View Poll Results: Who has the right idea here?

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  • Howe Snr - it's worth around 30 runs more

    3 15.79%
  • Howe Jnr - it's only worth around 5-10 runs more

    8 42.11%
  • Everybody, move your feet and feel united, oh-oh-oh

    8 42.11%
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Thread: How hard is opening the batting?

  1. #1
    Hall of Fame Member Howe_zat's Avatar
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    How hard is opening the batting?

    Had a debate with Howe Snr. on this today. Dad says the following dubious statement:

    "A 50 from an opening batsman is as hard to get as an 80 from a #4 batsman".

    His reasons being that opening batsmen have to face the new ball, fresh opening bowlers and pitches at their greenest. He also says the main reason opening batsmen have averages only slightly lower than middle order players is because they get to knock off low second innings totals.

    I disagree. I'd say that due to modern wickets and modern trends in bowling - such as some teams relying (just as much, if not more) on spin and reverse rather than the new ball - opening the batting isn't really that much harder any more. I still think it is slightly tougher, but that the typical difference in average of around 5-10 runs is closer to the mark than Dad's estimate of 30.

    Keen to get people's views on this.
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  2. #2
    International Debutant ganeshran's Avatar
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    Depends on the pitch IMO. On greentops with some cloud cover, opening the batting is far harder than coming 2 down when the ball has lost its sheen and doing much lesser. The bowlers are also less intense than in their opening spells. On a square turner, coming down the order is difficult as the ball turns much better after it has gotten older.

    I dont agree with The 50 == 80 argument though - thats too wide a gulf

  3. #3
    International Regular Beleg's Avatar
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    reckon it's hard to make a generalisation since it's a function of several different variables. opening batsmen have the luxury to set the pace of the innings and control the flow - someone coming in at six is more likely to be constrained by the match situation. bowlers sometimes take time to find their rhythm and there's the psychological factor of a batsmen coming in at six or seven having to face a really pumped up team going for the kill.

  4. #4
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    International Debutant Eds's Avatar
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    I don't think there's a huge difference between either of them. They've both got areas of the game which are easier than others, so I'd say it's closer to 2-3 runs, IMO.

    If it was 30 runs, we'd see the likes of Shakib average about 3 if they ever opened, which just wouldn't be the case.


  5. #5
    International Coach G.I.Joe's Avatar
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    There are also some batsmen who actually prefer opening. I can't recall who, but there was one international opening batsman who said that he preferred opening because he hated being padded up waiting for his turn to bat.
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  6. #6
    Cricket Web Staff Member / Global Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    One of the things that does my nut about coaching is that kids never want to open the batting - and those that do never want to face first.

    Get out there and score some bloody runs!
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  7. #7
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    Opening has become a lot easier since 1978 i.e after the introduction of protective helmets.Up to the early seventies pitches were left to the mercy of weather,without covering and the nature of it changed overnight..Opening batting without helmets under those conditions was difficult indeed.Now there is not much difference as the performance of Sewag and Jayasurya testifies(both of them are middle order batmen really).

  8. #8
    Cricket Web Staff Member Woodster's Avatar
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    I think both opening the batting and batting in the middle order bring their own set of problems to overcome, which is why they are specialist positions. As an opening batsman they have to contend with the extra movement of the ball and swing through the air, the fields will be attacking so they'll be plenty of catchers waiting for any slight error of judgement from the opener. Yet that will bring ample opportunities to score.

    For a middle order batsman there will be times when they start against spin bowling with plenty of company around the bat, as you say, reverse swing will come into a play and against the main exponents of this skill it is a big weapon, and there will be a case when they too will have to face the second new ball.

