T20 has captured the imagination of the cricket viewing public in the last decade and while in the initial years it was hard to identify the method to madness, one now feels there is enough sample size to find a pattern in the successful and consistent T20 teams around the globe.
In the first few years, there were predictions by some that the format would lead to the death of bowlers but instead what one has witnessed is the constant improvisation and development of new skills as far as bowling is concerned. Then there were experts of the game who had predicted doomsday for spinners, due to the structure of the format. Others thought that experienced players would be pushed out and only the swashbucklers would remain. How wrong has everyone turned out to be? In fact if Harsha Bhogle is to be believed, then T20s, which is a format that according to ‘purists’ of the game is going to eat up Test cricket and irreversibly change the very fabric of the game, has been the saviour of cricket in general, due to the sheer bums on seats it gets.
It is a format that has helped ICC in taking the game global and not restrict it to a handful of nations and now every major cricketing board has a domestic franchise based league of its own. There is some T20 league around the world at every time of the year and this mass sample size has put the ‘geeks of the game’ to work and study each granular detail of the data available. This data is used by all professional teams internationally and domestically and there are a few conclusions that have been drawn. For example, the 6th over is the last over of the power play and most batsmen look to target it. Therefore, data shows its more important for the best bowler of the team to bowl the 6th over than the first over, which is generally the case in tests and ODI’s.
This data has also allowed team analysts and coaching staff to come up with a few elements that are ‘must-haves’in an ideal T20 team combination. Here at Cric Crak we have identified 5 such important elements that are more or less common in every successful T20 team globally;
1) Attacking Openers – Atleast 1 or preferably both openers have to go hammer and tongs right from the get go and fully utilise the field restrictions in the first 6 overs. One opener should be prepared to throw their wicket away in the quest for quick runs if need be.
2) Big-hitting finisher – Batting lower down the order is the hardest thing to do in the shortest version of the game. Every team yearns for one such finisher who has the power to clear the boundary ropes at will.
3) Two all rounders – T20 is a very dynamic format and one needs options in both batting and bowling. Therefore, an ideal team should have two-allrounders in order to go in with 7 batsmen and 6 bowlers with the addition of a wicket keeper who can bat.
4) Wrist spinner– T20 rankings are dominated by wrist spinners and after initially being thought of as not good enough for the format, it is now impossible to imagine a successful T20 team without a good wrist spinner.
5) Tear away fast bowler – A tear away fast bowler, who can bowl consistently good yorkers at the death is an ideal weapon to have. Like in any other format, it is the bowlers who win you matches more often than not and a good death bowler can tilt the balance in their teams favour.