Take a look at this picture. What’s wrong with it?
Admittedly, while Raina here is playing a short ball it is not, judging by the evidence of his eyes, a bouncer.
Yet it is a good example of all that is wrong with the youngster when confronted with deliveries not in his half of the pitch:
He is more square on than side on for starters, which means he is not ideally positioned to either duck [if he does, he will actually be ducking into the ball] or to sway out of line.
Equally, look at the positioning of his hands: The right elbow is way off line and almost useless in terms of controlling the bat.
‘Fear of the short ball’ is the indictment leveled in recent times at the likes of Raina and Rohit Sharma, but I’m not sure ‘fear’ is the operative word — it is more a case of defective technique. Aakash Chopra’s column on dealing with the bouncer has a lead image of a player equally technique-deficient: eyes looking away from the ball, bat held at half-cock in a reflexive gesture…
All of which is why I found this story from last week interesting.
What made today’s contest the more fascinating was Raina’s revelation at the end of the game that Dravid was one of the people, along with Gary Kirsten and Sachin Tendulkar, who’d helped him tackle the short ball in the camp before this tournament.
On balance, you’d have to say the youngster has a fair way to go yet before he makes good on his boast to send the next bouncer he gets into the stratosphere.