Method behind the madness: Decoding Hardik Pandya and his explosive batting

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Written by Sriram Veera

December 7, 2020 10:38:40 pm

Hardik Pandya has been in imperious type with the bat in India’s tour of Australia. (Reuters)

Sixty to seventy batting movies of Hardik Pandya wirelessly dropped into Jitender Singh’s telephone. Then got here a textual content: “Is everything okay, coach?”

Jeetubhai tapped up every video, rigorously watched with rising satisfaction and typed out his reply, “Yes all good”. It was June finish, and coach Jitender had returned to his village after a month of coaching with Pandya, who was nonetheless working at nets in Baroda. “The deal was if I saw something not right in those videos, I will return to Baroda. It wasn’t needed and he (Pandya) could happily go to his wife who was expecting a child; everything was fine with his batting,” Jeetubhai says.

“I go really deep in my batting. I really like to know the factors which I am working for. [For me] maintaining shape is more important. I keep working on my technique,” Pandya stated this IPL.

It’s a stance and approach created for (and by) the six-lust of our occasions. Pandya has stripped batting to its essence: stability, eyesight, quick fingers. The elements that he leaves out are as fascinating as the ones he retains. He cuts out the much-revered optimistic strides; he doesn’t take a stride ahead or again. There are not any pointless tiny toes actions that may upset stability. He simply leans ahead or again with his knee-flex, driving by means of the hips, with out a stride – a minimalistic explosion.

Some like George Bailey and Shivnarine Chanderpaul begin from unconventional positions simply to get to standard side-on slots at the time of ball launch. An pointless shuffle can creep in for others or the fingers can transfer wider than ideally suited for the downward bat-swing. But Pandya’s batting is devoid of those further appendages.

Pandya’s stability element has a number of elements: the knee-flex that enables him to spring off from the balls of his toes, the subsequent postural-sway that enables a clean switch of weight and makes toes motion nearly pointless, and the related hip-turn that powers the bat to and by means of the contact zone. All this finished seamlessly with a balletic fluidity to provide an aftermath of marvel.

“The head, the feet and the hands” are what Jeetubhai watches, his guidelines when Pandya begins batting. He remembers when Pandya mentioned with him a few seasons in the past about the new place at stance – round the off stump, with a small set off motion that at occasions takes him even exterior off, and deep inside the crease.

Hardik Pandya depends on an open stance which permits an unrestricted view of the ball. (File)

“He has that cricketing intelligence. With his batting, he realised the need to create angles. He also stands deep in the crease with that guard – he told me that he doesn’t have to worry about yorkers and bouncers,” the coach says. “We worked on getting in a stable, steady position. But fundamentally, he hasn’t changed much. The load-up, the way he holds his bat, the bat-swing are like before, so we didn’t have to worry much. I just told him, ‘just have a method to keep out the full balls on the middle and leg’.”

“The logic in this stance now is that it’s not so easy to get that yorker at the base of stumps – as he is almost by the stumps. With bouncers, because he is so back, he gets extra time and the bowlers try to pitch the ball fuller for the bouncer to trouble his head, but it’s not easy to get the ball to bounce from a fuller length. If they bang it short, middle of the pitch, because he is back, it almost sits up and he has more time to cut and pull.”

The open stance permits an unrestricted view of the ball that’s about to be launched. Since the shoulders are already a contact open, a batsman can keep away from the reflex-jerk – that may invariably occur in a extra typical stance to a bouncer – which upsets the stillness of the head.

“The head position is key,” Jeetubhai says. “Both eyes are level, which means the head isn’t tilted and he watches the ball release with his right eye.” That proper eye choice means the shoulder will face the non-striker, with his hips additionally barely open.

From the hips to the flexed knees, to the weight on the balls of the toes – as the late Martin Crowe would usually say – the remainder of Pandya’s stance retains a pure fluidity.


Hardik Pandya helped India seal the T20I sequence towards Australia with a 22-ball 42. (BCCI)

It’s fascinating that of all the batsmen in the fashionable period, it’s Pandya who has taken to Crowe’s urging to maneuver in direction of off stump in T20 (and whereas in the hitting zone). The former classicist, who was ever-open to innovation, would discuss precisely what Pandya does now – a few stance round off- stump and deep inside crease. “If I am facing someone like Glenn McGrath, I would stand on off or even outside,” Crowe advised this author in 2008. “If he bowls on the stumps, good luck to him as I am confident about my legside play. And I have taken out his strength of hitting the off-stump and forced him to go wider and even change angle from where he bowls on the crease. I am amazed more batsmen don’t try it out; it will free them up.”

Pandya has freed himself up. The knee-flex that enables batsmen to a place on the balls of their toes (versus arch, heel or toes) was one other Crowe theme. “The balls of feet are where the energy and springy muscle is”. Pandya does that. His legs don’t stay straight, as an alternative they flex, permitting him to spring off the balls of his toes.

The one factor that Crowe would fuss most is toes motion and strides. Pandya doesn’t; he arches to a different stylist from the previous, Pakistan’s Majid Khan, who as soon as challenged his English county teammates that typical footwork was pointless and took them to nets to point out it. With a wider base (toes unfold out extra at stance), and simply the posture-sway (leaning ahead and again) to switch weight, he proceeded to slam the gobsmacked bowlers. Pandya does it.

Which brings us to his hips. He bats with his hips, if you’ll, producing livid bat speeds by means of his swing. “He turns his back leg from his hip and not from his knee, when he is driving through the line,” Jeetubhai says. This permits unimpeded motion for the bat-swing and better velocity to scythe by means of the line. “When it’s short, he will press down on that front leg, and load up on the back leg, sort of twist and turn it quickly and with his already open stance, it allows a free swing of the bat for the pull. He has trained for hours, for months, and now it’s all a natural reactionary movement. So, now for the main, I look for the head position, the feet and the hands.”

Couple of years in the past, the coach felt that Pandya’s backside hand was taking on a bit an excessive amount of. “That impacts the angles and areas he can entry. So, we bought his prime hand again into the grip extra. Little stuff like that. He all the time seems to be to hit by means of the line. Krunal has ‘watch the ball’ written down on his bat, Hardik has written it in his mind, his entire set-up helps him in watching the ball until late and then he reacts.

“I think the bowler is going to bowl here but eventually I play the merit of the ball. I keep it simple.” Pandya stated final month. The bowlers have a tendency to fireplace it wider exterior off however he isn’t predetermining an excessive amount of, the method he units himself up at the crease permits him to squat down with his knee-flex, attain out and slice it over level.

For some time in his profession, Pandya appeared like he craved consideration, with out figuring out what it was in him that he needed everybody to take a look at. Resultantly, he bought the consideration however not engagement however in current occasions, he has made it clear to himself and to everybody that he needs the consideration to be on his cricket – and now he has us hypnotically hooked.

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