Elite Oz batsmen becoming robots because of bowling machines: Smith

Sunday, January 30, 2011

SYDNEY - Australia’s coaches must minimise their use of bowling machines and restrict throw-downs in net sessions in order to correct the flawed footwork of some of the batsmen, according to Warren Smith.

Smith, who the likes of former Australian fast bowler Geoff Lawson have described as the finest batting coach in the country, is concerned elite batters are becoming robots because bowling machines and throw-downs are being overused.

“My advice is throw the bowling machines away as far as you can. I only used them at the beginning of the season and that was with tennis balls,” Smith said.

“I’d have the guys, including Slater, bat with no pads to help teach them the art of evasion. There is a skill to it and my view was if a batsman was whacked on the legs, it was his fault,” The Sydney Morning Herald quoted him, as saying.

“The problem is by using bowling machines [as a main source for practice], the batsman becomes a robot. I don’t like throw-downs because you have to get too close to the batsman to do them. You are better off having them facing bowlers - that is as long as they aren’t bowling no balls throughout the session,” he said.

Smith said he was concerned Twenty20 was affecting the art of batting too much. It was frustrating to see children in his clinics wanting to practise the reverse sweep.

Although they embraced the exciting, clubbing style that West Indies superstar Chris Gayle unleashed for Western Australia in the T20 Big Bash, Smith would have them learn from classic batsmen.

“Gayle is good but I think a lot of the guys playing the Twenty20 will never be able to play the longer version of the game, that’s why I admire the English player Alastair Cook. I was saying the other day I will never get another Michael Slater because the game isn’t played that way any more. And it is a shame,” Smith aid. (ANI)

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