x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

James Taylor proves small is still effective in cricket

Nottinghamshire's English batsman gives hope to players of his physical stature that scoring runs has very little to do with physicality.

James Taylor, the Nottinghamshire batsman, is only 1.65 metres tall but he can still hit the ball long and hard. Stu Forster / Getty Images
James Taylor, the Nottinghamshire batsman, is only 1.65 metres tall but he can still hit the ball long and hard. Stu Forster / Getty Images

Size matters, especially it seems in sport. Rugby union, for example, is obsessed with "physicality" and coaches seem to be breeding body builders rather than players with dexterous hands and speed of thought.

The obsession with size seems to have permeated cricket. The proliferation of Twenty20 cricket demands players possess the required power to muscle the ball into the stands.

You just have to look at the forearms of the England captain Andrew Strauss and the strapping shoulders of Alastair Cook to gauge the amount of time they spend in the gym.

In an excellent TV documentary looking at the development of young England players, chin ups rather than avoiding long hops were the order of the day.

Yet James Taylor, the diminutive English batsman, is showing signs of bucking the reliance on power.

Standing at 1.65m, the Nottinghamshire batsman could be mistaken for a jockey. In fact, his father is a former jockey and now a race starter. Yet, in smashing 115 not out off 77 balls – his last 90 runs came in 32 balls – for Notts against Hampshire on Thursday, Taylor struck a blow for connoisseurs of technique.

His hand speed invited comparisons with MS Dhoni as he hit six after towering six over mid-wicket. The timing of the shots were as impeccable as the timing of the innings, coming the same day Kevin Pietersen forfeited his place in the England one-day teams.

"Some of his sixes were bigger than his nose", tweeted his teammate Graeme Swann. It seems there is no escaping the issue of size for Taylor.

kaffleck@thenational.ae

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