He says he doesn’t. He says the fact that he asks questions indicates only that he’s ‘a learner’.
It’s hard to disagree with this assessment, but then you read his recent interview with Sidharth Monga for Cricinfo and you start to wonder. He has a way of talking about bowling that makes you want to slope off and talk to someone else for a bit.
“I was pretty interested in the kind of balance I was managing at the crease. I felt I was not in the best balanced position to deliver the entire momentum towards the batsman.
“Whatever I gather as momentum of my run-up and my loading is all destined to put the ball into the batsman’s half. So I will have to translate each bit of it into the ball before I deliver it. And if I dissipate any of my energy before I deliver it, I am losing out on my maximum force or maximum penetration.
“To be in the best balanced position is the best possible way to put the ball at the maximum penetration. I felt I was being a little imbalanced.”
Then, perhaps aware how this might come across, he translates all of that for us: “I felt like I was falling over.”
He also said that like an old ZX Spectrum, he had ‘a loading issue’. “Whatever happens in the lower body is in direct relation to what is happening in the upper body, as far as bowling is concerned,” he sort-of-explains.
“In Adelaide I was playing around with my loading positions with my right hand. When that was happening I suddenly discovered something.
“I felt like there was more cocking to the wrist. There were revolutions on the ball. The amount of finger-split I use on the ball was completely coming into use. There was more uncoiling and coiling.”
We can feel you pondering the finger-split coming into use and the additional uncoiling and coiling. We can see you pondering it and pondering and ultimately drifting into a stupor.
It’s all rather baffling. In fact some of it’s so baffling it sounds like it’s comes out of the mouth of Mark E Smith. Trust us, even in context the following makes no sense.
“One times two is two. Two times two is four. If you teach a first-standard kid today, tomorrow he is bound to forget the multiplication table.
“It happens with a cricketer also. It is a completely new skill. It is an education in itself. Patience – I find it extremely clichéd. It is not pertinent to only the game.”
We do however like the poetry of this comment about his lifestyle when he was younger.
“When I was playing first-class cricket, sometimes I used to go to sleep at 11.30 in the night. And wake up at 6.30. Not exactly have my box of nuts. Not exactly drink my water.”
But if the rhythm of that’s nice, it’s still not clear. It’s almost as if he feels there’s some sort of risk in being straightforward.
“So what is the risk I am taking by being straightforward? By being straightforward I am being mistaken for being a person that I am not. On the other hand, if I am not straightforward, I lose happiness.”
Presumably he’s not exactly on top of the world right now.