New Delhi: If a player like Suresh Raina fails in Test cricket due to lack of technique against short pitched deliveries, it will be a big loss for the game, former Australian captain Ian Chappell has said.
Chappell said to negotiate bodyline stuffs from fast bowlers a batsman needs proper technique, which is something that can be taught. The former Australian skipper said the game cannot lose players of the calibre of Raina and England’s young batsman Jonny Bairstow, simple because they cannot handle "short balls' exam".
"Both Bairstow and Raina are talented players with the skill to make big scores in the Test arena. The game needs young players like them to succeed, because they are extremely entertaining cricketers. If they fall short of expectations, it could be the result of inadequate preparation for a future at Test level," the Australian wrote in his column for a website.
"If a young batsman isn't fully prepared, he faces the daunting prospect of trying to survive at the highest level while fighting with one hand tied behind his back. My South Australian captain, Les Favell, a fierce proponent of the horizontal bat shots, often said: 'At international level you must be able to hook or cut to succeed and it's better if you can play both'," Chappell added.
Chappell said if a player is inadequately prepared while playing at international level, chances are that he may fade away despite being talented. "It's imperative that batsmen not only survive but prosper against the short ball. It's possible for a batsman to take a boxer's approach of bobbing and weaving for a while but against better attacks that method has a limited life span. Raina found this out in the series against England," he said.
Chappell said the coaches should spot the exceptional talents and start preparing them for Test cricket from an early age. "Cricket has made some tremendous advances in the process of becoming fully professional at international level. However, I'm not sure enough thought has been given to the preparation of young players for a possible international future. Putting the best coaches in charge of the most talented young cricketers would be a good start.
"Cricket can't afford to have talented individuals fall short of the international level purely because their technique failed. Temperament can be a matter of fortune but skill can be honed," he said. "Hopefully Bairstow and Raina will get their games sorted out and go on to have successful Test careers."