Sunil Gavaskar is of the opinion that batsmen should work hard on their temperament © Getty Images
Sunil Gavaskar is of the opinion that batsmen should work hard on their temperament © Getty Images

Sunil Gavaskar shared some words of wisdom on tackling swing bowling in Test cricket. When pitches are bowling friendly with a lot of bounce, seam and movement it gets difficult for many talented batsmen to play on them. According to him, the problem gets even more difficult when you are facing the likes of Stuart Broad, who is one of the best pace bowlers in present day Test cricket. This is exactly what happened to Australia when they were bowled out for a meager 60 in the first day of the Trent Bridge Test. Broad took eight wickets for 15 runs and broke the backbone of the Australian team. READ: Stuart Broad shows a rare glimpse of history in Ashes 2015 4th Test at Trent Bridge

In a conversation with The Hindu Gavaskar said, “You need to know where your off-stump is. The guard you take is an important aspect. The guard you take is one that should be according to your height and right eye if you are a right-hander, or left eye if you are a left-hander. This plays a huge role on surfaces where there is seam movement and swing. On flat pitches, where the ball doesn’t move as much, you can get away with it, but not where there is movement.” ALSO READ: Ashes 2015: Darren Lehmann admits mistakes in team selection

Gavaskar is widely regarded as the best technically correct batsman of all times. While sharing his insights on what needs to be done to improve your technique he said, “Different batsmen take different guards, but the important thing is that the right eye for a right-hander should be on the line of his off-stump when he bends down in his stance. The left eye will pick the line and length; the right eye will be the guiding line because it is on the off-stump. When the combination is at work, you know which one to play and which one to leave.”

According to Gavaskar, the technique followed by most batsmen today is different from his times. Today everyone stands pretty much upright. He added, “You stand down in the normal stance for the first tap of the bat and as the bowler runs in, you stand up. You lose sight of where your off-stump is.” Gavaskar was all praise for Murali Vijay and said that the Australian batsmen should take a leaf out of his batting. He said, “Vijay was outstanding. His judgment around the off-stump was virtually flawless. He left deliveries that were pitching just outside the off-stump. That is the ball most batsmen look to play at.”

66 year old former Indian captain is of the opinion “Someone you thought was technically accomplished like Cheteshwar Pujara faltered because his judgment outside the off-stump wasn’t all that great. This is why Virat Kohli had problems last year in England — his judgment around his off-stump wasn’t quite there. Again, it is the standing up. Virat stands up, which you need to do on Australian or South African pitches where the ball has extra bounce and you are able to get on top of the ball. But when he stands up in seaming, swinging conditions, there could be problems.”

He further said that modern day batsmen lack one of the most important skills to play Test cricket– soaking pressure and having a lot of patience and concentration times. He conceded, “I was blessed with concentration. Even today, if I am in a crowded room reading a book and there is a lot of noise around, I would be able to do so without being disturbed.” Gavaskar also believes that temperament can enable batsmen to compensate their limitations in technique.

“Even in England, if the temperament is there, you gradually make the adjustments technically. Eventually, your temperament guides your technique. At the highest level, it is always the temperament that separates the men from the boys. In England, you have to wait for the ball than reach out for it.”

On being asked about K.L. Rahul‘s batting talent and technique Gavaskar phonated, “I saw him score a few runs in Melbourne and liked the look of him then. All I said at that stage was he should be a little bit choosy in deciding which ball to pull. He did that to a large extent in Sydney. He seems to be a compulsive hooker and puller. Playing it against the right-armer might be easier than doing so against a left-armer who is angling the ball across your right shoulder or back shoulder. That is something he needs to keep in mind.”