In and Out of the Pool – An England Selection Test

Out: the England selectors have sent James Anderson poolside for some R and R.  Appropriate given his resemblance to Peter Getting Out of Nick’s Pool.  

In: Jonny Bairstow, the low handed slapper, who the West Indies caught wearing one at Lord’s and several at Trent Bridge.

His is a technique suited to reversing and quick scoring on low and slow surfaces, but looks shockingly suspect in Test cricket. 

Note the perfect example of the low handed slap with tell-tale horizontal elbows, below, and the direction in which the ball has been hit.

And from a different angle, same shot but another match:

There was much moaning that in county cricket Bairstow would not have been exposed to the pace and hostility of a Roach.   But the following image might have been of his first ball at Trent Bridge … but it isn’t. 

It is difficult to get hands above the ball with his technical approach and modifying something so ingrained could take more than the ten days between the Second and Third Tests.



Filed under Just a quick brush

4 responses to “In and Out of the Pool – An England Selection Test

  1. the selectors say that James Taylor has a technical fault but after the frst test against Australia, it seems clear that Bairstow has been worked out by the Australian bowlers. It also looks as if Root might be a bit bottom-handed as well. It seems odd that this has bot been worked on at previous stages in their careers. Graeme Smith is ver much the exception that proves the rule here – closing the bat-face is not usually the best way of scoring runs

  2. The technique is not quite the same as Smith’s, in TM’s opinion, but as played by the ‘moderns’ the grip works for T20 and limited overs cricket – and such guys are blessed with eyes and instincts that make using it in championship cricket rarely problematic.

    You may recall Third Man describe the Round the Clock game. Bowling machine set at 70 mph – enough random action on the ball. Feeder drops the ball into the machine and calls a number between 1 and 10 corresponding to positions from very fine leg via over the bowlers head to very fine on the off side.

    No matter what ball is bowled a modern young play has now to be able to play it to any of those 10 areas. The call is 3. It must go to midwicket. If you think about it, the optimum grip for such a game is bottom handed and the hands are low when striking the ball – sweeps, reverse sweeps, slog sweeps, cuts, smacks, flicks, flamingos, pulls (which are now played up and not down).

    Other games of this ilk: scoring only against the spin. This is how it is being deliberately developed.

    Against very good bowling top handed defense is possible, top handed attack? What’s that?

    Thanks as ever for taking an interest, Diogenes.

  3. top-handed attack can be done, I believe, but the top-hand has to be worked on. For example, when Middlesex played Kent in the 60s and the game was petering out into a draw, if Cowdrey were facing Titmus, there might come a request to play some shots. So JT Murray would call a shot as Titmus was running up and Cowdrey had to execute it. It would be interesting to see this happening – those anecdotal reports are at best sketchy as to the outcome.

    But from the same vintage, Tom Graveney seemed to be able to work the ball at will with a very top-handed grip right at the end of the handle – even hooking off the front-foot. Someone on commentary said that Shane Watson was the most front-footed batsman he had ever seen… Maybe he took lessons from Tom!

  4. D,

    “Top handed attack? what’s that?” was feeble satire, not the opinion of TM 😉

    Agar’s movement of his back (left) foot to leg (opening up the off-side) was reminiscent of Tom Graveney whose ‘trigger’ was also a movement of the back (right) foot to leg.


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