Skip to main content

Figuring out Sunil Narine

 By all accounts, Sunil Narine is an extraordinary bowler.   There have been mystery spinners in the past – the likes of Chandrasekar and Ajantha Mendis come readily to mind.  But what makes Narine special is that batsmen have not quite figured out how to play him – even with all the expert coaches and video analysis available in today’s game.   We are 30 games into the 2013 IPL and Sunil Narine is at it again – in contention for the purple cap, a hat-trick already, etc etc.

After studying his bowling carefully (I am as big an arm-chair expert as any of you J), I feel there are some ways by which batsmen can play him more effectively.

  •            First, Narine rarely flights the ball.  He bowls flat and fast.  So there is really no point in charging down the track and trying to hit him straight.   Batsmen are much better off playing from the crease.
  •         Because of the appreciable spin that he gets, many times away from the bat – batsmen are very prone to get a leading edge when they try to play the ball in the V.   So a trick seems to be to play him towards mid-wicket and cover –with the spin. 
  •           Batsmen are never sure which way the ball is going to spin and are taking a huge gamble when they have to go after Sunil Narine.  But analysis clearly shows that when the batsmen are trying to go after him, Sunil almost always spins the ball “away” from the batsmen.  He figures that takes away the hoick over mid-wicket  and increases the chances of a stumping.   I think the batsmen would be much better off playing the square cut and the late cut more frequently. 



Look at what Sunil has done now.  Batsmen have been taught to come down the track to the pitch of the ball, play in the V and use the mid-wicket hoick as a release shot.  Sunil has effectively taken away all these options from the batsmen.   And he is forcing batsmen to play him differently than they have played any spinner so far.

It will be interesting to see the tactics that batsmen adopt in playing  Sunil going forward.  But I am also sure Sunil has a lot more mystery left to be unleashed !  Game on………   

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fan Data Analytics: Key to drive sports company growth

Over the last several years, the buzz word in business and IT circles has been "big-data" and analytics. Many many articles and write-ups talk about them so I won't go into the details. You could get enough to last a lifetime with just the first few results of a Google search of these terms. But do you really know how it applies, specifically to a sports company? For long, sports franchises have been one of the biggest users of analytics. Before this was a buzz word, coaches and managers have relied up numbers and finding patterns in them to drive on-field performance. Indeed, the major leagues of the world have relied on performance analytics for everything from scouting for talent to calling the action on the field of play. But that never transcended to the off-field, more mundane but equally important task of managing the sports business. As more and more options come up vying for the fan's attention - live events, travel, other sports, TV, the Internet - the

Club Vs Country

With the IPL safely behind us, let us look at the Club Vs Country debate dispassionately.  We will focus on cricket, but learn generously from sports like football - which have been grappling with this issue for a lot longer.   There are 2 primary questions to answer – 1.  If a player has a conflict between a country game and a club game, what should he/she choose?  2.  If the player has to miss playing in order to rest the body (an increasingly important aspect of modern professional sports), should he/she choose to rest country games or club games?  Alas, it is not a easy choice to make because of a few key reasons – playing for the country is considered patriotic (equating players to soldiers in some instances) thus making players feel like they are traitors if they choose club over country.   On the other hand, players do make more money per game playing for a club – and it is hard to choose country over club and end up the poorer because of the choice.   Le

IPL 2014 - Mumbai Indians team analysis

The Mumbai Indians have always been the high-flying team of IPL.  They had the big buys in almost every year of IPL and kept a very high profile.  And over the last couple of years, they have started matching their performance with their profile – with wins in IPL 2013 and Champions League in 2011 and 2013.  Let us see how their team looks this year. Rohit Sharma, Mike Hussey, Ambati Rayudu and Apporv Wankhade are the pure play batsmen in the team. Corey Anderson, Keiron Pollard, Shreyas Gopal and Jalaj Saxena are the all rounders. CM Gautam, Ben Dunk, Sushant Marathe and Aditya Tare are the wicket keepers. Lasith Malinga, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Jasprit Bumrah, Josh Hazlewood, Marchant de Lange, Krishmar Santokie & Puwan Suyal are the bowlers.  The bowling looks pretty good with Malinga, Zaheer, Bajji and Ojha.   The batting is strong at the top – with Rohit Sharma and Mike Hussey, but looks weak beyond those two.   The power in the team comes from