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Thread: Damage Control in T20's

  1. #1
    Request Your Custom Title Now! Zinzan's Avatar
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    Damage Control in T20's

    An excellent article by Cricinfo's A Chopra.

    Reckon he's bang on the money about the 'Three lengths' to bowl in T20's & the fact 'The single is the new dot-ball'.

    Enjoy..........



    Damage control

    What bowlers do to survive in the shortest, cruellest format of the game

    Aakash Chopra


    Traditionally bowlers tend to win Tests for teams, and batsmen ODIs. An offshoot of 50-over cricket, Twenty20 follows the parent format. Twenty20 is perhaps even more about sixes than yorkers. While most who matter accept that Twenty20 is a batsman's prerogative, how can one expect bowlers to remain unfazed? It's rather difficult to defend when batsmen come armed with a single motive, and without the responsibility of lasting 50 overs.

    Bowlers who go for around five-six runs an over in ODIs consistently go for plenty more in this format. What stops batsmen from going after the bowling in an ODI is not only the quality of bowling but also the fear of getting out. The top six batsmen are supposed to bat 50 overs. In Twenty20, however, there's no such burden on them and batsmen have the licence to go after the bowling from the start.

    Also, there's very little to choose between a Muttiah Muralitharan and a Yusuf Pathan in this format. On a given day Yusuf, a part-time offspinner, might be more effective than the man with the most Test wickets in the world. Respect for bowlers has gone down remarkably. In other formats batsmen would like to give respect to certain bowlers and target the rest, but in a Twenty20 bash you are almost forced to treat everyone equally. Every ball coming your way needs to be met with aggression regardless of who has bowled it.

    So bowlers have gone back to the drawing board and chalked out a few ways to counter the assault they have been subjected to in Twenty20.

    Three lengths
    For starters, bowlers have realised that only three lengths work in this format: yorkers, just short of good length, and bouncers. Only in the first couple of overs, when the ball is swinging and the batsmen are slightly guarded, can a bowler can get away with bowling any length other than the three mentioned above. In that early period one can try to pitch it up to the bat, hoping to take it away or bring it in to the batsman, but as soon as the ball loses its sheen, bowling full is considered criminal. Once the batsman has made up his mind to go on the offensive, it's mandatory to hit the desired length at will.

    There are no half measures, as the margin of error is very small. A slight error in length turns an intended yorker into a half-volley or a full-toss, resulting in a hit to the fence.

    Yorkers, which were bowled mostly in the death overs in ODIs, are used liberally in this format. Earlier yorkers were supposed to be directed towards the batsman's toes, but nowadays bowlers have also started bowling them outside the off stump. Players like MS Dhoni have found a way of hitting yorkers directed at their legs. They clear their front leg and make room to swing their arms. Bowlers have started going wide outside off stump to counter that.

    Change of pace
    Another skill that most bowlers have tried to master is bowling the slower ball. Most bowlers practise different kinds of slower ones: from the back of the hand, the split-finger one, the traditional offcutter, and some like Sreesanth have even tried bowling proper legbreaks. But more than the variety it's the ability to bowl the delivery while under pressure, and disguise it, that make it work.

    The slower bouncer is a new addition to this category. Shaun Pollock started bowling it a long time ago, but there weren't many takers for it till recently. Now we see many bowlers using it to great effect.

    Start well, finish well
    Stats suggest that the first and last balls of overs are the most expensive balls in Twenty20, and all bowlers now know the importance of starting and finishing an over strongly. The first and last balls, after all, make one-third of a bowler's quota in any format of the game. Starting an over strongly puts pressure on the batsman to do something out of ordinary in the remaining five balls, and finishing well reduces the pressure on the bowler bowling from the other end. That's what bowling in partnerships is all about, where both bowlers complement each other to create an impact.



    Bowlers have made peace with the fact that they are going to be hit, and that acceptance has led them to devise different strategies. Instead of trying to stop batsmen from hitting, bowlers try and ensure that batsmen can hit only in the direction they want them to hit



    No looseners
    This brings us to the importance of keeping yourself warm and loose through out the game. One can't afford to bowl a couple of warm-up balls to a fellow player because of the time constraints; you also can't afford to start the spell with a loosener. This is why bowlers, while standing at the boundary, bowl to their non-playing team-mates or support staff, who stand with a baseball glove on to assist them.

