Saturday, February 9, 2008

Tendulkar offers batting tips to youngsters

Sachin Tendulkar has offered valuable technical tips to the younger members of the Indian team in the training sessions in Melbourne ahead of the ODI against Australia on February 10.

Tendulkar advised Robin Uthappa and Suresh Raina on techniques to adapt to the conditions and the pitches in Australia, suggested tips to Rohit Sharma to improve his front-foot drives and counselled Gautam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary on their stance.

Gambhir was told not to have a completely side-on position at the crease, and instead open up his stance for a slightly two-eyed look at the bowler. This would allow him to offer the full face of the bat, and help him play through the on side more effectively.

"The plan is simple, see the ball, hit the ball and play in the 'V," Gambhir had earlier revealed his theory of batting in Australia. "The conditions here give a batsman full value for his strokes, though you need a lot of courage and determination. It's difficult to get on to the front foot when you are facing genuine quick bowlers like Brett Lee or Mitchell Johnson but there is very little chance when you are sitting on the back foot." Tendulkar's tips are designed to enable Gambhir score more freely in his preferred area down the ground.

It is learnt that Tendulkar, while praising Rohit for his back-foot play, was keen that he leans more on to his strokes while driving through the off side to add more power and punch. After his session with Tendulkar, Rohit had his batting video taped by the team's computer analyst Dhananjay.

Rohit considers Tendulkar his favourite player and has sought his advice in the past too. In an earlier interview with Rediff, Rohit said, "It [Tendulkar's advice] was very different from what you always hear from coaches. I mean what he said was practical, based on his own vast experience. He also told me when to take singles and twos and also when and how to accelerate, and so on and so forth. Believe me, it was very, very different from what we juniors hear from others almost every day."

Tendulkar worked with Uthappa and Manoj Tiwary too. Uthappa's tendency to commit himself to the front foot came in for scrutiny, and Tendulkar suggested a slight sideways trigger movement instead of a big stride forward.

Tendulkar noted that Tiwary places his feet too close to each other in his stance, which inhibits his movement either forward or back. Like he did with Gambhir, Tendulkar suggested that Tiwary open up in his stance which would help him drive towards mid-off and mid-on rather than committing himself to a cover drive.

Tendulkar has also advised the youngsters to opt for lighter bats on the bouncier pitches of Australia as it would allow them to move more quickly into position.