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Thread: Batting order in order of best to worst, rather than specialist position

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    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    Batting order in order of best to worst, rather than specialist position

    I was trying to explain cricket to a mate of mine from uni who doesn't watch nor understand the game (and till this day, cannot comprehend the fact that we have a game which can last 5 days, yet not produce a result).

    When explaining the idea of batting, Australia vs. Sri Lanka was on and I was telling him how the next batsman in (Sangakkara) was Sri Lanka's best batsman. He then asked "then why isn't he in now?" I tried to explain the idea of specialist positions, which he understood, but replied with "well if they're the best, they'll be able to play in any position, won't they?"

    It brought an interesting thought to my head. If you placed a team's batting position from 1-11 in order of who the better batsman is (and this can be subjective and come down to opinion in some teams, particularly Australia and to a lesser extent India who have quite multiple talented batsmen), would the team be equally, or even just slightly less effective? Could it still work?

    Or are specialist positions so vital in the game that the batting would be significantly less effective?

    I'm mainly thinking of tests here actually (despite the game above I was referring to being a ODI), but I'm going to try ODIs too. ODIs are also likely to be tougher, with lower order specialists, and pinch hitting openers etc. being relevant.

    I've decided to do the Australian and Indian teams (based on their last test match) myself, and some may disagree with which batsman I rank higher than others, which is fair enough.

    Note: I've gone on who I rate higher at the moment, not necessarily form. I know that sounds contradictory, but Hayden is probably in better form than Hussey, but I rate Hussey the better batsman. However Gilchrist over his career is a better ODI batsman than Michael Clarke, but at this moment in time, I rate Michael Clarke better. Not form, but how good they are currently. There's a distinction.

    Indian Test Team
    Tendulkar
    Dravid
    Laxman
    Ganguly
    Sehwag
    Dhoni
    Pathan
    Kumble
    Harbhajan
    RP Singh
    Ishant Sharma

    Could work effectively. Obviously India would risk losing Dravid and Tendulkar early to the new ball, but at the same time Dravid has opened before (and whilst he doesn't like it, he CAN do it, and definitely can when in form) and Tendulkar has all the attributes to do it. Laxman's probably at his best when at 3, and there were calls for Ganguly to be at 4 during this Aus series, so he could bat there as an aggressive 4. Sehwag at 5 is interesting, he started as a middle order batsman, and also played there in the third test vs. South Africa to hide him from the new ball when he was in woeful form. He's obviously better served as an opener, but he's an excellent player of spin and if he came out with a platform and the ball not moving he'd be dangerous. From then on its the same.

    Indian ODI Team
    Tendulkar
    Yuvraj
    Dhoni
    Sehwag
    Uthappa
    Gambhir
    Rohit Sharma
    Pathan
    Harbhajan
    Sreesanth
    Ishant Sharma

    Opening Yuvraj would obviously hurt his effectiveness, as it'd expose him to the new ball. Dhoni's batted 3 before, and done so brilliantly. I can see an argument that he's better than Yuvraj overall, but I'd still have Yuvraj slightly better than Dhoni, despite his poor form. From then on its a little less interesting due to the younger guys being harder to rate. Sehwag's a mediocre ODI player who is dangerous on his day but too inconsistent, but you'd still have to have him higher than the others. Uthappa works anywhere, but Gambhir would lose effectiveness at 6, and I haven't seen enough of Rohit but he wouldn't work at 7 at all I reckon. He's come in late in 20/20 matches and done the job, but he looks much more of an innings builder.

    Australian Test Team
    Ponting
    Hussey
    Hayden
    Clarke
    Gilchrist
    Jaques
    Symonds
    Hogg
    Lee
    Johnson
    Clark

    Ponting has come in early before at 3, so could open, and Hussey was originally brought into the Australian team as an opener, so its obvious he could do it. Hayden at 3 is interesting, particularly if he came in at 1/180 or something. Jaques at 6 would be the biggest issue really. Would be trouble if he came in against spin. Makes no different where Symonds bats once its after 4 IMO.

    Just like to say I was tempted to put Johnson above Lee as a batsman Also I'm guessing Symonds fans may not like the fact I rated Jaques above him.

    Australian ODI Team
    Ponting
    Hussey
    Symonds
    Hayden
    Clarke
    AC Gilchrist
    Hopes
    Hogg
    Lee
    Johnson
    Bracken

    Ponting could open, of that I have no doubt. Hussey could too, but it'd possibly waste his ability to hit the ball into gaps and run twos. Symonds at 3 would be an issue if Australia lost an early wicket, but he's probably good enough to get through it most of the time so long as its not a green wicket. Hayden at 4 may not work IMO, as he wouldn't have a start when he came in, and if it was after a powerplay I reckon he wouldn't push as many singles as a 4 would to get started. Just a hunch. There's been talk about batting Gilly at 6 or 7 before when he was out of form. He could obviously do it.

