The modern day notion of close similarity between the batting of Sachin Tendulkar and Don Bradman, we feel, sets up a massive stumbling block towards any understanding of Bradman's 'Rotary' style of play.
Short in stature, each display a certain compactness of technique together with the compelling desire to score runs. Under scrutiny, however, here similarity ends. Most observers understand Tendulkar uses a very heavy bat which he raises in premeditated fashion to address the bowler. While at interview, he suggests great batting is mostly about quickness of the hands and stillness of the head. Possessing both these qualities and using a bat almost a third lighter in weight, Bradman also advocated:- "Footwork to be one of the keys to unlock the innermost secrets of batsmanship."
During the 'One Day Matches' to be played over the next few weeks, Australians, perhaps for the final time, will be able to appreciate at first hand Tendulkar's greatness and craft. While I will forever reflect on the privilege of witnessing his double hundred at the SCG when over in 2004, herein lies an opportunity to compare his method with that of Bradman as shown within 'The Roar' article 'The Centenary of Bradman's birth.'
The film of Bradman executing the cover drive, the quick footed straight drive, his famous pull through midwicket and the cut, demonstrates clearly much of what we need to know of his continuous batting process. The co-ordination and fluidity of movement with head, bat and body compact as they close on the ball, together with the quickness and nimbleness of foot necessary for getting into the correct hitting position. The balance and poise of a perfect contact is followed and enhanced by the automatic turning of the wrists, so playing the ball safely to ground. To complete the process of these strokes, the bat continues its natural path and flow in the manner of the full 'Bradman' follow through as depicted in bronze beside the 'Adelaide Oval' where he scored so many runs.
This single piece of film differentiates between Tendulkar's method, or that of any other batsman we have seen, while showing 'The Art of Don Bradman's Batting' in all its simplicity as it perfectly reflects Greg Chappell's profound conclusion:- "Understanding and perfecting the core principles of motion as they apply to natural human movement, not technique, is what makes successful cricketers."
Should interested observers wish to compare the film of Bradman with Tendulkar out in the middle during these matches, then perhaps the 'Myth' of their similarity can be defused once and for all. When questioned as to why others do not adopt his style of play, Bradman's simple response:- " I think it's because they are coached not to do it. It's a different technique." is worthy of full consideration.
As cricket writer Philip Derriman once so aptly wrote in 'The Sydney Morning Herald':- "It is not as if Bradman was better than other people at doing the same thing." Clearly, he did a different thing, the most discernible being a balanced stillness at the crease and the uplifting of the bat from between the feet with a continuous 'Rotary' action through to completion of all his strokes.
When 'The Boy from Bowral' arrived in the City with a high scoring record behind him, there was no shortage of 'experts' suggesting he conform to the batting tenets of the day. Fortunately for the game of cricket, the young Bradman possessed both the confidence and personality to withstand this advice. But not, however, before experimenting in the nets with both his own style and the recommended methods, which he found "Had greater limitations in versatile strokemaking." Here, Bradman is telling us even he could not have achieved such outstanding success had he adopted the game's accepted techniques.
This leaves us to speculate whether Sachin Tendulkar, with his huge natural and developed talent, could have closed the statistical gap with Bradman had he, as a young player, also experimented with both methods and then settled upon Bradman's "Continuous 'Rotary' Batting Process."
Given the will and
the timing, motion
and workings of Don
Technique' can and
should be harnessed
and established for
the benefit of all
cricketers just as
any other method of
play. What better
way to celebrate the
'Centenary of the
'Don's' birth' on
the 27th August
webmaster: The reference to 'The Roar' is to an Australian website.