It’s hard being an all-rounder.
You’re expected to be a cricket legend: bat long, take wickets, keep the opposition total down and probably be one of the best fielders too. The physical burden is matched and exceed by the mental one.
Even the roughest, toughest, most proud and determined of cricketers need to prevent themselves from burning out. Whether you are a batsman who bowls, a bowler who bats or someone who is equally talented in every skill set, it’s time to get focused.
Genuine all rounder
If you can score hundred and take five-fers you are undoubtedly a star in your team. That said, it’s also very difficult to be consistent with bat and ball for long periods.
It can be as frustrating as filled with glory.
To be more consistent, be more self-aware than your team mates. You have to have a feeling for when you are locked into a long innings and take advantage. On those days when you bat long you will be more useful as a holding bowler rather than the match winner.
On the other hand, you have to know when you are fired up to run through the opposition with the ball. Perhaps your batting will be equally thunderous that day so you are happy to hit out earlier.
Either way, don’t try to do it all.
The best all rounder I ever saw in club cricket is a good example. Despite being easily the best batsman, he didn’t want to bat above four. Despite being easily the best fast bowler in the league, let alone the team, he only opened the bowling in one game, preferring first or second drop.
He knew his role. He could adapt to the situation but he never strayed far from keeping enough in the tank to make a difference. If that meant batting a little slower to be sure the team passed 200 before hitting out, he did it. If it meant taking the ball to get the last wicket, he did it.
Know your limits, even if you are the star.
Batting all rounder
If you are mainly a batsman but can give your captain a few overs you are in a strong position. The days you fail with bat give you a second bite with ball, without any weight of expectation.
Nevertheless, get into your bowling. Work out your best tactical approach. Get enough control that you can put it into action. Use net time to work with your top order pals as peers rather than thinking of yourself as a net bowler who might as well turn an arm over.
Like the genuine all rounder, it’s easy to slip into apathy. You think you will make up a batting failure with the ball and end up doing neither well. That’s an error. You are a batsman first.
Still consider batting your only role. Practice with purpose and focus.
Just sneak in some bowling in the non-batting moments, knowing your limits and building a strength or two.
Bowling all rounder
The bowler who bats is similar to the batter who bowls. There is less expectation on your minor skill. You are batting at seven or eight. Six if you’re lucky, nine if you’re unlucky.
You’re limited in your batting. The trick is to know your limits. Maybe your big hitting makes you ideal for the death but weak in the early overs with all that extra time. Perhaps you have a solid technique and some reliable shots but have never played a long innings because you bat nine behind other equally talented bowling all rounders.
Knowing this, you can find your niche with the bat and spend your time building it up.
Let’s face it, you can’t bowl for two hours at nets, so make some downtime as a way to get that batting game sorted. You don’t need every shot, just a reliable game plan and a role the captain trusts you doing.
Focus is the key
Whatever your balance of skills, the overall message is to focus.
- Develop your strengths so you can fill your role in the team.
- Don’t worry about your weaker areas, try to avoid needing to use them.
- Be mindful of your limits, push against them to improve but be realistic about what you can achieve.
- Have fun, all-rounder is a great position!