By Harry Yadav
A cricket aficionado and ink slinker
(On twitter at @yadavharry927)
In 1970s and mid 1980s, when ODI cricket was nascent, it used to be of 60 overs (per side) where scoring runs use to be second priority for the batsman and surviving the bowlers and playing full quota of overs use to be batsmen’s top most priority. 170s and 180s use to be the defendable totals and chasing team had to bat out of their skin to chase those totals on that era.
If you are following only nepali cricket not the internationals, you will say nothing has change in cricket.
Because all the time you see, nepali batters blocking the ball, being afraid of getting out and looking to survive the bowler and intendlees to score runs. You will say this is all due to inability to rotate strike, lack of proper domestic structure and so many things. And you are right too. But under these black clothes, a hollow part of nepali cricket is hidden. Let me put off the clothes. Way of playing ODI cricket changes drastically when likes of Viv Richards, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jaysuriya, Herschel Gibbs, Shaid Afridi,Adam Gilchrist, Virendra Shewag arrived in cricket. Most of them were not good strike rotator and didn’t possess old books techniques. Yet they Change the way of playing limited over cricket and introduced few new words in the world of cricket; aggression, fearless batting and power hitting. After their arrivals oneday cricket was no more about surviving and playing overs, it became all about of playing fearless cricket and scoring as much run as possible. In the name of building the inning, you see our batsmen blocking the balls and playing dots after dots. Very rarely, any of our batters bat with the strike rate of 100, actually most of the time they have strike rate of well below 50. And all the time blame is on strike rotation, under this shade poor mentality of batters which is the main culprit remain hidden. In cricket, poor mentally means being fearful and being highly defensive.They never look to play shots and dominate the bowlers. All the time they put pressure on themselves by playing that boring cricket and let bowlers dominate on themselves. If it is team management which is enforcing our batters to not play aggressively in the name of showing technique, temperament and class then they are commiting a crime but if batters are doing so by themselves then our batting is not looking in safe hand and a drastic change is needed.
Modern day limited over cricket demand fearless batting, power hitting and aggression from batsman more than the old books techniques, temperament and class.
Ajinkya Rahane is not in India’s limited over team, Alastair Cook was not in England’s limited over team, William Poterfield is most of the time not prefer for Ireland’s T20 team. All three are very rich in techniques, temperament and class but yet not prefer for their teams in limited over cricket because they lacks power hitting ability and fearless approach in their batting. A year ago, Afghanistan and Ireland were awarded test status courtesy their fearless batting. They gave license to Mohammed Sahazad and Paul Sterling at top and Kevin O’brein and Mohammad Nabi on middle overs to go after the bowlers and rest is the history. They change the approach of their entire batting unit.
We too need a Mohammad Sahzad or a Paul Sterling to clear a misunderstanding of our batters and team management that inning is not build by facing balls, it is build by scoring runs. We too need a Nabi or Kevin O’brein to teach us if team looses early wickets then pressure is not release by playing dots, it is release by playing fearless cricket. The cricket which we are playing is still good for a division three or division four level but if we want to reach where Afghanistan and Ireland’s are we have to make aggression and fearless approach our friends sooner and need to understand balls you face is not count in cricket, runs you score is count in cricket.