In the world of cricket none has yet achieved heights as that of the great Donald Bradman. His batting average of 99.94 is not only the greatest in cricket but also one of the top performance in any form of sports. There are many cricket analyst and connoisseurs who closely followed the buildup of the batsman analyzing his approach to the game. The best accounts are from Shillinglaw's analysis of Bradman and that of research scientists like Tim Noakes. Tim Shillinglaw's analysis has revealed the most substantial aspect of Bradman's success of being on the top. It was the natural learning that did not restrict him to specific bowling styles. Strikingly, this aspect of the batsman is also the reason that has restricted others to follow his footprints.
Bradman's first practice of cricket was at his home using a cricket stump to hit a golf ball. The ball was thrown to a water tank at a distance of eight feet and the kid hit when the ball bounced back. Bradman as a junior cricketer received no formal coaching for the game and he developed an eccentric method of batting that is based on concentration and the diversity of bowling style. Hence, a closer observation reveals that his methods was customizable and in fact, he followed no fixed rules.
The statistical superiority attained by Bradman is by far higher than any other batsmen and the figures raise the question if a next Bradman will ever appear. There are claims that he had physical superiority of better eye sight and faster mental response that allowed him to react quickly to bowlers. However, facts suggest otherwise. He neither had a superior eyesight nor did he have faster response. He was discharged from Australian Army during World War II because of poor eyesight and a psychophysical test at the Adelaide University revealed that his reaction was slower than average students.
Series of observations, research and study affirmed the fact that Bradman utilized the revolutionary technique which is referred to as the famous 'rotary' method. In contrast to traditional styles, he did not maintain any inline grip while holding the bat. Inline grip is the vertical alignment of the V's that are created by the thumb and forefinger of both the hands while holding the bat. Secondly, Bradman positioned his bat between both his feet, while conventional method suggests that the bat should be positioned behind the back foot. Thirdly, he used his lower grip as a fulcrum and pushed the top end downwards to back lift the bat. This was in contrary to conventional methods that propose an in line wicket to wicket back lift. Lastly, Bradman swing his bat forming an arc and the back towards the plane of the ball in the downswing.
Bradman's unique method is a combination of these factors that does not follow the normal patterns of batting rules. His childhood practice with a stump to hit a fast moving golf ball enabled him to maintain better coordination between the bat and the ball and to act quicker than average batsmen.
Batting is an art and it is open to innovation. The only reason why there has been no new Bradman is the fact that conventional techniques and coaching does not allow out-of-the-box practices and innovations in batting style. Dilshan's Dilscoop, Petersen's Switch Hit, Dhoni's Chopper Shots never had a coach to propel a dynamism to such an extent. It is only self-endeavor to excel that can make a batsman to perform above average and create milestones.
Offering adequate leeway to batsman on the making to develop their own techniques should be the underlying principle of coaching. The Don of cricket would have never restricted any players to books and manuals, rather he would have set a clear avenue for them to grow as unique batsman with exclusive shots of their own.
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