Legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar recently opened up on the increased frequency of concussion incidents in recent months, hinting that the way batsmen play short balls may be a cause for the same.
Multiple batsmen have been hit on the head by bouncers in recent weeks, which has led to concussion substitutes, with players missing games. Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was ruled out of the T20 series with a concussion, while Australian cricketer Will Pucovski met with the same fate during the Australia A vs India practice match a few days ago.
Now, Sunil Gavaskar, who is regarded as one of the best openers of the game, has expounded how the batsmen’s technique may have a lot to do with the increased cases of concussion.
Sunil Gavaskar has his say on concussion cases
During an interview alongside former Australian captain Allan Border for Sony, Sunil Gavaskar talked about how batsmen will have to ride the bounce and get onto the back foot to counter the short-pitched deliveries. Sunil Gavaskar claimed that not many batsmen are doing that, as he pointed out that they are instead getting onto the front foot while they face the bouncers. The iconic opener then expounded how doing that could end up “locking” the batsman.
"In Australia you want to ride the bounce, get onto back foot so you are able to ride the bounce - which is not what a lot of people are doing today. They are so much onto their front foot, they are not able to transfer their weight and then get out of the way. As a batsman, you tend to get a little bit locked."
Sunil Gavaskar said that the batsmen’s technique is the main reason behind them getting hit on the helmet much more often now. The opener pointed out how their stance, which is in between the crease, is giving them less time when it comes to reacting to the short-pitched deliveries. This, according to him, is the reason behind the increased cases of concussion being observed lately.
“Most of the times batsmen getting hit on the helmet are in between the crease: where their front foot is outside the crease and their back foot in the crease. You will very seldom find a batsman getting hit if both his feet are inside the crease, near the stumps, because it has given the batsman that extra yard to either duck under the ball or sway out of the way. But that is not what is happening and that is the reason I believe they are getting hit."
Sunil Gavaskar’s advice on how to play short-pitched deliveries correctly
The former Indian captain then also offered his take on the correct technique when it comes to playing bouncers. Referring to Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s proficiency while playing the bouncer, Sunil Gavaskar pointed out that it is his back-and-across movement that allows him to wait on the back foot for the short ball.
“Rahul Dravid, he used to wait on the back foot [to play] back-and-across. Sachin Tendulkar had a minimal front press, not a big front press. Therefore, he was still balanced when he played the short ball."
Notably, Sunil Gavaskar got hit on the head only once during the course of his playing career, despite never wearing a helmet. With the iconic opener’s sound take on the topic of batting technique while facing bouncers, fans certainly now know why the cases of concussion have risen of late.Published 16 Dec 2020, 15:15 IST