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Halfway through his maiden Test double-hundred, against India in Ahmedabad in 2008, AB de Villiers told Jacques Kallis about a shot he had mastered. Nike Air Max Supply From China . He referred not to a cut or sweep, lap or ramp, not to one of those outlandish pick-up shots that a hockey player would try if handed a tennis racquet. No. De Villiers was talking about the far more humble defensive block.A helmeted de Villiers, bat in hand, pink pads on, ready for a hit in an indoor net, recounts the moment via a video clip on If I could have my career over again, he says, this will be the first shot that Ill teach myself: the late block. Once you can play this shot, everything else will come naturally to you… Every shot I play, I set up to play a really late defensive stroke.De Villiers goes on to demonstrate how he shapes up for each ball - bat pointing to first slip, backlift raised high at the point of the bowlers release, set to meet the full ball with a late block, before letting his reflexes take over. If the ball is wide, he will allow his hands to flow. If short, he will cut or pull as per instinct. I dont have a defensive mindset when I do it, he says of setting up for the defensive block. All I know is, that is my best chance of getting into a really, really good position for my other strokes. And if its a really good ball, I will sort of succumb to the bowler and say, Listen, well bowled, Im going to do the late shot. And I might still get off strike if it runs down to third man.Process that for a second. The most versatile shot-maker in the game - with the capacity, it seems, to hit any ball, of any length, in any format, to any part of the ground - has a method rooted in a textbook forward-defensive. The shot that results may go against the dictums of cricketing geometry - not to mention the laws of physics - but until the ball is delivered, de Villiers adopts a tried-and-tested approach. Only when he is ready to defend - visualising a box in front of him, within whose boundaries he keeps his bat, feet and head - does he consider the possibility of attack.The world of batting abounds with such contradiction. Most of the analysis (from commentators and writers) is little but informed guesswork. A lot of it is convenient categorisation. Spectators may term a firm push back to the bowler as a defensive shot, but a batsman may think differently. For him, picking the ball out of the hand, reading length early, taking a purposeful stride and finding the middle of the bat may all be signs of aggression. Similarly, commentators may assume a batsman is confident when he strides out, but he could be putting on an act when actually being wracked with insecurity. A batsmans body language, his strokes, his response to a bowler mouthing off, all this is only one part of the story. When one observes said batsman at practice and listens to him deconstruct his method, when one speaks to his team-mates and coaches, keeping in mind past batting successes and failures as well as critical junctures in his career, only then does the full picture emerge. And that too is often work in progress.There was a time when journalists (and players) explored these themes in books (and autobiographies). The amount of time available between tours allowed for deep analysis, and the terrific rapport between cricketers and writers enabled colour and insight. These days there is barely time to hammer out match reports, let alone examine spells and innings. Journalists have to make do with press-conference mutterings and the occasional one-on-one. Backroom access is almost out of the question.Which brings us to this months cover story: Ed Smiths meticulous exploration of technique and coaching in the age of the dazzling bat. Smith is a former Test cricketer who draws upon his technical and tactical know-how. He is an aesthete who is well versed with the games evolution, able to link a Virat Kohli cover drive to an image of Geoff Boycott taking his stance.Earlier this year, Smith worked as a consultant to Royal Challengers Bangalore, getting a ringside view of some of the finest limited-overs batsmen of our (and all) time. Which put him in an enviable position - not only because he was able to watch batsmen of the calibre of de Villiers and Kohli from close range but also because he could shadow them at practice, observe them at team meetings and listen to what team-mates had to say about them. Inside knowledge isnt always right, Smith cautions. But about pure talent, people close to the subject tend to know. Ask cricketers to name the games freak, theyll say AB. When de Villiers walks into a room, you sense exactly that. He does not signal this pre-eminence himself. It is written on everyone else.There is much else to savour in this issue: a cracking history of Pakistanis in the north Staffordshire leagues, the little-known story of Don Bradman meeting Kerry Packer, a Garry Sobers retrospective, and five writers on how cricket broke their hearts. Cheap Nike Air Max . -- Charlie Graham stopped 67 shots as the Belleville Bulls edged the visiting Guelph Storm 6-5 on Saturday in Ontario Hockey League action. Wholesale Air Max Shoes China . -- Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis was charged Thursday with driving while intoxicated, a day after he was suspended for an NFL substance-abuse policy violation. . LUCIE, Fla. There should be very little sympathy for