Gillette
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Mr. W V Raman

Dashing left hander batsmen and former ace India opening batsman. Post retirement Raman, has equipped himself with the highest qualifications to coach, is now the coach of the Bengal team and continues to be one of the shrewdest thinkers of the game

It is always an advantage to be unique and especially if one happens to be a fast bowler with a slinging action. Jeff Thomson the most feared fast bowler in the 70.s had a slinging action though he delivered the ball with a high arm action. In recent times Lasith Malinga has bamboozled batsmen with his slinging action and what makes him difficult to handle for the batsmen is his round arm action. Since his hand is in front of the umpire when he releases the ball, it will take a lot of effort from the batsmen to keep their heads still, an aspect that is critical for good batsman ship. However, such uniqueness also has a flip side to it In that an unconventional action can put a lot of stress on some joints and muscles than on the others. In other words, the explosive effort that Malinga puts in is not distributed evenly in all muscles. It has to be said that Malinga is inherently a very strong man but it is impossible to fight nature and the mechanics of a human body.

Despite his fit physique, his knees have taken a lot of pounding and the stage has come for him to decide whether he needs to preserve himself to extend his career or curtail it by taking the same load as he has done over the years. Not surprisingly, he has the taken the route to preserve himself by choosing to retire from test cricket. With the phenomenal increase in the quantum of cricket, every cricketer will be forced to take a call along the lines of Malinga and no amount of training or fitness can prevent cricketers from this dilemma. The likes of Courtney Walsh played the latter part of his career spending hours on end on the physio’s table but he did not have either the luxury of choosing between different formats of the game or lucrative avenues like the IPL. I am not suggesting that Malinga has preferred the lucrative IPL ahead of his country but there is only so much a human body can take in a given span of time.

Would Malinga have not sustained the knee injury if he had a conventional action is debatable but the very fact that he has excelled for so long in all formats is admirable. By this I mean that he had to put in a lot of effort into every delivery to be successful and all his efforts over the years has culminated in his right knee degenerating. Though he has chosen to avoid the longer format in order to prolong his career, he will face sterner challenges ahead to sustain himself in the one-dayers and T-20s. One must remember that every Nation plays more one-dayers than test cricket and the shorter formats can be sapping. Malinga will need to work harder on his fitness but at the same time he cannot go overboard lest he will aggravate his injury. Malinga might be unique in the way he bowls but he will need to resort to a balanced approach if he has to carry on in the international stage.

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