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Thread: Manufactured openers' success

  1. #1
    Hall of Fame Member social's Avatar
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    Manufactured openers' success

    Sehwag, Katich, Watson, Prince etc are defying conventional wisdom by succeeding (to various degrees) in a position that conventional wisdom dictates as the preserve of "specialists."

    You cant put it all down to flat tracks as all have achieved some measure of success in "reasonable bowling conditions."

    IMO, the game has changed in that:

    a. openers aren't simply sent out to take the shine off the ball;

    b. opening bowlers arent generally the opposition's best bowlers; and

    c. today's players are more comfortable starting against pace.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Yea, probably a mixture of the first two, and the fact that the pace bowling quality is not there and neither is the pitch. Part of the reason to take the shine off the ball was to get through the tough swinging conditions where you couldn't really play a lot of shots. Most of the time, those conditions simply do not exist, reducing the need for an 'orthodox' opener, except in rare cases. So while yes, all of them have succeeded a little bit in other conditions, if those conditions were the norm rather than the exception, I'd bet at least a few of those players might not have survived as openers, or at least done significantly worse.
    Last edited by silentstriker; 16-12-2009 at 11:26 AM.
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    Hall of Fame Member social's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Yea, probably a mixture of the first two, and the fact that the pace bowling quality is not there and neither is the pitch. Part of the reason to take the shine off the ball was to get through the tough swinging conditions where you couldn't really play a lot of shots. Most of the time, those conditions simply do not exist, reducing the need for an 'orthodox' opener, except in rare cases. So while yes, all of them have succeeded a little bit in other conditions, if those conditions were the norm rather than the exception, I'd bet at least a few of those players might not have survived as openers, or at least done significantly worse.
    We'll never know because it's impossible to judge how, say, Freddie Truman would've reacted to Sehwag lacing length balls over cover in the first over because he rarely, if ever, faced such an onslaught from a world class player

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by social View Post
    We'll never know because it's impossible to judge how, say, Freddie Truman would've reacted to Sehwag lacing length balls over cover in the first over because he rarely, if ever, faced such an onslaught from a world class player
    Of course we'll never know for certain but we can take a fairly reasonable guess in my view - that's bombarded him with a few short ones in outrage then gone for a few more length balls, one of which would've swung away and taken the outside-edge and been caught at slip.

    BTW to put Prince and Watson in the club you've added them to is equable to the poster - who shall remain nameless - who back in 2003/04 included Dwayne Smith in the club of "Test-class batsmen who had poor\inferior domestic-FC records" following his 105* on debut.

    As to the overall question, of course manufactured openers can succeed and have done on not a few occasions - and in the less recent as well as recent past though the reasons given why it is more likely to succeed at the current time than in most times past are sound.

    Nonetheless, someone who has reached the age of perhaps 20 having done nothing but bat in the middle-order is much, much more likely to fail upon being pushed up to open than succeed, and thus making such a decision to do so as a selector comes under the realm of "bad move" regardless of almost (yes, almost) anything in my book. This was true 15 years ago and remains true now even if the extent to which it applies may have lessened.
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    Hall of Fame Member aussie's Avatar
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    Add Dilshan & Vaughan, Alec Stewart as well. I just think these few players are pretty versatile. Since in recent years we have seen also seen Dravid, Laxman, Shoaib Malik, Hall, Dipenaar, Wavell Hinds, Ramprakash also tried as manufacuted openers but couldn't maintain the role.

    So overall i still think the traditional conventional wisdow of seeing of the new-ball & having a solid technique are imperitive to being a test quality opener. But indeed with the lack of quality bowlers & flat decks around curently, this conventional theory has been put under pressure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Nonetheless, someone who has reached the age of perhaps 20 having done nothing but bat in the middle-order is much, much more likely to fail upon being pushed up to open than succeed, and thus making such a decision to do so as a selector comes under the realm of "bad move" regardless of almost (yes, almost) anything in my book. This was true 15 years ago and remains true now even if the extent to which it applies may have lessened.
    With the various skill sets required to be successful in all 3 forms of the game, I see no reason why a batsman who's spent his career at 5 shouldn't be able to be adaptable enough to be successful opening.

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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Mr Mxyzptlk's Avatar
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    But what defines a natural opener? Is it not the skills that allow him to negotiate the new ball? A person like Simon Katich may be considered a "manufactured opener" because he hasn't done it for most of his career, but the fact is that he has all the skills to play the new ball. That's not manufactured. That's a flexible batsman.

    EDIT: My post is a build on Dinnen's above, not a criticism of.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aussie View Post
    Add Dilshan & Vaughan, Alec Stewart as well. I just think these few players are pretty versatile. Since in recent years we have seen also seen Dravid, Laxman, Shoaib Malik, Hall, Dipenaar, Wavell Hinds, Ramprakash also tried as manufacuted openers but couldn't maintain the role.

    So overall i still think the traditional conventional wisdow of seeing of the new-ball & having a solid technique are imperitive to being a test quality opener. But indeed with the lack of quality bowlers & flat decks around curently, this conventional theory has been put under pressure.
    Vaughan's actually the opposite. Was an opener all age-group career then got to Test level and we found he was much better in the middle-order.

    Langer would be a better example.
    Last edited by Richard; 16-12-2009 at 12:05 PM.

  9. #9
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Mxyzptlk View Post
    But what defines a natural opener? Is it not the skills that allow him to negotiate the new ball? A person like Simon Katich may be considered a "manufactured opener" because he hasn't done it for most of his career, but the fact is that he has all the skills to play the new ball. That's not manufactured. That's a flexible batsman.

    EDIT: My post is a build on Dinnen's above, not a criticism of.
    For me a manufactured opener is someone who's had no serious proposition as an opener until the age of ~20 then gets pushed up to open. Simple as that.

  10. #10
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GingerFurball View Post
    With the various skill sets required to be successful in all 3 forms of the game, I see no reason why a batsman who's spent his career at 5 shouldn't be able to be adaptable enough to be successful opening.
    You may see no reason but there's plenty of them - and those reasons are why batsmen don't often cope with being elevated to the top of the order having spent a fair while at a serious, high-level level of cricket batting in the middle.

    There are no shortage of people who can do it, given the countless millions of people who play cricket, but as a percentage they're small and most don't even try.

  11. #11
    Request Your Custom Title Now! Mr Mxyzptlk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    For me a manufactured opener is someone who's had no serious proposition as an opener until the age of ~20 then gets pushed up to open. Simple as that.
    If he's equipped to open the batting and he's asked to open, he's an opening batsman. If he's not good at it, he's merely a bad opening batsman. A lot of "natural" openers are bad at what they do.

  12. #12
    Hall of Fame Member TT Boy's Avatar
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    By Richard's logic/theory, Ashwell Prince is a 'natural' opener. He opened as a schoolboy and for RSA U19's alongside Mark Boucher.

  13. #13
    Request Your Custom Title Now! Mr Mxyzptlk's Avatar
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    And Daren Powell is a top order batsman. Pushing it, I know.

    He's barely a cricketer.

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    I am glad such outtdated theories are getting chucked out of the window... remnants of the colonial period of strict job allocation and adherence..

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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Mr Mxyzptlk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Alex View Post
    I am glad such outtdated theories are getting chucked out of the window... remnants of the colonial period of strict job allocation and adherence..
    Quite. Skills are transferable. Most Universities and employers will tell you that these days. No less cricket coaches.

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