Melbourne: Australian great Sir Don Bradman himself declared that Sachin Tendulkar reminded him of his own batting style but former English cricketer Tony Shillinglaw chooses to disagree. He has argued through a study that technique wise both the players are as different as chalk and cheese.
Shillinglaw, who is a coach now, has conducted an extensive biomechanical study of Bradman's technique and claims that actually it is Pakistan's Inzamam-ul Haq, who comes close to Bradman's batting style.
"It's almost become a myth that if you're watching Tendulkar, you're watching Bradman. Well, there is very little comparison when you do so. Tendulkar is basically textbook, whereas Bradman used a rotary method in preparing to hit the ball," Shillinglaw was quoted as saying in 'Sydney Morning Herald'.
"What you get with that is it becomes just a human instinct to react to the ball, and in the end that's the basis of Bradman's method. It's a circular motion. He didn't learn to bat, he learned to control the ball."
Bradman had said in an interview in 1996 that after being struck by Tendulkar's technique, he had asked his wife to look at the Indian's batting style and she also agreed that there were similarities.
Shillinglaw, who analysed Bradman at length and had scientists at Liverpool's John Moores University recreate his strokes, accepts there are some facets of Bradman's batting that resonate in Tendulkar. But, technically, he says, they are very different. He argues that the only striking similarity between Bradman and Tendulkar is that both the players are good watchers of the ball but the Indian is actually confined by orthodoxy.
"It does make sense to a degree. They were both small men, and Tendulkar wasn't taught to bat in a traditional way. Of course, being small and compact, he developed in his own way the skill of judging the ball and reacting to the ball", Shillinglaw said.
"The similarity is that they were both expert at viewing the ball and playing it, but Tendulkar, I feel he is restricted by the confines of orthodoxy", he said.
"It amazes me that with all modern technology nobody has really looked in-depth at [Bradman's] method and compared it with the likes of Tendulkar in particular because of his reputation, and Jacques Kallis, whose average is very similar.
"They're both very highly skilled, technical players, and comparing Bradman with those two, I feel, is a way to establishing Bradman's differences."
Asked if not Tendulkar then who is closest to the batting style of Bradman, Shillinglaw came up with a surprise choice.
"Funnily enough, the nearest I've seen of all people is Inzamam-ul-Haq, even though he was a big bull of a man. His batting movements were the nearest I've seen to Bradman, and amazingly his timing and his foot movement for a big man - they were very quick," says Shillinglaw, who penned the book Bradman Revisited.