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Test Batting is mean, very mean!!!

Nastiness… Spiteful wickets… Spiteful bowlers…

Cricket can be mean to the innocents, those naive, wide-eyed batsmen making their test debuts in excruciating batting conditions against crafty bowlers, spewing venom.

Test bowlers, as a general rule, give nothing away. Absolutely nothing. It’s their nature. It’s their core essence. At least, not for no price.

A test batsman has to give bowlers attention and understanding. Or, more deeply, pay concentration to their words.Bowlers communicate with the ball.

Dedication is more than a virtue in tests. It is a necessity. A self-indulgent test batsman, a specialist at that, is a burden to his team. No exception to this rule. A Phil Simmons, expressing his desire to dominate opening test bowlers, in a wild and wanton manner, was consigned to the rubbish-bin of mediocrity. Test match is not for personal ease and effortless self-expression.

Unless you are comfortable with responsibility. Unless you follow it’s stern demands. Unless you are born great as a test batsman.

The depth of healthy nerve is the beginning. It’s more or less a Constitutional given. It takes a Carl Hooper to work around excruciating neediness of the steady and healthy force of batting personality to squeeze-worthy test runs. Nervous jitters have to be acknowledged, addressed to, taken care of and dealt with aptly and adequately.

If a character is what you are in the dark, the persona is what is seen of you, in searching day-light. The softness of psychic disposition as a test batsman is a huge liability (Ramprakash, Rutherford, Hick)unless your luck, other genetic givens and willingness to court complete wear-down by steely and sensible grind comes to the fore(Ricky Ponting).

As a test batsman, you can’t be NOT yourself for too long. Exigencies of situations may require you to go against your innate batting grain, but eventually, time will catch up with your true batting soul.

A contorted test batting mind is not allowed free play. Mike Brearley. Your batting heart is by default your real, essential nature as a human being. Tendencies of your blood are revealed by your deeds.

The person inside you is exposed when you bat in tests. Test matches last so long. Five days…for heaven’s sake… A specialist test batsman can’t hide. He can’t betray himself. Not for too long, at least.He can play tricks, indulge in bull-crap and have his day under the sun, but if he fools around without respecting the basic tenets of test batsmanship, heavens help him.

Sometimes, Gods help.

You have to grow up and evolve your test batting brain to meet the requirements of the circumstances… It could also involve training your body.

Rahul dravid test batting

Mere thrill-seeking goes unrewarded in tests. Srikkanth. A Hooper, a Ponting, a Laxman may last so long in tests, with all their imperfections and incompleteness….they suited themselves. It also involved meeting the need of the hour, not maybe all times, but making good when it mattered a great deal…then they could live with their faults.

A Lamb, a Gatting, an Ijaz Ahmed and a Sandeep Patil could walk only so far..their follies derailed their journey. A Kim Hughes took a lot of vitriol poured down his cricketing throat personally. His test batting being died prematurely. A Naseer Hussain and a John Wright embraced their test batting mediocre selves and gave their all to test batting. It was hardly adequate, but they tried, with all their might.
The long way of correct, efficacious test batting is narrow, up-hill and steep.

Unless you are the chosen one, you collapse midway. Unless you are a Ponting, you can’t get away with murder.

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