    I don't necessarily think that opening the batting is that much harder, of course on a greentop it will be a serious test of any opening batsman, just as batting in the sub-continent as a middle order batsman with the ball turning sharply will be and you have to start against spin.
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  9. #9
    International Captain Himannv's Avatar
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    I think some of the pitches these days do reduce the difficulty of opening the innings as Howe Jnr. says. However, I am one of those guys who has a liking for specialist openers and players who are suited to facing a hard new ball on a surface where the odds are stacked against them. I'd like to believe that the world is slowly growing a bit bored of the flat tracks we see these days and I am an advocate of watching cricket where there is a fair amount of help for the bowlers. Having just witnessed the awesomeness of Steyn and Philander on a pitch that was far from being easy to bat on, I would like to believe that the role of a specialist opener is a very key one to a team these days. As for my vote, I was far too tempted by the irrelevant third option to even remotely consider anything else.
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  10. #10
    Cricket Web Staff Member Burgey's Avatar
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    It's harder batting in the top order than the middle order IMO. The ball tends to move around a lot more.
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  11. #11
    International Vice-Captain andruid's Avatar
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    Clearly tail end batting is the hardest to pull off. Just look how bad those averages are.
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  12. #12
    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    One the easiest things I've done in recent years, iirc.

  13. #13
    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    It's interesting, actually. In years gone by teams used to have their batsmen with the best techniques opening, regardless of how quickly they made their runs. The likes of Boycott, Gavaskar & Lawry might never have over-hurried the scorers, but could all be relied upon to take the shine off the ball and set things up for the engine room in the middle order to cash in.

    Then over the last 10-15 years we saw a sea-change, thanks partly to the limited overs game and also in part to flatter decks and a dearth of first rank seamers. We've seen the opener as front-foot bully muscling the ball down the ground (e.g. Hayden and Smith, both of whom one's always suspected might have issues with the swinging ball early doors because of their preferred MO) & the opener as unashamed stroke player (e.g. Sehwag, Gayle, Trescothick and Tamim, whose shared lack of footwork would probably have the aforementioned Mr Boycott spinning in his grave were he actually dead).

    The apotheosis of this development was, of course, Phillip Hughes opening for Australia. Whatever Master Hughes's virtues as a cricketer, I think we can all agree that technical orthodoxy isn't one of them. & I suppose it's his misfortune to have his nascent career co-incide with a resurgence of seam bowling stocks to go with some sporting decks.

    It could be that his (presumable) replacement in the Australian side, Davey Warner heralds the next stage in the openers' odyssey. A stroke maker for sure, but one who has a technical rectitude underpinning his shots & who looks as if he can knuckle down when the ball moves off the straight (123*, etc).
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  14. #14
    Cricketer Of The Year Cabinet96's Avatar
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    It's a tricky one as starting off is probably harder when you open, but once your in it's pretty much the same, especially when the ball losses its shine. Therefore the difference between 50 - 200 is probably the same for an opener and a number 4.

    Also it depends on the circumstances. opening the innings is easier IMO, than coming in at 10 for 2. And on a pitch that doesn't seam, but spins a lot, then batting at 4 is probably harder.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Pickup View Post
    One of the things that does my nut about coaching is that kids never want to open the batting - and those that do never want to face first.

    Get out there and score some bloody runs!
    Great for the few that do When I captain I have an excuse to open the batting, even though I'm not very good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flem274* View Post
    This English top three are cornflakes. They're not the most exciting thing out but they're pretty effective. Then the middle order are the sugar. Would be too much on their own but added to the cornflakes they add some much needed interest

    When KP returns he will be the banana..

  15. #15
    Cricket Web Staff Member Burgey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabinet96 View Post
    It's a tricky one as starting off is probably harder when you open, but once your in it's pretty much the same, especially when the ball losses its shine. Therefore the difference between 50 - 200 is probably the same for an opener and a number 4.

    Also it depends on the circumstances. opening the innings is easier IMO, than coming in at 10 for 2. And on a pitch that doesn't seam, but spins a lot, then batting at 4 is probably harder.



    Great for the few that do When I captain I have an excuse to open the batting, even though I'm not very good.
    But if you come in at four with 200 on the board it's next Sunday morning.

    I should sayy previous comment doesn't apply to the current Australian side, where every few tests you can bat seven and still have the new ball to deal with.

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