Ravindra Jadeja’s improvised swat: not an instinctive reaction

It’s one thing to squat on a bent knee and hit the ball on the square leg for a six, but Ravindra Jadeja took it a step further in a recent Indian Premier League game.

Ravindra Jadeja probably kicked the fact that Rahman will go get his Yorker, as always. (File / BCCI)

It’s one thing to squat on a bent knee and hit the ball on the square leg for a six, but Ravindra Jadeja took it one step further in a recent Indian Premier League game against the Rajasthan Royals. He planted his rear knee to the ground and waited for the full delivery of Mustafizur Rahman. Somehow, incredibly, from that position he found the timing and the power to crush a six.

Usually, when the knee bends over the floor, the batsmen tend to lose some power. The squat position allows for golfer-like knee flexion and the freedom to always have a full, smooth bat swing to land the ball beyond bounds.

The other reason drummers don’t come all the way down to the knee is to be prepared for any length changes. If the pitcher sees the crouch and hits him in short, the batsman can still shoot or cut off the top. With the knee down, the risk increases because in some ways they can be a sitting duck. He needs courage and other escape shots like the overhead turn and knowledge of badminton shots.

Not that this is the first time a drummer has kneeled to crash. Pakistani Moin Khan was shot accidentally in a game against New Zealand 20 years ago. Seeing him crouch down, Craig McMillan slid a slower ball around the sixth stump line.

Moin, one of the most daring swat-flickers of his time with Herschelle Gibbs, reached out but his feet slipped and his knee collapsed. For a moment, he looked like someone who had crept into the bathroom trying to reach for a soap that was sliding on the floor. Moin performed his sweep and found himself on his stomach, casually gazing at the flying white ball. It was a happy accident. Jadeja, however, was a consciously done job.

Ravindra Jadeja in action for CSK during IPL 2021.

Crouching-swat has traditionally been the preserve of lower-order unorthodox players like Moin in the past or Rashid Khan in the present.

Rashid probably has the best crouching swat-smash around and has had a few stunning sixes in Australia’s Big Bash League. He opened up his stance as he crouched down and nothing but his hands moved once the ball was released. It’s a “Chal Hutt bey” (Buzz off, mate) worthy of a Shatrughan Sinha dialogue.

Jadeja probably kicked off the fact that Rahman will go get his Yorker, as always. And he waited. As the ball flew to his shins, the bat began to melt to connect cleanly. What would have happened if Rahman had bounced the shorter ball? Would Jadeja have passed it over her own head? Had he trained for this move? Besides, did he even train for this shot on his knees in the nets? In the 90s, when Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis threatened to saw off the toes of beaters with hellish inverted swing balls, no one attempted such pyrotechnics. Would it have worked against them?

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