If you can identify the most important cog and mess up the way it moves and operates, you will force the other team to adapt their plans and their performance.
One example of this is the Australians. The men from down-under always target the opposition captain on the other team. They single him out, and disrupt his influence on the team. As the 2015 Ashes approach, the obvious next question is this,
Should England be targeting Michael Clarke?
The aim will be to get the ball into Clarke's armpit early on with a short leg and leg slip or leg gully. If he feels threatened upstairs his foot movement to fuller balls is compromised. He is vulnerable to an edge to slip or to a ball coming back through the gate.
It's a great example of a specific tactic. Clarke is a big cog in the Aussie machine. He's also not the most important cog. There is another name on the 2015 team sheet that needs closer attention.