to intimidate you and take the game away from you.
One would argue that TT is a sport with a bumped ball and a racket and have a one on one battle on a tiny little table and so would Tennis where the ball travels pretty close to of a leather ball and almost the same distance. Why I don’t like to have a comparison with Tennis is that you got to cover more area in Tennis than that in batting and TT. Tennis is a mixture of department as that of Cricket and has a different dynamics as there is a lot of physical effort associated with it as it involves running around to play the ball.
You would have seen a lot of similarities there of batting and TT. Hand-eye coordination is vital in Cricket and I think playing TT can be a good exercise for a cricketer, especially for a batsman where he can perform where he can develop the skill as well as little things like wrist work, judgment, balance, footwork and certain many things that I might have missed during the post.