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Nasser Hussain/Johnnie Bairstow

I would not normally defer to the opinion of Nasser Hussain for information on batting technique. I lost any faith in his judgement/knowledge when he suggested that facing fast bowling bore similarities to a tennis player receiving first serves, i.e. the advantage of jigging around the better to pick up the pace and flight of the ball!! To give him his due, when I taxed him on the subject, suggesting that a still head for a batsman was a “sine que non”, he graciously retracted.

More than that, he presented an excellent documentary piece on the major change made by the excellent Johnnie Bairstow which has had such spectacular results. The first video clip showed him stepping across his stumps before the bowler released the ball, head on the move at the critical moment. The second clip showed him standing stock still with two stumps showing. Case proven.

But there was more good sense to come. “Now he stays leg side of the ball which has opened up his array of off-side shots”. Meanwhile his command of leg-side play has improved to a degree. Now came the final accolade. Hussain mentioned him in the same breath as the legendary Indian batsman Verinder Sewag, still the holder of the record for the most triple hundreds in Test Cricket.

Hoorah! Hoorah! One of the “modern” generation seeing the benefit of my long held mantra i.e. don’t get behind the line of the ball - get alongside it. The great ball striker Arthur Wellard once said to me “ if you get behind it, how can you hit it”.

I sent an email a couple of weeks ago to Joe Root making exactly this point. Whether his consecutive hundreds owe anything to the Dexter opinion, we will probably never know. What is certain is that my obversations did him absolutely no harm.


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