Tuesday, 31 January 2017

T20 'script' becoming formulaic

There was an interesting piece over on Cricinfo the other day, with regard to the Big Bash League in Australia.

In 35 matches, including the final, 28 teams decided to bowl first. The seven sides that opted to bat all regretted it, because they all lost the matches in question.

It is a telling statistic and reinforces what I have espoused on here for years - that batting second affords a far greater chance of a win in the short format game.

Why? A range of reasons. First of all, when you bat first you have no idea what represents a good score on a wicket and in over-reaching, quite often end up 20 runs short of par, as batsmen fail to realise that 160 would win it, aim for 180 and end up getting bowled out for 145.

I'm no first-class cricketer, but skippered a club side of limited ability through nine seasons of T20, in which we won far more games than we should by adopting this method. We had three/four decent batsmen who could then pace their innings, knowing full well what they had to do, rather than giving it away. The perils of batting as it got darker were outweighed by this and we claimed some prize scalps, as opponents strived for scores that would have tested India, rather than a motley collection of amateurs.

Alex Wakely of Northamptonshire says that they prefer to bat second as they bat so deep and the presence in any side of a couple of lower order 'biffers' who can clear the ropes is of huge value. If you get to the last couple of overs now, with shorter boundaries  and bats like cudgels, anything under thirty with a man 'in' offers good possibilities. That is when your top bowlers come in to their own, but the odds are firmly in favour of the batting side when one six and some adroit placement and running can turn the game your way.

There are grounds - Nagpur, where England lost on Sunday being one - where the wicket gets slower and runs harder to score as the game goes on, but crowds, sadly, don't turn out for T20 to see bowlers, unless they are real magicians. Mitchell Johnson was brilliant in the BBL, while Imran Tahir gives a rare sense of expectation when he takes the ball in his hand, but crowds want to see a ball heading their way on a regular basis.

It was good to read about Tahir on the same website yesterday, where it said that he rarely bowls a bad ball these days. I think he is a classic spin bowler who, like most of his kind, has got better with age and is now at a stage where he can pitch his many variations at will.  At 37, I could see him playing on for another five or six years and losing little over that period. He is box office material and while some say that his wicket celebrations are over the top, supporters identify with someone who so obviously enjoys his game.

Long may he play it and hopefully the coming season isn't the only one in which we see him in Derbyshire colours.

Finally today, and answering Michael, who emailed me over the weekend, the two Big Bash players who most impressed me this year were Chris Lynn and Marcus Stoinis. Lynn is an incredible hitter of a cricket ball and would be a huge catch for any side over here, while Stoinis, a good bowler as well as a fine batsman (as he showed yesterday against New Zealand) would be a very canny signing.

Yet neither can play here. Unless they have changed, my understanding of the rules is that any player who wants an overseas contract in the county game must have either one Test match or 15 T20/one day appearances for their country in the preceding 24 months. Neither of those two come close, so it must remain a pipe dream for counties, at least for now.

Nor, sadly, and to answer another question, do I expect to see Martin Guptill back for the T20. He has been announced as the captain of the Guyana Amazon Warriors (now THAT's a name!) for the Caribbean Premier League and its timing would mean that 'The Gup' could only play four, maybe five matches here.

One of his team mates is Chris Lynn.

Now their fans are set for some serious entertainment...

9 comments:

Gary said...

Looking at those last few NZ ODI internationals that Broom looks a decent player - Wonder if he would be available!!

Peakfan said...

We should get in there before anyone else, mate!

Mark N said...

Any ideas who we might go after then? Anyone seen any rumours? I reckon a captain/bat is best way forward for us but faith in John Wright to decide what we might need

Peakfan said...

No idea Mark. Between the IPL and CPL a lot of players have as much as they want. The good thing is that John Wright will have a lot of contacts with his work in the IPL.
I agree on a batter and if he can bowl, so much the better.

Roy of the Falcons said...

Slightly off topic, I saw a master plan, from the ECB, of how they see the first season of our new T20 tournament panning out. I think that there is so much cricket in July and August that Chesterfield is in with a chance of a test match and there is a chance for any good club cricketer to get a first class game. If you are a club cricketing teacher get in those nets practising.
I love the Big Bash, it brightens up my winters, but if we are only to play games at our test venues I think we will have trouble fitting all the cricket in. Nowadays grounds need to be prepared particularly the advertising/sponsorship side so grounds hosting test matches during our T20 will be out of action for at least six days if not more.

Mark N said...

I haven't really looked at the scheduling abroad as I just follow domestic cricket here but does this mean that potential A listers like Maxwell, Finch, Guptill etc are all more than likely off the radar? Assuming we want one signing for the whole of the t20 competition. Don't fancy a job share in a comparatively short event.

Doug said...

On a high scoring ground with the "best" batting lineup in the world, 8 for 8 in 17 balls

Very formulaic

Peakfan said...

Can't legislate for ineptitude Doug...

Ash said...

I would be interested to see the same stats for the English T20 competition over the last couple of seasons, I'm sure JW would be interested too......