25 October, 2020

Keen Flesh, Young Blood

The Tendulkar example shows the importance of intitiation rituals

Keen Flesh, Young Blood

After so many seasons watching moderate England batting I some-times fantasise and see Sachin Tendulkar in an England sweater. But he is wooden. Gone is his poise and timing and wonderful flexibility: he is prodding forward to spin or wafting a hefty bat at balls rising outside the off stump. He might be called Sachin Stewart or Graeme Tendulkar. He looks the same until he moves and then he becomes Alec Stewart or Graeme Hick. It is a bit of a nightmare really.

England spends a lot of money trying to get Stewart, Hick and all to play like Sachin. There are countless coaches, bowling machines with eternal actions and, in order to get mind and body right, there are psychologists, psychiatrists, masseurs and masseuses, chaplains for pastoral care, mother confessors and patient priests so that the agonies of failure can pour out, but the vital truth about fine batting has never sunk home in my country.

The question to ask is, what age? How old is a great batsman? Answer—very young. There is very little chance of altering a player after the age of 23, bar the odd...



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