Imagine you scored 220 of your 50 overs and you now have the opposition 185-8 with 5 overs left.
You’ve bought your openers back on to finish the job, and rudely the last few batsmen are defending like their life depended on it.
You can stick with the strike bowlers and hope the batsmen get bored or the bowlers are fast enough to blast them out.
The game will end in a draw and your hopes of a strong league position fade a little more.
Or you can bring on your more occasional spin bowler.
The tail-enders will fancy they can score runs off of him rather than just surviving the openers – maybe even win the game in a blaze of easy boundaries - once they try to score runs, the chances of a wicket increase.
Never under estimate the value of someone doing the very basics in the right situation.
Whether it’s simply looping the ball down at the stumps to a tail-ender in order to buy a wicket, or your number 11 nudging a single to get the real batsmen back on strike.
1. Batsman who bowls a bit
It may be for only a couple of overs, it may be all that is needed; but being able to bring someone on to engage the batsman into scoring is the quickest way to a wicket.
To become this bowler the player will need a basic understanding of bowling, but has never really taken it seriously.
In our club is it someone who bowled as a child, but for the past 20 years has concentrated on his batting. He flips up a few non-spinning leg breaks with plenty of flight, often gets hit for the odd boundary, and then gives one a bit more flight that lobs up to mid wicket.
The key to playing this role is to implement the basics of bowling straight, thinking like the batsman they are and offering up the chance for the batsman to score.
Most batsman know what’s going on in the mind of the guy at the other end; the key is to practise bowling down the line of middle and off and varying the flight and pace.
Use PitchVision to set target areas in the nets and aim to make gradual improvements in accuracy.
2. Bowlers who bat a bit
The task for a tail ender is simple; don’t get out and rotate the strike to the better batsman.
By developing your touch and control of the basic shots will allow you to pinch singles to rotate the strike to the stronger batsman.
Then progress your shot selection to simple attacking shots - such as the cut shot - once you have mastered the basics to develop your all round batting technique.
The successful tail ender has the ability to add a partnership of 20-30 to an inning’s total: often this is the difference between a win and a loss (and a higher league position).
Think how many games you have lost by this margin and imagine the difference batting all the way to 11 makes.
It’s always a player’s natural instinct to improve the weaker pars of their game, but if you can target specific areas that need work you will be able to strengthen your team by adding that crucial 5% to your performance.
And that gets you to the top of the ladder.