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Hitting the nail on the head when it comes to taking guard

Published : Saturday, 23 January, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 148
Bipin Dani

Watching on TV the former Australian captain Steve Smith removing guard marks of Indian player Rishabh Pant in one of the recently concluded Test matches in Australia,  a cricket enthusiast T. R. Ramaswami, who has been popular for voicing his opinion on hidden aspects of cricket has found a solution to avoid repeat of such incident.
Speaking exclusively, he says, "So much technology has invaded the sports arena but there is still one animal instinct that seems to be alive and kicking in cricket. That is taking guard".
"Every batsman takes guard from the umpire and then like a lion pawing his territory digs that spot with his bat and heel. Only urinating is mercifully not resorted to!! Why can't the position of the stumps be marked or painted on the batting crease?"
"That way there is no need to dig up the crease. Further the umpire gives the guard standing behind the opposite stumps. But the bowler bowls from about three to six feet on the right or left of the umpire. So does the guard given by the umpire really cover the direction and angle in which the ball is coming from vis--vis the stumps, and if not, is it meaningful?", he asks.
"If my suggestion of painting the stump positions is accepted, then the question of someone trying to remove guard marks will not arise", he said.
Venkat Sunderam, the former First Class cricketer who also worked as a pitch committee chairman of the Indian cricket board, says, "marking of the guard is for the striker to know where his stumps are. It is not mandatory for a batsman to take guard. He does it only to know the exact location of his stumps".
"In practice nets sometimes the guard--leg stump, middle stump and off stump are marked".
"We, curators, provide markers to umpires and request them to advise bowlers to use the markers and suggest that they do not scratch the outfield".   
"Marking the crease after every ball is a ritual and superstition to help you concentrate", former England batsman had once said.
West Indies player Shivnarine Chanderpaul once marked his guard with a bail.  

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