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Cricket - Eagles eye view

Disclaimer: This article is not 100% objective. Insights and perspectives are purely personal.

Views are 80% based on the post-2003 WC era.

Here are 10 things I noticed being a spectator of this sport

Middle Order is the key

Opening players wins you matches but Middle order wins you tournament.

Indian team always had a middle-order crisis except for around the 2011 period.2011 WC squad is the perfect example of the middle order. Yuvi, Dhoni, Kohli, Raina are adaptable players. They knew when to hit, whom to hit when to rotate, how to face spin and swing.

The ideal middle order would be:

  • Physically fit

  • Better fielders

  • Adaptability

  • Sense of reading the game

  • Part time bowling

  • Strike rotation

Spinners contribution to the game is waning

Except in test matches, spinners creates less impact than before. To give you a sense, think of Kumble,Mushtaq,Vettori,Muralidharan,Warne and their counterparts now. They have the ability to turn upside down. Probably, pitches nowadays are prepared for pacers.

Therefore, pure spinners are not expected in the squad. They will have to contribute to the lower middle order. I would like to mention R.Ashwin here. Also, Sanath Jayasuriya as a spinner is underrated in the cricket circle. I think his batting eclipses his spin.

All rounders demand is going to increase

All rounders = Sum of Batting and Bowling contributions.

Selection panels are ready to take 11 all-rounders in a team. They expect multi lateral players because one way or the other they can contribute. This is so evident in T20, particularly IPL. This is mainly because they invest in players and economics at play.

Investments look for assured returns

Imagine Gambhir or Kohli got out without any runs,they become liability to the rest of the game.

Precise and minute metrics should be used

Metrics are formed by asking the right questions

Say you need to choose bowlers for the slog overs, do you think the 'run rate' of a bowler land you on the right option? Of course not. How will you differentiate a bowler who gave 8 runs in 45-50 overs and 8 runs in middle overs? A bowler who gave 8 runs in the last over is more valuable than the one in the 10th over.

Similarly, the Strike rate is one such which leads you nowhere.

SR = (Runs/Balls faced) * 100

SR doesn't tell you at what point of the game batters scored and what is the wickets in hand.

Proper use of Boult and Bumrah by Mumbai Indians is one such good example!

Not Everything can be measured and put into statistics

Jaddu , Raina , Yuvi fielding influence on other players can't be quantified.They give peer pressure to all other players.One good catch or stop can change the mood and course of the game.

Kapil Dev's backward running catch to dismiss Viv Richards in the 1983 World Cup final - the moment that is unanimously considered to have transformed Indian cricket.

Kohli's fitness and consistency influence upcoming generations.

Great players do not necessarily need to be great Captains

Great captains keep things simple. Take the case of Dhoni, his approach to batting is simple.

How he approaches it?

A good score in ODI is 300-350. Essentially we need to score 1 to 1.15 runs per ball. We don't need boundaries and sixes(Ideally). It is as simple as that. We may have to face great bowlers who put more dots.This led to new culture where batters tend to convert 1's to 2's.This keeps the asking rate under control.

Game reading skills are lagging in emerging players

The first thing that flashes in my mind is the whole West Indies Cricket team in the recent T20. Players nowadays concentrate more on the individual games rather than how to fit their talent into demanding situations. If I name players, it would be more of personal criticism. You can think of anybody.

Supply is more in Batters but in reality, Demand is more in Bowlers

This gives the illusion of the best batters are from the current period.Remember Tendulkar faced perfect pitch and length(McGrath) and fastest ball(Brett Lee) consecutively.Pointing faced Wasim Akram and Akthar. Dravid faced Muralitharan and Warne.I am not saying current batters are not up to the mark.We need to factor in bowlers they faced then.

Indian team always relied on single bowlers even in winning sqaud of 2011 WC squad.

Kapil ---> Srinath --> Zaheer --> Bumrah.One bowler dominates a single decade and gets replaced by others. This pattern needs to be changed.

T20 influence is inevitable in all formats

Now we have come to the point where emerging players or incoming players are grown watching T20 and entered cricket. Their influence can be seen in all formats. Test cricket when Dravid and Laxman played now becomes a different ball game.

Fewer years back, the audience don't like 'match drew' results but nowadays even the players don't like the result.

This is inevitable and strategies for test cricket needs to consider this cultural change.

There is no such thing called 'Textbook Cricket'

Because there can't be a single textbook for cricket like Bible/Quran or Gita. An appropriate word to replace this would be orthodox vs unorthodox.Infact Unorthodox players are path breakers and influenced orthodox players.Be it Steve Smith stance(treats every bowler different) or ABD 360 shots(helps in death overs) or Dhoni's helicopter shot(Yorker). If you observe the unorthodoxness they bring in to the game is actually a solution to the toughest balls.

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