    The single is the new dot-ball
    In other formats only a wicket-taking delivery and a maiden are considered good deliveries, but Twenty20 has widened the definition. A single conceded off a ball is considered as good as a dot-ball in most situations. Bowlers know this, and are seen giving singles after bowling a dot-ball or two.

    Go-to deliveries
    Just like batsmen have their go-to shots, bowlers also master their go-to deliveries, which they rely on themselves to execute perfectly under pressure. They could be yorkers, bouncers or slower ones, which will bail them out in a tight situation.

    Accepting the inevitable
    Another interesting development is that bowlers have made peace with the fact that they are going to be hit, and that acceptance has led them to devise different strategies. Instead of trying to stop batsmen from hitting, bowlers try and ensure that batsmen can hit only in the direction they want them to hit. For example, if the bowler has set a heavy off-side field, he tries to bowl in areas from where he can't be hit towards the on side.

    Sounds tough? Well, it is tough on the bowlers. Didn't they tell you it's a batsman's game?

    Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Beyond the Blues, an account of the 2007-08 Ranji Trophy season. His website is here
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    Last edited by Zinzan; 05-11-2009 at 11:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Hall of Fame Member aussie's Avatar
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    Ye is spot on overall. If a bowler was never a good death bowler in 50 overs, he would always be a poor T20 bowler.

    I slightly disagree with the notion that on a given day a Pathan type part-timer could be more effective than Murali/Warne. Batsmen in T20 definately based on what i've seen still do treat Mural/Warne with great respect.

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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Zinzan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aussie View Post

    I slightly disagree with the notion that on a given day a Pathan type part-timer could be more effective than Murali/Warne..
    Yep, was also a tad dubious on that point

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    I've love how bowlers will toil for hours in test cricket trying to tempt batsmen into playing an aggressive stroke, then when someone invents a game where the batsmen have to play aggressive strokes, they moan incessantly about how it's just a batsman's game.


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    Hall of Fame Member aussie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    I've love how bowlers will toil for hours in test cricket trying to tempt batsmen into playing an aggressive stroke, then when someone invents a game where the batsmen have to play aggressive strokes, they moan incessantly about how it's just a batsman's game.
    Ha well the toiling is beauty of test cricket, its a game of chess. Any format when an acceptable economy rate for a bowler is 6 runs per over, is not proper cricket.

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    International Coach stephen's Avatar
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    Funny, I always thought that Twenty20 was a bowlers game.

    Most of the time I've watched it the winning side has been the one with a bowler taking figures of something like 3/25 or something like that.

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    Norwood's on Fire GIMH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aussie View Post
    Ha well the toiling is beauty of test cricket, its a game of chess. Any format when an acceptable economy rate for a bowler is 6 runs per over, is not proper cricket.
    Meh, this for me is the worst point that gets made against T20. By the same logic, ODIs are dire because 4.5 is a good economy rate for a bowler yet it is poor in Tests.

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    Hall of Fame Member aussie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeraintIsMyHero View Post
    Meh, this for me is the worst point that gets made against T20. By the same logic, ODIs are dire because 4.5 is a good economy rate for a bowler yet it is poor in Tests.
    No. But at least in ODIs you do have the occassions where bowlers have the possibilty to put "test match" style pressure on batsmen & have proper economy rates. Guys like McGrath, Pollock, Murali, Akram went their entire ODI careers with ER under 4, while Vetorri, Flintoff, Warne, Saqlain others i can't remember off my head ATM have ERs from 4 to 4.2. Its impossible to have such an economy rate in T20s.

    Plus they are many circustances in ODIs where if the batting team loses early wickets, they would have consolidate & recover test match style. Best recent example is Symonds WC 03 vs PAK.

    Since the kind of skill & bowling intelligence needed to be a good T20 bowler is pretty predicatable.

    For the quicks if you couldn't bowl @ the death in a 50 over game you will be a poor T20 bowler.

    For the spinners if you dont have guile & depend on darting the ball around i.e England's Snape & Schofield 07 WC, you will turn into a satellite



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