Amla does intensive research on the opposition he’s playing against. That helps him prepare mentally, training his mind on what he will expect in a match situation. He does general conditioning work as a batsman – strengthening his core – and lots of endurance work. In the sub-continent, with the high temperatures and levels of humidity, dehydration and fatigue are major factors.
2. ASSESS THE CONDITIONS
Playing through the leg-side, like Amla, and using your wrists for maximum effect, does have an element of risk. That’s why Amla surveys the pitch conditions prior to the match. A good example? In the sub-continent, the tracks are slower and the ball bounces lower than his homeground at Kingsmead in Durban. You need to adjust accordingly.
3. ROLE DEFINITION
Every batsman’s role is different within the team’s gameplan and, even within that, it will vary according to the match situation. For instance, if Amla is playing the anchor role in a partnership with Graeme Smith, he will be looking to rotate the strike by pushing the ball into the leg-side. Whereas, if he’s the aggressor, he would be increasing the power by hitting the ball firmer. Work out your tactics.
Weight transfer is key. A good body position is required to generate force. The pitches in South Africa allow the fast balls to reach the batsmen quicker and, as a result, the batsmen don’t need to manufacture their own pace. In the sub-continent, this is reversed. That’s why most Asian players, Amla included, perform the “press” – a “trigger movement” where batsmen move on to the balls of their feet just prior to the delivery. It allows them to get into position, transferring their weight forwards and generating the required bat speed for the shot.
Over-balance often occurs when a batsman falls over while attempting to play the shot. In contrast to most South African players who are coached from a very young age, Amla wasn’t over-coached as a youngster. As a result, he’s very successful at playing this shot. The secret? Stand up straight.
After transforming Border cricket into one of the major unions on the domestic scene, and two seasons with the Pakistan national side, Pybus’ reputation grew as the leading domestic coach, winning six trophies with the Nashua Titans between 2005 and 2009.
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