It's no secret that it's easy to struggle against spinners in the Sub-continent. England's batsmen have failed for decades.
Here is the inside guide to playing spin in slow, low turning conditions so you can coach your players to be a little more like Dravid.
Manage interception points
The concept is incredibly simple.
Either make contact with the ball as close to the bounce of the ball as possible or as far away from the bounce of the ball as possible!
This is the key difference between poor players of spin in the sub-continent and the real greats like Jayawardene, Dravid and Younis Khan.
In England and South Africa, batters can get away with leaden feet and making contact with the ball in and around the crease line whilst scoring at a normal rate. In India, if you play aggressively from the crease then your incidence of dismissal goes through the roof.
Statistically, the best player of spin in these conditions was Rahul Dravid.
Rahul was a master at reaching forward and playing both defensively and attackingly as close to the ball bounce as possible. Yet he also had a 'human spring' of a left Leg to push back onto his stumps to hit through the off-side with a back foot drive or clip through the on side with the minimum of fuss.
Hawkeye imagery backs this up.
The side on view of interception points show big numbers of balls being intercepted either very close to the bounce or way back (onto the stumps) from the point of bounce.
When you colour code the attacking shots from the defensive ones you note that Rahul rarely - if at all in some significant innings in India - attacked within small distances from the crease line.
The ball colours indicate a 95%+ defensive shot incidence within this area taken over a significant number of innings.
Contrast this to English players who have a far more balanced approach to attack and defend in the crease line area. They have poorer strike rate, runs per over and balls per dismissal ratios compared to Rahul.
So what does this mean to you as a Coach?
Armed with this information and with Andy Flower's words ringing in my ears, I have simplified the way in which I encourage batters at school level to practice and play against spin, whether it be in nets, against the Merlin Spin Bowling machine or out in the middle.
If I can help players to develop into being able to cope with the challenges of batting on Indian pitches against spin then surely that method is transferable to being successful on English pitches?
We video the crease line from sideways on (from outside the net or square leg umpire in middle practice) and we analyse each bucket of balls or set of 12 balls in the net against the "Interception Point" parameters and the player receives an Interception Point %.
Interception Point% formula is:
Number of Close to the Ball Bounce + Number of Far from the Ball Bounce ÷ Total Balls Faced x 100
We keep a note of the player's performance as he goes through his spin specific sessions and from this data we can create graphs that help us to monitor progress.
If you have time then the next formula to be applied is:
Number of Successful Close to the Ball Bounce + Number of Successful Far from the Ball Bounce ÷ Total Balls Faced x 100
You don’t have to do this often - I know that time is an issue - yet think how the follow up discussions with each player could challenge and shape the way that they implement their method against spin.
Now that is Coaching to Win!