those railing against the downgrading of the Wood Memorial, Blue Grass, and Mother Goose on the list for 2017 released this week by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. To take offense at such perceived slights is to admit that you take the list seriously in the first place.But people do, and to cop an attitude tends to bring civilized discussion to an abrupt halt. Unfortunately, the deeply flawed but thoroughly institutionalized system of grading races has become so badly misinterpreted and misused that to nitpick at this point about a trio of iconic events seems a sad waste of time.So, lets waste some time together.When pressed, proponents of the system describe it as the best bad solution to what is a necessary categorization of the races most American owners, breeders, trainers, and jockeys would prefer to win anyway, graded or not.A search of the TOBA website will take the enterprising reader to a page entitled Explanation of Grading System Workbook. I wont dwell on specifics other than to note once again that three-quarters of the data helping to determine the grading of races are derived from the performances of horses in races already graded by the American Graded Stakes Committee.Embarrassed by this admission of a closed informational loop, the website offers an apology, sort of:? the Committee recognizes that these measurements tend to support the self-perpetuation of graded events, an effect that can compromise the evaluation process while magnifying the consequences of all grading decisions. Ya think?The fourth leg of data is comprised of Timeform-style performance ratings (NARC Rates). Numbers gleaned from the Thoro-Graph handicapping figures also are considered. Again, the site feels compelled to equivocate:? the Committee recognizes that NARC Rates are wholly dependent on the fallible methods and art of a small group of racing professionals.In the end, the industry is given reassurance that the 11 members of the American Graded Stakes Committee are wise and just and true, and that the grading process must finally depend on the integrity, experience, and judgment of the Committee members themselves.So, there you go. Faulty data in, faulty data out, leaving it to the 11 people who this time around decided that the Mother Goose, Wood Memorial, and Blue Grass were no longer to be considered among Americas elite events. Eight votes are required to elevate a race in graded rank, while only six are necessary for demotion.Those currently on the committee include its chairman, Dr. J. David Richardson, a Louisville surgeon; Reynolds Bell Jr., of Reynolds Bell Thoroughbred Services in Lexington; Everett Dobson, part owner of the NBAs Oklahoma City Thunnder; Barbara Banke, owner of Stonestreet Farm; Craig Bernick, president of Glen Hill Farm; J. Nike Air Max Shoes 2017 China. Michael OFarrell, owner of Ocala Stud, and five racing department heads -- Martin Panza (NYRA), Tom Robbins (Del Mar), Rick Hammerle (Santa Anita), Georganne Hale (Maryland Jockey Club), and Ben Huffman (Churchill Downs).Any time spent in a room with these industry heavyweights would be a treat. Pity them for their task, however, as they wade through a mountain of dicey data whose only purpose seems to be self-justification. Integrity and wisdom go only so far in the face of such a daunting challenge. As a result ?Races are graded backward but penalize forward. The system trashes the histories of respected events while failing to take into consideration the modern shift in stakes-horse management. No fewer than 16 of the 107 Grade 1 ratings for 2017 are wasted on Triple Crown and Breeders Cup events, as if we need to be told. The graded race system meddles in the business of racetracks by imposing purse requirements, just as graded designations are put to all manner of uses for which they were not intended.The graded race system also has rewarded a racetrack for paying appearance fees to select owners and trainers above and beyond purse money. Hello, brand-new Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby, with your noncompetitive September date and your $50,000 bonuses to participating owners and trainers whose horses have won the Derby, Preakness, Belmont, Haskell, or Travers.It is no surprise that the Blue Grass and the Wood Memorial have had depth-of-quality issues in recent years. The maniacal rush to make the Kentucky Derby field has diluted all the major 3-year-old races of the late winter and early spring, now clustered in a window four, five, or six weeks in advance of the first Saturday in May.The fate of the Wood is a direct result of Gulfstreams intense competition for the best of the Eastern colts, and its earlier date puts bad Northeastern weather more often into play. As for the Blue Grass, Keeneland made its own bed by temporarily surrendering its marquee event to the Polytrack experiment. Recovery is still in progress.The American Graded Stakes Committee would like to believe that its ratings are without consequences, that they are merely a dispassionate recognition of the facts on the ground. In reality, its decisions reverberate throughout the game.In 2016, both the Wood and the Blue Grass were worth $1 million and presented on the same day. What would the committee have them do to improve their product and regain the Grade 1 status their history merits? More money? More incentives?Or perhaps move them to September. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys ' ' '