When T20 was introduced critics were harsh on shorter format of the game claiming it will kill the basics of the game and they have told it will kill the evolution of good spinners. So many suggested all the test batsmen won’t suit to this format and hell lot of things but after all this time people’s opinions should have changed.
Spin bowling turned out to be the x-factor for all successful teams who have conceded runs at a lesser economy rate than most of the fast bowlers. Who would have thought Ajmal and Narine would be so successful that batsmen would like to play them off for 5 runs per over in a 20 over match. Rahul Dravid, Jack Kallis ,Sangakkara and Hasim Amla showed technique is the key for success and scored lots of runs even in T20 cricket.
According to me, T20 cricket changed the dynamics of cricket in the other two formats. Test matches started to yield more results than it had ever and the runs scored in a day have increased drastically. All these things are good for the game and especially for fans of cricket. But when we have to see batsmen like Rahul Dravid caught in the slip cordon trying to play a ball way outside off stump which we had never seen him play in his entire career it hurts. I never thought I would watch an upper cut or reverse sweep being played in a test match which for me exactly repels with the thumb rule of Test match of keeping value for the wicket.
In 50 over matches, average scores increased drastically which makes it even interesting to watch. T20 influenced the youngsters mostly as people started to grow up watching 20 over cricket. Players started to play the ball in the air rather than keep it on the ground which intern is making us watch all this uppercuts, reverse sweeps, scoops and all kind of weird shots even in the traditional form of the cricket. Youngsters are not giving importance in learning the basics correctly which is leaving each and every batsman with more than one visible weakness and their inability to rotate strike.
But now teams started to understand the importance of rotating the strike as all the experienced players of the teams started to retire. Teams like West Indies, Pakistan and Australia who don’t have many experienced batsmen now started to lose matches only as they couldn’t rotate the strike. On paper, West Indies side looks like the team to beat but if a team bowl to their plans correctly it would be easy to contain them than containing team like Sri Lanka who doesn’t have at least half the fire power of West Indies. Most of the games these teams lose as they can’t rotate the strike.
One more important point all the young players are missing is pacing the innings by which I mean understanding when to attack and when not. Glen Maxwell of Australia is a perfect example of this even if hs team is 5 down and even he have scored 15 of the over already he would go for runs rather than rotating strike. These may pay dividends sometimes but consider the position of his team if he happens to get out because of the shot he played.
This may be because of his lack of confidence to rotate strike or his confidence of clearing the fence. The point I want to make here is batsmen should play according to the situation or position of his team. David Miller and Albie Morkel of South Africa are no different to Maxwell. Almost every team have batsmen like this who on their day are the most dangerous batsmen but cannot be trusted to be consistent like Umar Akamal, Shahid Afridi, Yusuf Pathan, Thisara Perera, Dwayne Smith, Luke Wright, etc.
Some batsmen proved that they can adjust to all formats and play them exactly the way they have to be played like AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli etc. These batsmen play T20 aggressively (with proper cricketing shots) and Test cricket patiently which shows their ability to switch and adjust to formats.
One thing common in both AB De Villiers and Virat is that both of them are very good in rotating strike and these people are extremely good in pacing their innings. Most of the shots played by both this players will be normal cricket strokes rather than the slogs. All the characteristics of this batsmen shows that for being good batsmen player should be strong in basics and should be able to rotate strike well which would be key to success for all the teams.
With teams understanding the importance of rotating strike and pacing the innings if they start to educate the youngsters the importance of rotating the strike it would be a great boast for the game of cricket. With the players like de Villiers and Kohli growing from game to game, these people can be showed as role models as they happened to play in all formats at the top most level. These players can help us watch more proper cricketing shots than slogs which will be a great boast and if youngsters take this guys as role model we can see proper cricket in future.
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- Dwayne Smith
- Luke Wright