    Overall, as expected, it seems the test batting has less of a negative effect compared to ODIs. The only issue with tests is you risk your better batsman to the new ball if they're not openers, but generally, from 3-6 there isn't too much of an issue.

    India's ODI batting order is significantly effected, as the roles just don't fit the spot. Australia's is less effected though.

    Before I finish I'd just like to say how bloody hard it was ranking Australia's ODI batting line-up. No wonder they're frickin' world champions. When Gilchrist is your sixth best batsman you know you have a damn good batting line-up.

    Feel free to do other teams to see if they'd also work.
    Last edited by Jono; 09-02-2008 at 05:03 AM.
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    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    One thing that occurs looking at the Aussie ODI team is that its actually quite hard to rank how Hussey has been going in ODIs recently - he is called upon to play so few substantive innings. It's surely one of the crying shames of world cricket, although a wonderful luxury for Australia, that he doesn't regularly bat at 4 or even 5 in ODIs. That said, I completely agree with you about the Aussie top five (as you've listed them) in ODIs. I think Clarke is one of the very best ODI batsmen going around, but I can't categorically say that you're wrong to have rated Ponting, Huss, Hayden and Symonds above him.

    In terms of specialisation I think Australia are hurt by that order. Hayden and Gilly have made an art out of exploiting field restrictions, and of coming out at full speed. Ponting and Symonds both seem to produce their best when they have the luxury of a few overs to settle, usually when someone is going well at the other end.

    I think specialisation is important overall. There will always be players who ARE good enough to make a go of it in any position, but there are probably more players who definitely benefit from being able to play in their preferred position. If nothing else, the value of openers in taking the shine off the ball and weathering the initial period is a definite plus - think about how much confident you are in your best batsman producing the goods when (if you're an Australian) Ponting comes in at 1/60 rather than 1/10, or Sachin comes in at 2/110 rather than 2/35.
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    You'll Never Walk Alone Nate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono
    Ponting has come in early before at 3
    Have seem him do it a few times tbh.

    Good idea for a thread though.
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    Hall of Fame Member Cevno's Avatar
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    On pitches where there is early swing this can be bad but how about worst to best?
    Tailenders applying themselves and with luck could face of the new ball and then the regular batsmen make merry.
    Pretty radical but had to get it of my chest.


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    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cevno View Post
    On pitches where there is early swing this can be bad but how about worst to best?
    Tailenders applying themselves and with luck could face of the new ball and then the regular batsmen make merry.
    Pretty radical but had to get it of my chest.
    Tbh I was thinking of adding that to my post, but anything which makes you scroll three times turns posters off nowadays

    Although rather than the Bradman thing of sending in the tail to blunt the new ball, I was just going to do it for the specialist batsman. In a ODI it'd bomb because of the limited overs, but in a test it may work.

    That being said, if you had say Jaques and Symonds for Australia, with Gilly at 3? Could fail.

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    The problem with reverse order is leaving a good batsman not out on 5 or something. Could work with the current australian team if you just left clark and lee at the bottom and opened with johnson and hogg.
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    Hall of Fame Member NUFAN's Avatar
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    I'm sure the good countries could get away with it to some degree.

    One big problem would be where do you put your debutants? They are probably all used to opening the batting for their domestic team.

    Would it put too much pressure on your number 6, knowing that he is seen as the worst batsmen and most likely to be dropped, or could you argue that is the case anyways..

    Interesting topic.

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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    In an ideal world, my best batsman would come at #4, and if he is also great at playing spin then at #5. You want the conditions to be best when he comes. Obviously, that doesn't work when your top order is **** and the #5 comes in with the score 21/3 all the time. In that case, your best player should be at #3 so he can steady the innings or accelerate as necessary.
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    I thought i would have a go at doing England

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    Hall of Fame Member Jamee999's Avatar
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    Collingwood>>>Bell
    Or something.

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    International Coach PhoenixFire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamee999 View Post
    Collingwood>>>Bell
    Nah, Bell is much better IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamee999 View Post
    Collingwood>>>Bell
    Not a chance.
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    International Coach PhoenixFire's Avatar
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    Get some new material, Gray.

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    International Coach adharcric's Avatar
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    Quality thread. The best batsman isn't always the best in every aspect of batting - facing swing and seam, playing spin, consolidating, counterattacking, accelerating and more - and even if he is, the objective is to optimize the effectiveness of each batsman and more crucially, that of the combined batting unit. You see this in virtually every team sport and it makes plenty of sense.

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