photo credit: lensbug.chandru
This week, as if scripted, the old and new worlds of cricket come together for the start of the English County Championship and the Indian Premier League. It's a juicy comparison: The worlds oldest professional competition kicks off two days before the new big money Twenty20 league.
Meanwhile the club players of England are also starting their seasons in slightly less dynamic circumstances. Is there anything we as club players can take from either end of the spectrum to help our own teams?
Old school tactics: The County Championship
- Declarations. A good declaration at any level makes the opposition think they can win, giving you the chance to bowl them out. At club level where time is very limited and bowlers not as destructive getting this balance right is even more important.
- Getting 20 wickets. To win championship games you have to bowl the opposition out twice. To win club games you have to bowl the opposition out too (probably only once though). That means attacking until you have no choice but to defend.
- Judging the balance. In county (and club) cricket there is a much more equal balance between bat and ball than the 20 over game. A good captain is able to read the pitch, the opposition, own team and conditions to find out when the balance will favour one or the other. Then use it to his or her advantage.
- Respect for tradition. Despite a few cosmetic changes, the championship is played in much the same way as it has always been: white clothes, red balls and decent teas. That's the way it should be, even if sometimes the games image seems a little dated.
New school methods: IPL
Twenty20 is less of a chess match on grass and more instant gratification. Purists are put off by this, but clever club players can take some tips from the way IPL teams play.
- Batting. While taking the crash bang approach is not the best idea to build a club game, you can rotate the strike in a Twenty20 way. When it comes to the last few overs, there is not much difference between an IPL innings and a club game tactically speaking.
- Fielding. Every run counts in the IPL where time is always against you. The best fielding sides will win games that others might have lost. The same applies in the longer club format. Perhaps even more so as club fielding standards are generally so low that a good fielding team can have more of an influence.
- Bowling. Twenty20 style bowling is not a great idea for most stages of a club game. However, bowling at the death has become a skill in itself. As most club innings are limited in overs, bowlers who can mix up yorkers and slower balls with traditional line and length will get wickets against batsman who are going all out for attack.
A bit of both methods
Club cricket is usually a different format to either the Championship or IPL. This makes it possible pick the ideas that work best from both formats to give you the best chance of winning games and making it to the top of your league.
Good luck this season.
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