Fitness needs to be specific to your role; this article focuses mainly on the importance of batting fitness and training. Whether a opener or middle order batsman/batswoman apart from the technicalities of holding the grip of the bat, aligning the shoulder and having a perfect balanced stance, batting in cricket also involves various physical and mental skills.
The main aim to stay at the crease for as long as possible sometimes hours together running singles to keep the score board ticking. In order to maintain that flow of runs, one has to stay focused, have good hand /eye coordination and have the strength and fitness to make each shot played count.
Test Cricketers such as Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, Alastair Cook, Graeme Smith, Eoin Morgan are few examples who have been good at it.
It’s power not strength that dictates the batting force which a player can generate. Plyometrics is ideal for batting actions and is included as a part of batting fitness and training program today. Apart from sprinting, Gym workouts and specific drills for batting like striker and non-striker coordination are conducted exclusively in Zonal Batting Camps in India before tournaments or off season sessions to prepare players to focus on scoring and being fit for the next season.
Good strength in the core region allows the whole body to perform optimally as a single unit improving a batsman’s/batswoman’s overall athletic capabilities. To be a good all rounder one has to have exceptional fitness to last as a Batsman/Batswoman, bowler and fielder, South African Jacques Kallis is one such cricketer whose career longevity has been based on such exceptional fitness. What added an icing on the cake was Jacque’s ton in his last test before he chose to retire. His record as an all rounder has definitely been a great motivation for youngsters who aim to be good all round cricketers.
Not forgetting that sometimes when physical fitness fails in the middle of a high scoring intense match that’s where mental fitness comes to play a bigger role in taking the team through. Few examples of such mentally fit players are Ricky Ponting (Australia), Michael Bevan, AB De Villers, Virat Kohli, Mahela Jayawardene, Mithali Raj, Meg Lanning, Charlotte Edwards and Stephanie Taylor.
Practice matches involve pressure situation that are created to help players perform at the right time. Being a Wicket Keeper/Batsman/Batswoman is a challenging task and the fitness levels for such players are bound to be top level as the stamina to keep wicket’s for 50 over’s, 20 over’s or a test inning and then open the batting innings requires a mentally and physically fit body. Openers like Kumara Sangakara, Adam Gilchrist, Sarah Taylor are examples of extremely fit players mentally and physically.
Today there are special batting coaches specific to the job to help players develop their overall strength and make them individually capable of taking the team through in pressure situation. With T20 Cricket all over the word being the pressure to score big runs in limited balls has led to competitive fitness and only the strongest ones survive.
Exmples of such players are Chris Gayle, David Warner, Kieron Pollard and many more who go through intense workout sessions but specific to their role as a opener or middle order. Hence, the Importance of Role Specific Fitness determines an Individuals Performance.
– by Cresinda D Costa