Those able to watch the first ODI match between India and England played at Pune yesterday were able to feast on a diet of 750 runs, without the slightest fear of indigestion. It was a great spectacle.
It was also a funny old wicket.
Few batsman managed a decent pull shot, which suggested variable pace, there were a few dabs and flicks but surely most of the runs came from drives or was it just the stunning nature of these shots – especially from Kholi and Buttler – that gave a false impression?
And this revealed a delightful irony of the modern game: with all the new shots that have come into cricket in the last decade; reverses, ramps and switches; it is actually the good old drive that seems to have undergone the greatest transformation.
People point to the bats, and yes, they are softly pressed and the willow more evenly dispersed across the blade, but they are not unduly ‘heavy’ or heavier than those used in the 1970s.
Where then comes the increased range of the lofted drive, especially, and the increased pace at which the ball comes off the blade?
Above is an image of Buttler that reveals all. Ask any American weekend golfer what’s going on and they’ll tell you. But how many cricketers?
It’s the ‘L’.
It’s an ‘L’ of a shot.