I recently started to play cricket again and, not surprisingly, I’m terrible at it. In desperation, I turned to the Internet and found the ghost of Bob Woolmer to guide me. He did a series of videos — from the graphics, I’d say during the mid-1990s — and the ones that focus on batting have a starring role for Gary Kirsten’s perfect technique. Watch:
It’s not surprising that these videos have more than 100,000 views each. Woolmer comes across as exceptionally clear, brief and personable; the tragedy of his untimely death in 2007 becomes that much more poignant. I shudder when I think of all the politics and rivalries and bureaucracy this man had to deal with in Pakistan.
One more note: watching these videos, I also gained a finer appreciation for just how difficult “batting technique” is. This is the difference between Virender Sehwag and Ian Bell; the former relies chiefly on instinct and hand-eye coordination, while the latter relies on years and years of practice and forcing the human body into textbook shapes and figures. There’s obviously room for both models at the crease, but I now see what all the fuss is about.