Staying at the wicket is an art: Mohan Raj

The former opener laments that present Hyderabad batsman lack planning

By Author  |  Published: 19th Feb 2020  12:13 amUpdated: 19th Feb 2020  1:04 am
Mohan Raj
PURE CLASS: Vijay Mohan Raj said the batsman has to be intelligent and cited the example of Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar. — File Photo

Hyderabad: Batting was the biggest Achilles’ heel for Hyderabad batsmen this season. That Hyderabad suffered three innings defeats points out to the vulnerability of the batsmen. The lack of application or lack of basics or poor technique led to the poor show by the batsmen.

Former opener Vijay Mohan Raj, who played for Mumbai and Hyderabad, said lack of technique and poor planning led to a miserable show by the batsmen. “If a batsman has the basics and techniques correct, it is easy to adapt to any situations or conditons. This was found wanting by the Hyderabad batsmen in all the categories. It is all about focus and this comes with a lot of batting sessions at the nets,’’ said Mohan Raj, who was known for his stout batting in his heydays.

The former left-handed opener, who scored a double century in the Ranji Trophy final in 1986-87, was blunt by saying the technique is all wrong among the young batsman as it is not sound. “Patience is very important for any batsmen. If one goes by Hyderabad batsmen’s performance, there were hardly any centuries or any big partnerships. That led to their early downfall.’’

Mohan Raj said staying at the wicket is an art and it needs a lot of hard work at the nets. “For instance, rotation of strike is very crucial to build an innings or forge a big partnership. It is not about hitting boundaries and sixes. For a batsman to score a century, he has to believe in taking singles, twos and threes before hitting a couple of boundaries. What I have seen is now that the Hyderabad team did not have any open net session. It is here a batsman learns the art of taking a single. It is very essential before any new season. Here the batsman also learns to play with soft hands when required or decide where to hit for singles. Your focus should be on taking a single.’’

Mohan Raj lamented the closure of academy proved to be a big setback as the players have missed the rigours of a net session. “Now the batsman lack ideas how to build the innings. Their initial movements are all wrong. I think most of the batsmen have run into trouble with poor technique.’’

 Mohan Raj
Vijay Mohan Raj

Continuing, Mohan Raj said aggression is all about attitude towards batting. “In my case, I preferred to stay at the crease for a long time. It was not about blasting the bowler but it was about blunting the bowler. I tested the patience of the bowler with my strong defence.

“The biggest example for Hyderabad batsman is VVS Laxman, who planned his innings and season meticulously and for that matter Mohammad Azharuddin. They were brilliant strikers of the ball and the shot selection was the key to their big scores. They were consistent because of the level of focus was high. Actually, for any batsman, the problem comes in the 30s and 40s when you come into groove and lose the ground. Here where the batsman has to find his way to carry on his innings.’’

The batsman has to be intelligent, according to Mohan Raj. “Sunil Gavaskar was intelligent batsman but not brilliant. “He used to plan an innings and the focus was to go to other side of the crease for singles. His running between the wickets was extremely good. Good technique means if you miss the ball or failed to read the bowler, your body will come in line with the ball. If you play away from the body, then you are not in control of the body. Head is very important as you get to view the ball correctly. It should be steady also as it leads to the body and keep the ball down always.’’

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