How to stay as a student of the game forever!

Does a good student make a successful cricketer? Reputed coach Arun Bharadwaj, who has nurtured thousands of talent at Delhi’s own National Stadium, says “being a good student of the game” is the only way forward. “You have to be a perpetual student of the game. Be it a player or a coach — it is a never-ending journey,” Bharadwaj told SGTV.

“Excellence is also a journey, and when you set yourself up on that journey, you have to study all aspects of the game. There are technical,  physical, and mental aspects, and you have to address these areas to do your job adequately. It is important for the players and coaches to study all these very fascinating aspects,” Bharadwaj, a former teammate of Mohinder Amaranth in his Under-19 days, said.

He then said he loves studying books — the MCC coaching manuals to the Art of Cricket written by Sir Donald Bradman. “I remember Chetan Chauhan getting me a book from Australia during the 1979 series on national cricket coaching. Hunger and desire are important to learn more about the game. People will be ready to help you,” he reminisced.

Why is cricket a side-on game? “If you want to see a successful batsman, you have to be a side-on batsman. Only with a side-on position, a straight bat shot is possible. You can meet the ball below your head, you can play on both sides of the wickets, you can judge the merit of the ball, and you can take effective and evasive action against bouncers because you give the ball a small target to hit your body. Once you square up, the bouncer target becomes big,” Bharadwaj explained.

Therefore, one has to practice diligently to become a good cricketer. Because it is unnatural for the body to play a game in a side-on position rather than being open-chested – be it while batting, bowling or fielding. 

So, how does one describe a late out-swinger? “Late out-swing is that delivery which swings away from a batsman in the last yard of its strike,” Bharadwaj said minutes before signing off.