With school and professional players facing an increased schedule of cricket throughout the year, it is pivotal that they are able to adjust to different conditions. One of these variances is the change in formats. Whether it is a 50 over game, a T20 or a full day match players can be faced with all these formats within the small space of a week. The strategies in these games can be vastly different, so what is the best way to overcome these challenges.
The basics of the game are as always the most crucial to success in any format. The principles of batting, including watching the ball, hitting with as fuller face of the bat as possible, weight transfer in the shot and balance throughout the movement, are technical fundamentals which must be adhered to in all formats. Likewise with bowling – Alignment towards the intended direction, stability in the action and a controlled force generation provides a bowler with a repeatable and consistent delivery which he needs confidence and a clear committed mind to execute. Many fielding techniques remain the same and are just accelerated depending on the pace of the game. These include, speed to the ball, clean pickups, accurate throws and taking catches. As a coach or player it is tempting to be distracted by fads in the game and to not spend as much time on the basics, but as famous coach Chuck Noll said, “Champions are those who do ordinary things better than everyone else”
In order to win a Test match, one team has to gain all 20 wickets at a lower cost than that of an opposition within a 5 day period. Hence the objective of the game determines the processes which need to be done in order to be successful. Limited over cricket provides the strategy which values runs in a specific amount of overs to determine a winner. The important processes thus differ in the various formats, however with these variances there are also some striking similarities important to all. When practicing for a specific format a player or coach should emphasise a game plan that will give them the best chance of success in the middle in various situations.
A common chestnut of cricket terminology is “keeping wickets in hand”, this along with many strategies falls on a sliding continuum of importance at different stages of a match in order to accomplish the teams objective of winning the game. Take for example a T20 game when a team requires 50 runs off 10 overs with 7 wickets in hand. It is then crucial that the bowling team restrict the run rate through the fall of wickets rather than looking to contain, they will thus bowl more aggressive lines and lengths with field placings to match in order to reach the goal – perhaps borrowing some blueprints from Full day cricket.
T20 cricket has certainly unlocked players capabilities and skills in terms of innovation and execution which is filtering through the longer limited over formats and test match cricket. This is producing cricketers who can break the mould of yesteryears mind-sets which have its positives and negatives. Many more athletic players are now taking the field with acrobat like fielding standards, variations of deliveries and a full array of shot making which are now common place for even Test cricket. However many players consider the Test arena to be the true reflection of a player. Perhaps it’s the endurance, the strategy, the courage and the character of a man that is on show which appeals to the diehard cricket traditionalists over the flashy skills, adaptability and pace of the short forms, but they all have their place on the cricket landscape and thus should be embraced for what they bring to the game by both players and coaches.[/upme_private]]