Why would anyone try to go up the order and face the demons of the new ball if they are out of form?
It’s not as crazy as it sounds.
Think back to a period of games where you have declared yourself out of form.
The symptoms vary: lack of footwork, late timing and poor shot selection; often many put together.
You need time to get your eye back in and rebuild your shattered confidence.
The request of “a quick 30” from your skipper would be near impossible for someone out of form and would only give false hope if successful.
But opening the innings allows you to do cautiously build a platform at a steady pace.
It’s something I realised during my own batting slump last season.
I found myself stranded in the pond of no form with no paddle and I knew the only way to get out of it was to roll my sleeves up and get my hands wet.
I am a firm believer of going back to basics when things become difficult, so I worked on the simple philosophy of staying in the middle and batting time.
I identified 3 key shots as the only shots I would play in my innings; the forward defensive, the backwards defensive and the straight drive.
I knew my safest way to accumulate runs was the straight drive. This was my scoring option.
The two defensive shots were there to allow me to bat, bat and bat some more.
I asked the skipper if I could open the batting.
His reply was ‘Are you sure?’
I was confident in my ability not to stick around if I stuck to those 3 key shots.
If I remember, I think I batted for a decent time and only reached 29. It was dour to be perfectly frank.
But it felt like a ton knowing I grafted that score consciously and off the back of several ducks.
The next game I opened again, and after 15 or so overs of crease occupation, I unknowingly started to cut, pull, sweep, glance and flick.
Batting became instinctive again.
I realised form isn’t something to protect and cherish; instead you need to enjoy its company when you have the chance.
And if that is to brave the terrors of opening, so be it.