Cricket - Further Information
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|What makes short-form cricket different? - |
Well, for batsmen, scoring as much as you can from every ball is vital. For the fielding side, every ball bowled that can`t be scored from is incrementally devastating. Twelve `dot balls` are worth a wicket because they`ve removed 10% of the opposition`s opportunity to score.
This sounds mad, but someone probably needs to tell you:
Taking wickets is not as important. In the longer form of the game, taking wickets is a primary aim because it reduces the score. In this, the 20 over innings, you`re expected to survive for twenty overs anyway (two overs per wicket) even if you lose half the team to crazy shots. The important thing to watch is run-rate. If a batsman is unable to score at more than a run a ball, there`s a very strong argument that the bowler should leave him there, don`t try to get him out, because the man coming in next will probably score faster, achieving a higher total. Vice-versa; if a batsman is scoring fast, it`s important to dismiss him and move on to someone who can`t. If a bowler can`t get a fast scorer out, he should try to give that player a single run at the start of each over and then bowl five balls at the lesser batsman. As a batsman, if you get injured, you should retire, even if it`s against your instinct to do so, you must sacrifice yourself to sustain the team run rate.
How can you spot a good 20/20 player? An economic bowling rate (something under six runs per over), conceding very few extras, a fast scoring strike rate (well above 100 runs per 100 balls), holding their nerve under stress and being sharp in the field (holding catches, being athletic enough to protect whole fielding areas - especially backward point, skill at sliding and cutting off boundary shots, together with an ability to throw accurately and efficiently back to the wicket keeper). In fact, the mark of a 20/20 player is not to throw in the air back to the keeper, but to bounce the ball in front of them (avoiding any overthrows). Youth also helps (India recently chose young players ahead of Dravid and Ganguly and went on to beat Australia and Sri Lanka in the CB Series). If you take a look at the domestic Indian youth contingent in these teams, you can immediately see they`ve been picked because of their excellent economy rates and strike rates. Test cricket, for contrast, considers different criteria.
A good sign to look for if you`re trying to predict a successful 20/20 side is the number of all-rounders. Ideally, all eleven players should be able to hit boundaries or score at a run a ball. Having lots of bowlers helps too because if a batsman takes a liking to one style, you just replace it with another. With famous international players packing these IPL sides, the `rule` relaxes to accommodate them. Glen McGrath, for example, is a bowler`s dream. He can bowl very well, but can`t bat, so a completely objective selector might prefer another batsman who can hit boundaries, bowls a bit and doesn`t concede as many runs as they score.
To be frank, 20/20 isn`t a bowler`s game. The pitches are prepared to encourage lavish boundary shots (not much movement in them for the bowlers) and the ropes are brought in to encourage hitting sixes (which might be caught inside the ropes on a normal playing area). The most accurate and economical of Test bowlers will be attacked straight away (especially if they`re a bit long in the tooth) because everyone knows exactly where they bowl and it`s just too predictable. Line & length reputations will get no respect; throw away the form book.
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