DISSECTION OF A KILLER T20 OUTFIT
With the advent of flashy tournaments such as the Big Bash or the IPL, cricket, the global sport, has started to attain a new dimension and there has been revolutionary changes as to how the game is being played in a rather short span of time.
So how to reflect on these franchise-based domestic T20 tournaments? Have they infected the spirit of the gentlemen's game with all the money that keeps flying around? Or the drastic modifications of gameplay, that are essential to be made, added new flare to the sport? Well, that's for orthodox critics like Geoffrey Boycott or Richard Hadlee to brood over – but here are some thoughts from an innocuous lover of the sport.
Let's now delve into the analysis as to what makes an invincible T20 side. From the very outset, there was an idea that your T20 success will be determined by how many all-rounders you have i.e., players who can bat as well as bowl. Yes, all-rounders are gems to have in the team. But will that strategy always take you home? Will including a bunch of underperforming all-rounders always win you a match? Perhaps, no.
Also there's the idea of including monster impact players in your dugout. Well, yes, Chris Gayle or Kieron Pollard or more miserably, Shahid Afridi can win you a match out of nowhere with their devastating hitting skills, but what's wrong with them is their inconsistency. They will score a T20 hundred one match and get dismissed in the single figures for maybe 5/6 matches to follow. Then flash again. And flop again. But does including these players will enable your side to win matches consistently? Perhaps, no.
You need to have players who perform consistently. You need all-rounders, but not all eleven all-rounders. Only genuine batsmen and genuine bowlers can make substantial impact for a side to win consistently. You need players who don't just slog or scoop deliveries, but can play proper cricketing shots as well. You don't need batsmen who try to hit every ball out of the stadium, but who respect good deliveries and take singles or couples rather than giving away dot deliveries trying to hit a six. That's where players like Virat Kohli or Mahmudullah can be a better gamble than Gayle or Afridi.
You need pace bowlers who don't just bowl fast, but can bowl in good line and length just like other formats of the game. You have to be cunning not to get hit for 4s or 6s every other ball. Variations are the key. Bowl a slower cutter one ball, a yorker next and a bouncer the following ball. Mix up your deliveries. That's why Mustafizur Rahman has been such a success in this form of the game.
Yes, T20 cricket has changed the face of the game. Some call it “Picnic Cricket” for good reasons. But the thing is, you can't change the basic gameplay. Do your basics right, and add a flair of innovation and improvisation to it – and there's the recipe for a killer T20 outfit.
Ishtiaq Ahmed is a travel enthusiast who devours fictions, dreams of Paris and writes only when his brain parasites need a place to crash. Can be reached at [email protected]