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Why are Australian batsmen batting from deep within the crease?

Chris Rogers has announced his retirement from first class cricket at 39. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Roar Guru
5th August, 2015
7
1291 Reads

Throughout the Ashes I have noticed a number of technical quirks by the batsmen but there is one in particular that seems to have been adopted by all of the Australian batsmen.

It’s hard for me to write this article because in the world of cricket I have achieved nothing bar countless nights without sleep during overseas campaigns and twice being removed from the SCG in the same day for “allegedly” throwing a massive scrunched up ball of al-foil at the back of the head of a boundary security officer during an Australia versus The Rest of the World Test match.

While I will protest my innocence to the throwing of a sandwich wrapper until the day I die, I will concede that I think the real reason for my ejection from the ground that day was my refusal to stop continually asking the boundary fielder, Rahul Dravid, if he would like a Strepsil. How is that for Aussie hospitality from Bay 13?

However, I would like to ask the gurus, experts and any one else that cares to comment on what I perceive to be some peculiar behaviour from our Aussie cricketers throughout this series to this point.

I’m not talking about the inconsistency of Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson because lets face it we knew exactly what we were gambling on by selecting both of them in the same side. Both are capable of delivering absolute pearls of deliveries but rarely do we see either of them keep that sort of form over long periods, at least not without brandishing a moustache that is so awesome it had 1970s American porn stars taking up the game of cricket.

What I’m referring to is Australia’s batting line up and the seemingly recent propensity to take guard from deep within ones crease. Look I get it if you are an English bat after the last Ashes series and you are plain scared of MJ. And Chris Rogers has always played back and late, I won’t even try to deconstruct Steve Smith’s technique. That will have a bible of articles and books written about it before he’s done if he keep this form up.

But for the rest of the batting line up it seems that they are all attempting to play the ball deep within their crease and give themselves as much time to account for the swing of the ball to play it as late as possible. I started to notice this in the first Test because I thought that Shane Watson may try batting as far out of his crease as he could in an attempt to thwart the LBW demon that was hanging over his shoulder.

While that didn’t happen (thankfully depending on how you look at it), I did notice Clarke and co. attempting to adopt the Rogers style of play. Now I am hoping Roarers can pick apart my logic. To me it makes sense that if playing in England under cloudy skies against the Duke ball with its propensity to move through the air then it would make sense to shorten the distance between the point of release and the pitch of the ball. No bowler ever tries to get a batsman out edging to a four-man slips cordon through the use of swing by pitching it in short. For a bowler to make full use of a swinging ball he must pitch the ball up to make the most out of it.

So considering that England’s bowlers aren’t exactly thunderbolt quick, why are our batsmen playing so deep within their creases and not taking guard outside of their crease and moving forward to negate the amount of time the ball has to swing? Surely Broad, Finn and who ever it is else that England have left would be forced to slightly alter the pitch of their deliveries in order not to give away juicy half volleys.

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I think of Mathew Hayden standing outside the crease and cutting down the bowlers options. Two innings in particular come to mind, one from Australia and one from England.

Does one need to be in the sort of form Hayden was in at the time to bat outside the crease? Or can players looking for answers throw this up as a possible solution to negate the only weapon the English bowlers really have? Because lets face it, for a number of our batsmen, playing back in the crease and late currently isn’t working.

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