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Thread: Where are the Black Batsmen?

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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Where are the Black Batsmen?

    Where are the Black Batsmen?

    This CW Feature looks at why South Africa produces so few Black African cricketers and why the majority of those that actually do well are bowlers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snippet of Feature
    The wealthy schools in the big cities with a strong cricketing heritage, superior coaching and facilities will continue to produce quality batsmen in the greatest numbers. As long as they remain predominantly White then their products will be White. Increasingly, though, the wealthy schools are not producing the desired seam bowlers, and people are looking outside the traditional centres. In the future the numbers of Black African bowlers should continue to increase. However, it isn't as easy to be optimistic about the numbers of quality Black batsmen dramatically growing.
    Last edited by Goughy; 14-03-2008 at 07:00 PM.
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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    An excellent article - thank you for the analysis.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quite fascinating.

    Hope Nicole reads.
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    ret
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    I skimmed through the article so may have missed something but will comment from what i got from it

    In countries like India,

    1. most players don't come from families with a sporting backround
    2. the coaching facilities in general are not up to the mark .... even at the domestic level, there are complains of lack of proper coaching

    but still we have good quality players. esp batsmen, coming up .... i wonder how many of Ind gr8 batsmen would hv gone to previliged coaching facilities in their early years

    3. I don't get the point of the need of developing proper technique in early years for a batsmen while a bowler can start of late .... clearly, cricket has told us that it's bowlers who infact need special attention as even a wrong set of excercises could make them develop muscles at wrong places thus hurt their bowling performances .... 2ndly, there are instances of bowling centric players like Shastri, Imran, etc turn into better batsmen but the reverse has not been true, which makes me ponder if bowling is something that can be taken up anytime, while batting needs access to proper coaching from early years
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    Quote Originally Posted by ret View Post
    3. I don't get the point of the need of developing proper technique in early years for a batsmen while a bowler can start of late .... clearly, cricket has told us that it's bowlers who infact need special attention as even a wrong set of excercises could make them develop muscles at wrong places thus hurt their bowling performances .... 2ndly, there are instances of bowling centric players like Shastri, Imran, etc turn into better batsmen but the reverse has not been true, which makes me ponder if bowling is something that can be taken up anytime, while batting needs access to proper coaching from early years
    The physicality of being a bowler happens later. You can't start giving a bloke tons of overs young because they're not physically developed enough to handle the strain and as they grow their technique will necessarily change. Batsmen, on the other hand, can learn the fundamentals of batting earlier because, even with a huge growth spurt late in life, the way they bat is largely the same. It's why most places restrict the number of overs a bowler can bowl in a spell in youth cricket. And if you want an example of how much a sudden growth spurt can change the way you bowl, look at a bloke like Cullen Bailey for South Australia.

    As far as what Goughy said, it's true that there are certainly subtlties about batting that need to be learned from an early age because batting is more about feel for the game, reflexes, etc. as much as technique. Whereas bowling, particularly quick bowling, you can take up late. Nab any power athlete and with some coaching, you could probably get them bowling reasonably well. Batting has all of the neuromuscular stuff which needs to be developed from an early age.
    Last edited by Top_Cat; 14-03-2008 at 08:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat View Post
    The physicality of being a bowler happens later. You can't start giving a bloke tons of overs young because they're not physically developed enough to handle the strain and as they grow their technique will necessarily change. Batsmen, on the other hand, can learn the fundamentals of batting earlier because, even with a huge growth spurt late in life, the way they bat is largely the same. It's why most places restrict the number of overs a bowler can bowl in a spell in youth cricket. And if you want an example of how much a sudden growth spurt can change the way you bowl, look at a bloke like Cullen Bailey for South Australia.
    i m aware of the physical limits of early years .... even a young batsmen can't bat for 1 1/2 days as in test cricket. haven't you seen that the boundries are shorter when young blokes play .... techniques change for batsmen too, don't we hear abt the 'adjustments' that batsman make

    if a batsman is taught how to play the ball on the front/back foot, hit a cover drive, etc correctly then a bowler is taught how to roll his arm over, hold the seam, etc correctly too .... the relevance of technique in both cases is of equal importance

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    Quote Originally Posted by ret View Post
    the relevance of technique in both cases is of equal importance
    I agree with most of your post actually but I disagree quite a bit with that last sentence. The importance of bowling technique is indeed underplayed, but I'd never go as far to say it was just as relevant as batting technique.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ret View Post
    i m aware of the physical limits of early years .... even a young batsmen can't bat for 1 1/2 days as in test cricket. haven't you seen that the boundries are shorter when young blokes play .... techniques change for batsmen too, don't we hear abt the 'adjustments' that batsman make

    if a batsman is taught how to play the ball on the front/back foot, hit a cover drive, etc correctly then a bowler is taught how to roll his arm over, hold the seam, etc correctly too .... the relevance of technique in both cases is of equal importance
    I would argue that learning the correct technique, timing, etc. to play a cover drive takes far longer than learning how to roll your arm over, hold the seam, etc. One (batting) involves more than just motor parts of the brain (like bowling). It also uses central executive processing, etc. Rolling your arm over is, well, just that. Knowing how, when, etc. to play something like a cover drive is a different story. Bowling is more about learned behaviours, repetition, etc.

    I'm a bowler, myself and I can tell you that I've bowled many deliveries with correct technique and taken many wickets yet I can't remember the last time I played a lovely cover drive to the fence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat View Post
    I would argue that learning the correct technique, timing, etc. to play a cover drive takes far longer than learning how to roll your arm over, hold the seam, etc. One (batting) involves more than just motor parts of the brain (like bowling). It also uses central executive processing, etc. Rolling your arm over is, well, just that. Knowing how, when, etc. to play something like a cover drive is a different story. Bowling is more about learned behaviours, repetition, etc.

