Friday, July 25, 2008

Chennai clinics

I must say I had 5 enjoyable days at the Mac Spin Foundation in Chennai.
Having been there previously I knew what to expect which made things easier to co-ordinate.Between 20 and 26 boys plus one girl attended on various days during the week with the minimum number of 20 on any given day.
As before I had trouble with names so resorted to nick names to help us communicate. All responded well and they all knew to whom I referred when my voice boomed out across the four clay/turf nets.
Big Fella, Thommo, Vemkat, China, Lefty and Princess were some of the "handles" given to the spinners.
In one group discussion I trotted out this Bishen Bedi quote "Spin is in the air and break is off the pitch". The quote was followed by asking the left arm orthodox spinner "who is Bishen Bedi?" It astonished me that he did not know! I then put the same question to the group and one or two sheepish looks accompanied a slight raising of the hand. Strewth, I thought, it upsets me when young Australian or English spinners don't remember 'Bish'.
Despite that disappointment it was pleasing the way they bowled for four hours each day in very hot and humid conditions.
Princess spun her leg breaks, particularly early in the week. On one occasion I called all spinners into a net so she could demonstrate a leg break. It was magnificent. In fact it was so Warne like with its curve and spin I started calling he "Shanette" for a day or two.
A little 8 year old joined us for a couple of days which also coincided with computer analysis. I called for "Thommo" to come out the front as we showed his clip and as I did the 8 year old announced that Jeff Thomson was a fast bowler. So was our Thommo! The other spinners burst into laughter. Taking a punt I asked our 8 year old, who by the way is based in Singapore, to come to the front. "Who is Bishen Bedi?" I asked. "Bishen Bedi is the greatest left arm spinner to play for India" he replied without a moments hesitation. On a roll I then asked "who is Prasanna?" Again with out a second's hesitation he replied "Eripali Prasanna is the greatest off spin bowler to play for India."
It was an uplifting time for us all.
I was assisted with the clinic's by Peter Fernandez, Chief Coach of the Mac Spin Foundation and his friend Vincent.
Peter has a passion for spin, in particular wrist spin and he willingly coached the basics as introduced by me. Alignment as always was a key factor and we improved that with the spinners over the five days.
However the biggest area of concern for us was the Shane Warne elbow! This is the front (leading) arm which has the hand back near the bowling shoulder with the elbow facing the batsman,as they move into their delivery stride. It worked for Shane but the kids are not strong enough to get it to reach out toward the target. Would you believe that of 22 spinners on one day, 16 had Warnie's front arm?
Of all the strong basics Shane exhibits they chose the one hardest to copy.
I am now in New Delhi on the last of 5 days here.
When I arrive in England I will file a report on that clinic.