Tip of the day: Dravid's wisdom to young cricketer

Written by: D Ram Raj
Published: Friday, October 25, 2002, 18:09 [IST]
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Bangalore: "The game of cricket has lost its sheen" is an oft repeated complaint in this era of commercialisation. But, a few gentleman players like Rahul Sharad Dravid have kept the traditions of the game aloft.

With India getting a break in between the second and third Test against West Indies, scheduled to be played at Kolkata from October 30, Rahul Dravid and his teammate Anil Kumble were at the gymnasium of the Karnataka State Cricket Association Stadium. That's nothing new as modern day cricketers are expected to be fit as a fiddle.

But, Rahul also spent valuable time on sharing his wealth of experience in tackling an off spinner with a young and aspiring cricketer Sudhindra Shinde. "The use of the crease is absolutely important while tackling an off spinner," Dravid told Karnataka's young batsman Sudhindra Shinde.

"The supple use of feet is another key area. Please don't commit your front foot firmly on the crease. Then you'll get stuck and will not be able to play the off spinner correctly. When the off spinner pegs away on the middle or leg stump, always try to play him on the on side...ideally you should be aiming to play to the left of mid on," Dravid explained as he showed the young batsman how to play the strokes.

"Depending on the length of the ball, you can even go on the back foot and flick the ball to the deep. This is an important armoury against off spinners as they get a little unsettled with that kind of a stroke. But, remember the use of the crease is the most crucial," he said.

"Only if the ball is pitched well outside the off stump can you think of padding it away or stroking it on the off side. As a cardinal rule try to play the off spinner on the on side and don't stretch out too far...stay on your toes so that you can adjust your stroke depending on the length," he added.

And Sudhindra Shinde was indeed happy to have received these pearls of wisdom from India's most technically perfect batsman. Dravid and Anil Kumble in fact were training at the gym under the watchful eyes of Karnataka State Cricket Association physiotherapist Ramkant.

"The cricketers basically have to tone up the muscles when they get breaks during a season. They spend about one and half hours at the gym during season. The physical training regimen will depend on the season... if it is the off season, they can train up to two and half hours," Ramakant told Thatscricket.com.

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