    I'm a bowler, myself and I can tell you that I've bowled many deliveries with correct technique and taken many wickets yet I can't remember the last time I played a lovely cover drive to the fence.
    wrong analogy

    timing the ball properly would be comparable to putting the ball in the right areas or something like that

    i guess that a batsman will tell you the opposite

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    Quote Originally Posted by ret View Post
    wrong analogy

    timing the ball properly would be comparable to putting the ball in the right areas or something like that

    i guess that a batsman will tell you the opposite
    Yeah but I'm not just talking about timing, am I? And again, the ability time the ball is cognitively more demanding than putting the ball in the right areas. There are many more components to playing a batting shot than there are to bowling a ball. Batting, you have to have technique, etc. up and running but you also have to make decisions as the ball comes down regarding it's line, length, movement, etc. You're reacting to what's happening which requires higher-level processing in terms of adjusting thinking as the situation changes such as whether the ball is quicker than you thought, swinging more than the last ball in the same area, how much it bounces, etc.

    Bowling, once you let go of the ball, it's over. You're no longer reacting to what's happening and it doesn't require the same ability to track or update situations quickly in the same way batting does. It's cognitively far less taxing and this is why these cognitions need to be developed from a far younger age whereas bowling, someone can come into fairly late. In fact, quite a few of the very best and most injury-free bowlers took it up seriously fairly late (Curtly, Glenn McGrath, etc.).
    Last edited by Top_Cat; 14-03-2008 at 08:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat View Post
    Yeah but I'm not just talking about timing, am I? There are many more components to playing a batting shot than there are to bowling a ball. Batting, you have to have technique, etc. up and running but you also have to make decisions as the ball comes down regarding it's line, length, movement, etc. You're reacting to what's happening which requires higher-level processing in terms of adjusting thinking as the situation changes such as whether the ball is quicker than you thought, swinging more than the last ball in the same area, how much it bounces, etc.

    Bowling, once you let go of the ball, it's over. You're no longer reacting to what's happening and it doesn't require the same ability to track or update situations quickly in the same way batting does. It's cognitively far less taxing and this is why these cognitions need to be developed from a far younger age whereas bowling, someone can come into fairly late.
    when a guy like Afridi is smacking the ball around without even moving his feet then all that does look easy doesn't it

    letting the ball go requires imagination, skill, etc too .... and entreprenuers will tell you that setting something in motion is a difficult thing

    then you are unnecessarily pondering on to things like whats more difficult, action or reaction, which is again subjective and out of place in this discussion

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    Quote Originally Posted by ret View Post
    then you are unnecessarily pondering on to things like whats more difficult, action or reaction, which is again subjective and out of place in this discussion
    It's not subjective at all. fMRI studies for decades have shown which sort of brain machinations require more effort, are slower/faster, which ones develop and at what age, etc. It's entirely relevant to this discussion and not uneccessary at all. It stands to reason and the research backs it up that reacting to a fast-changing situation (batting) is an exponentially more complex problem to deal with than, say, thinking about what ball to bowl next and where as they use different parts of the brain at different speeds, etc. The skillset to be a good batsman is entirely different to that of a bowler and, considering the above and available research on such brain behaviour, takes longer to develop fully. This isn't my opinion on the matter, much psych literature is behind what I'm saying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat View Post
    It's not subjective at all. fMRI studies for decades have shown which sort of brain machinations require more effort, are slower/faster, which ones develop and at what age, etc. It's entirely relevant to this discussion and not uneccessary at all. It stands to reason and the research backs it up that reacting to a fast-changing situation (batting) is an exponentially more complex problem to deal with than, say, thinking about what ball to bowl next and where as they use different parts of the brain at different speeds, etc. The skillset to be a good batsman is entirely different to that of a bowler and, considering the above and available research on such brain behaviour, takes longer to develop fully. This isn't my opinion on the matter, much psych literature is behind what I'm saying.
    haha, so based on your point, i guess, fielding which is an event of reacting after a batsman has hit the ball should be 'technically' more difficult than batting

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    Quote Originally Posted by ret View Post
    haha, so based on your point, i guess, fielding which is an event of reacting after a batsman has hit the ball should be 'technically' more difficult than batting
    You are so not getting it.

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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ret View Post
    I skimmed through the article so may have missed something but will comment from what i got from it

    In countries like India,

    but still we have good quality players. esp batsmen, coming up .... i wonder how many of Ind gr8 batsmen would hv gone to previliged coaching facilities in their early years

    3. I don't get the point of the need of developing proper technique in early years for a batsmen while a bowler can start of late
    Firstly, Id rather you actually read the piece if you are going to make comments disagreeing with it

    Secondly the situation is quite different to that of India. India has large numbers of the population playing cricket at a young age and wanting to be cricketers. It may just be street cricket or tennis ball cricket but it is important in batting for it to feel natural and a 2nd instinct to be developed. This familiarity with the sport from a young age exists in India but not Black South Africa. Technique isnt essentially added as a tiny boy, it is added later upon a foundation of being comfortable with the bat and hitting the ball. You make comparisons with India, as I said there are a number of reasons why this is different to India, however the Indian system is also hardly efficient at producing talent. There are a billion people in India and the system inefficiently produces talent below that of Australia with a pop of 18 million.

    As for your final point about being able to come to bowling late. It happens. Over coaching of seam bowlers is a common theme in selectorial talks in modern day cricket.

    Increasingly bowlers that are newer to the game and with a less forced and technical action are being looked for as they generally have greater potential, understand their own games better (as they worked it out for themselves) and bowl quicker.
    Last edited by Goughy; 15-03-2008 at 01:41 AM.

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