Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Arthur Morris on batting

Extracted from an interview by Steve Cannane in Cricinfo 

You used to hit over the top a bit and Bradman didn't like that, did he? Did he ever tell you to stop hitting the ball in the air?
No, never. In fact he said to me one day - and this is why I get cranky about coaches - "I don't know how you do it, but keep doing it." It means I played so differently from the way he played. In our day you had players of different physiques and they played differently. There were no coaches to tell them to perhaps end up looking like a lot of sausages coming out of a machine, all doing the same thing.
I believe in coaches teaching the fundamentals to youngsters. But cricket doesn't have a place for coaches. You have to have them in football for positions, playing. In cricket, there's no case when a bloke is bowling 100mph and drops one short for a coach to say, "Don't hook that. There's a bloke out on the field." Your little computer in your head tells you what to do. If you see kids with a lot of ability, don't coach them. Let them develop their own cricket, because they will learn to bat by watching better players play. Bradman, McCabe, Trumper had no coaches. It started when the big money came in. Then you started having coaches for everything.
Didn't you and senior players like Lindwall play a kind of coaching role to younger ones coming in, like Richie Benaud?
Very little. If they asked a question, then that's all. When you get into bad habits you can ask another player, what am I doing wrong here? But you don't need a coach to tell you that you must put your foot there or do that. I think Ian Chappell was right when he said he used coaches to get to the ground.
I would never get involved in coaching or go tell a player that this is what I think you should do. Sometimes I could say, please use your back leg a bit more, or use your feet a bit more instead of getting defensive, use your back foot to get into defence, or don't put your front foot down, because once you put your weight on the front foot, you're stuck there. Feet are the most important thing in batsmanship. It goes for everything - football, boxing. If your feet are in the right spot, you're a good player.
Do you think many modern batsmen tend to lunge on the front foot too early?
I think so. I've been seeing it, particularly in opening batsmanship. It is a very good defensive but it doesn't win games. McCabe never played forward in his life and he was the fastest batsman I saw. People tend to say, "Oh, he's on the back foot", but I found most of the players on the back foot are very fast scorers.

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