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Unique practice makes perfect for Matt Renshaw

Posted by on 18/07/2018

Brisbane’s Matt Renshaw compiles an impressive 71 against Pakistan in the first innings at the Gabba. Photo: Tertius PickardMatt Renshaw took to the crease Thursday with a calm assurance that’s not often associated with youth.
Nanjing Night Net

The lanky left-hander compiled a carefree 71 in the first Test against Pakistan at the Gabba before finally falling victim to Wahab Riaz.

The 19-year-old Queenslander has impressed with his maturity and presence at the crease, with many sets of seasoned eyes struggling to believe that such a young man could perform like this in only his second Test.

To the naked eye it would almost seem Renshaw had batted in this scenario, over and over again.

And he almost had, growing up he was coached quite a bit differently to most other junior cricketers.

His father Ian has quite a history in cricket, from playing park cricket with Joe Root’s father to publishing an academic study about the game, and is currently a coach at Toombul District Cricket Club.

Ian’s background in sports science and coaching couldn’t help but bleed into his methods as he worked away for hours with his son at cricket fields around Brisbane.

One of the most astounding parts of this training method was the methodically thought-out sessions Matt would undertake.

Father and son would set out 11 moveable nets, each about 1.5m in diameter, mimicking fielders. Ian would then lug a bag full of 100 balls out to the crease and begin throwing at his son.

This was repeated and repeated and repeated, sometimes with a change of field. Sometimes even on Christmas Day.

This training method taught Matt where he could score runs past his “fielders” and how to pierce the infield. It taught him the value of fitness, sometimes running between the wickets to simulate the high stress of a match.

One aspect that impressed most pundits in Renshaw’s debut Test match in Adelaide was his ability to leave the ball. Guess where he learnt to do that …

Ian would set up nets acting as a keeper and after each session, the pair would trudge to the nets collecting and counting the balls to see how many deliveries were left during the session to determine if he was leaving well.

Renshaw has developed this bank of experiences by practicing in high stress, game-like scenarios. Over the years, his father has thrown thousands of balls that have mimicked a left-arm bowler swinging the ball away, or a right-hand leg spinner on a bouncy deck.

The experience Renshaw has developed in his tender years makes him an outlier compared to most young batsmen who have honed their skills in the nets or their rare time in the middle.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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