Is it more important to take part or to win? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Is it more important to take part or to win?

Richard is a talented young club batsman and exceptional fielder. He plays for a club who are league high flyers so settles for scoring loads of runs in the 2nd team.

On the occasions when he is promoted to the 1st team, the batting is so strong he bats at 8 and doesn't get a game. He is making up the numbers for his fielding alone.

You can imagine how demotivating this is to a young player like Richard.

I'm sure your club has faced a dilemma similar to this: Do you go for the win by playing your strongest team regardless, or do you compromise and give everyone a game?

Or to put it another way, how do you answer one of the fundamental questions in sport: Is taking part more important than winning?

I feel that there doesn't have to be a compromise. Even under the increased pressure of league cricket.

Richard could easily be sent in higher in the order. If he fails it's no loss, if he hits a hundred he seals his place in the first team and has a great time in the bar afterwards.

Either way, at least he would be given an opportunity at no risk to the team's chances of winning.

What about the attitude where you play?

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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Good point. It's better to have a bat or bowl (if that's your specialty) than just be there to make up numbers in the field.I enjoy playing in the 2nd team at the moment for my club because I get to open the bowling. If promoted to first team, I would likely be 4th or 5th bowler and my limitations in the field would be more exposed under the pressure of the first team matches.

Nishi, I agree. If we can't enjoy playing what's the point!?

Without agreeing or disagreeing (not trying to incite a riot or anything), being forced to take a role other than your preference is perhaps beneficial long-term. Someone who's good with the bat may spend most of the time practicing their batting, at the expense of fielding. It's terrible to see someone reach the top level of any sport only to realise they're only really good in one area.

Scott, I think you are right there. The way to improve is to be challenged. Although some people argue that the way to be challenged is not to field at fine leg to mid on, bowl 2 overs and bat at 9.

By the way, what's your thoughts on the question: Taking part or winning?

It really depends on the age and level of the players. Generally speaking, I'd promote sportsmanship and taking part to younger players, and I'd expect a winning attitude from the senior first graders. Not because a 'win at all costs' attitude is better in any way, but simply as the first graders have been playing long enough to appreciate the benefits of taking part.

A slightly related question (which appeared strongly in the 2nd test) is 'Is it ever reasonable to play for a draw?'. My thinking is that it is definitely not acceptable, in any sport, at any time, under any circumstances. What's your view?

In principle, you should always go for the win. However in practice sometimes it's impossible to win but possible to save a game in cricket. So I would say you should go for the win until it becomes unwinnable, then try and draw.

In Test and league cricket you also need to consider the wider situation. A draw may be enough to win a series or a league. In that case you go for the win but not at all costs.

So it's very situational.

I disagree. When you're playing for a win - in anything - both your thought processes and technique will be different. This difference may or may not change the outcome, but it will certainly change the scores involved in any given game.

Personally, I'd rather lose whilst trying for a win than lose whilst playing for a draw.

I agree with your point, but many would argue there is no point in suicide, especially in a series or league game.

For eaxmple: A club league game might be something like this: Team 1 bats first, scores 275-3 and declares. Team 2 has a disaster in the top order meaning they need 150 to win with 2 wickets in hand in the last 15 overs.

10 an over with the tail in and the oppostion bowling well is nigh on impossible so what do you do? Block out the last 15 overs and get a few batting and bowling points or go for glory and get 0 points?

Obviously this is an extreme case, but there are times you have to admit you have been outplayed and try to save the game.

Change those figures to 80 runs needed in the last 20 overs with 4 wickets in hand and I would still be going for it. Even 100 to win in the last 20 is possible with 2 well set batsmen.

So while I agree the win is paramount and while you still have a chance you should go for it, I would temper it by saying there are times you cannot win and a draw is a moral victory. (See the Third Ashes Test in 2005 for an example).