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Thread: The Strategy Behind the Batting Order

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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Uppercut's Avatar
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    The Strategy Behind the Batting Order

    A thread to pass the time.

    In ODIs, I've long thought batting lineups aren't fluid enough. MS Dhoni is way ahead of the rest of the pack in that respect. He comes in for some criticism for it, but it would be stupid to come in at 5 regardless of the situation when he's so vulnerable to aggressive bowling and possibly the best in the world at scoring quickly against defensive fields. Likewise, I often wonder why real batsmen are still coming in ahead of sloggers with three or four overs left in the first innings. There's a bit of an edge to be gained by changing the order that teams have only started to scratch the surface of.

    In tests, it's a bit trickier to say. Certainly there are times when it makes a lot of sense to mess around- promoting Ashwell Prince when quality seam is on at both ends, for example- but they're not so common because how you get the runs isn't so important. Having a settled batting order is undoubtedly important, but what's strange is that using a night watchman is totally standard but changing the order to suit any other specific circumstances is almost unheard of. Obviously players like to know when they're coming in, so I don't know if I'm convinced myself that messing around with the order is an effective tactic in tests. But it does occasionally seem senseless to stick rigidly to the plan when there's a good reason not to.

    There's not too much agreement on what that plan should be, though. Should out-of-form players temporarily drop down the order? Should more aggressive players bat lower so that the team can better capitalise when the tail is in? Or is there an advantage to having an aggressive guy in early on, perhaps in the subcontinent, where the new ball is often more of a rare scoring opportunity than a tough period to get through? What about designing the order with the relative strengths of players against different types of bowling in mind? How about the intangibles- the tone-setting and responsibility taking and the like that Ian Chappell is obsessed with? I have to say, if a team manager told me to bat somewhere other than where I wanted for a reason like that I'd be pretty pissed off. In fact, I think the consensus among international teams is that none of those reasons are good enough to diverge from the principle of having as many players as possible bat where they want- perhaps that's why it comes up so much more often in the media than in practice.

    Thoughts?

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    Global Moderator Cabinet96's Avatar
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    I definitely think we could see more changing of the batting order in ODI's.
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    Global Moderator Cabinet96's Avatar
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    If you have say one aggressive with a defensive opener and number 3. You could perhaps change the order, should the aggressive opener get out early. Like with England's top 3 in ODI's.

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    Yeah it makes sense to be flexible with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    A thread to pass the time.

    In ODIs, I've long thought batting lineups aren't fluid enough. MS Dhoni is way ahead of the rest of the pack in that respect. He comes in for some criticism for it, but it would be stupid to come in at 5 regardless of the situation when he's so vulnerable to aggressive bowling and possibly the best in the world at scoring quickly against defensive fields. Likewise, I often wonder why real batsmen are still coming in ahead of sloggers with three or four overs left in the first innings. There's a bit of an edge to be gained by changing the order that teams have only started to scratch the surface of.

    In tests, it's a bit trickier to say. Certainly there are times when it makes a lot of sense to mess around- promoting Ashwell Prince when quality seam is on at both ends, for example- but they're not so common because how you get the runs isn't so important. Having a settled batting order is undoubtedly important, but what's strange is that using a night watchman is totally standard but changing the order to suit any other specific circumstances is almost unheard of. Obviously players like to know when they're coming in, so I don't know if I'm convinced myself that messing around with the order is an effective tactic in tests. But it does occasionally seem senseless to stick rigidly to the plan when there's a good reason not to.

    There's not too much agreement on what that plan should be, though. Should out-of-form players temporarily drop down the order? Should more aggressive players bat lower so that the team can better capitalise when the tail is in? Or is there an advantage to having an aggressive guy in early on, perhaps in the subcontinent, where the new ball is often more of a rare scoring opportunity than a tough period to get through? What about designing the order with the relative strengths of players against different types of bowling in mind? How about the intangibles- the tone-setting and responsibility taking and the like that Ian Chappell is obsessed with? I have to say, if a team manager told me to bat somewhere other than where I wanted for a reason like that I'd be pretty pissed off. In fact, I think the consensus among international teams is that none of those reasons are good enough to diverge from the principle of having as many players as possible bat where they want- perhaps that's why it comes up so much more often in the media than in practice.

    Thoughts?
    Short answer - it depends. Depends on the format of the game - test, ODI or T20, the actual match situation, the team, the opposition, the conditions etc.

