Team Roles: Cricket Teams are More Than Bowlers and Batsmen
Selection as I see it isn’t just selecting your best eleven players.
If you want the team to play to their full potential selection needs to be specific to roles; and that goes beyond just whether you excel with bat or ball.
The best sides are never made up of the best eleven cricketers in the club, but are balanced and split into complimenting formulas.
For example - in the professional game - selectors have been known to select a side on the basis: 40% reliable players, 40% players in form and 20% flair players.
This works because breaking their side down into more than just batsman and bowlers allows the players to understand what they need to do when they are in the middle.
- The flair players are there to impact quick and hard; the classic pinch-hitter or nasty fast bowler. The leash is off. They know they will not be admonished for getting out to a loose shot or bowling a half volley when trying to get it to swing.
- The reliable players are there to steady the side and progress the game safely: the opening batsman who sees off the new ball, and the metronomic medium pacer.
- The form players are there to consistently perform and cement the game together.
The flair batsman who scores incredibly quickly and often over a quick period is best used at specific times during an innings so has to “float” through the order. Without a clear role, he will be demotivated by the decision of the captain not to include him in the concrete line up.
But with a clear role, he will feel like he is a vital part of the innings: same situation, different frame.
Helping each player to understand what they should bring to the game helps them perform their role in the side.
It takes a captain who knows how to communicate and a well-selected team who understand the importance of acting as a team, but by building up the idea that roles go far beyond just batting and bowling the victory is guaranteed.
With the whole side fulfilling their roles well you are - in modern lingo - executing your game plan.