    For example I don't want to play around with the batting order too much in a Test match but would like to do so in ODIs and T20s. However even then it depends on a lot of factors. For example with someone like Razzaq in the ODIs or T20s, he is someone who is used a slog over specialist however he is dreadful against slower/spin bowlers. So even if its the 44th over of the match, if spinners are bowling, I would not send Razzaq in because I know he would not be able to do what I want him to do.
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    International Coach G.I.Joe's Avatar
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    I think Dhoni needs to extend his flexibility with ODI batting lineups to Test cricket, more specifically tight 4th innings chases.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgey View Post
    Yeah it makes sense to be flexible with it.
    Or just not bloodyminded like England are usually is a start.

    I like the Bangladesh test batting order. Quite often the number 8 looks better than most of the top order and is playing as a specialist bat anyway. How does that work?

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    Quote Originally Posted by flibbertyjibber View Post
    Or just not bloodyminded like England are usually is a start.

    I like the Bangladesh test batting order. Quite often the number 8 looks better than most of the top order and is playing as a specialist bat anyway. How does that work?
    They stuff their team with batsmen as much as they can..they have very little confidence in their batting order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flibbertyjibber View Post
    Quite often the number 8 looks better than most of the top order and is playing as a specialist bat anyway. How does that work?
    This reminds me of the situation with NZ, where you have Vettori coming in at 8 and looking better than the no. 3. NZ is a strange case because we have so many average batsmen and batting allrounders that you could just about mix our batting order from 1-10 (excluding Martin, obviously) and it would be almost as good.

    For ODIs I think it should be dependent on the overs left more than anything. I wouldn't mind seeing a "reserve opener" who played kind of like a nightwatchman, coming in at 3 if one of the openers fell early and the ball was doing a lot.

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    You need to be flexible to a degree.

    Personally, when captaining at lower levels, I look for a Left-Right combination wherever possible, to put off bowlers. Similarly, if we lose early wickets, I'd promote myself/some other blocker to hold up an end, but if we're 2/200, you bat your best hitter.

    Unfortunately, people playing at these levels often don't understand this and are inherently selfish "But you said I'd be batting at 4!"

    But yeah, if you have a middle order bat who hates spinners, hold him back until pace bowlers are on. If you're 3/10, bat Dravid, not Dhoni .etc

    Its especially important in the limited overs formats, as not everyone will necessarily bat. Makes less of a difference in tests, where everybody is basically guaranteed to have a go.
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    Quote Originally Posted by G.I.Joe View Post
    I think Dhoni needs to extend his flexibility with ODI batting lineups to Test cricket, more specifically tight 4th innings chases.
    Did he not send Suresh Raina in at 3 in the 3rd Test in the West Indies?

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    International Coach weldone's Avatar
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    In test matches,

    Step 1: Select your 2 best openers and 4 best middle-order batsmen.
    Step 2: Ask your best middle-order batsman where he wants to play among 3-6, play him there.
    Step 3: Ask your 2nd best middle-order batsman where he wants to play among the 3 remaining positions, play him there.
    Step 4: Ask your 3rd best middle-order batsman where he wants to play among the 2 remaining positions, play him there.
    Step 5: Play the other middle-order batsman in the remaining position.
    Step 6: Arrange the other 5 in decending order of their batting prowess from 7-11.

    Of course, sometimes the order can be shuffled in 4th innings chases, keeping their SRs in mind.
    Last edited by weldone; 27-12-2011 at 05:03 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by G.I.Joe View Post
    I think Dhoni needs to extend his flexibility with ODI batting lineups to Test cricket, more specifically tight 4th innings chases.
    More specifically in future MS should be never ever go in against the new ball, to such an extent he bats Khan before him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rvd619323 View Post
    You need to be flexible to a degree.

    Personally, when captaining at lower levels, I look for a Left-Right combination wherever possible, to put off bowlers. Similarly, if we lose early wickets, I'd promote myself/some other blocker to hold up an end, but if we're 2/200, you bat your best hitter.
    This never seems to happen in Tests, which surprises me. I think captains regularly miss a trick in this regard.

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    Global Moderator Cabinet96's Avatar
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    I remember Sri Lanka sent Suraj Randiv in at number 5 during a top order collapse in an ODI at Nottingham in June. I think that could be done more regularly, sending a lower order batsmen in earlier during a collapse. If they get out it's only a lower order bat, but they might stay out there until things calm down.

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