White Ball Templates Among Top Teams, and India’s confusing strategy: 2022

India's White-ball struggles and styles of other sides in white-ball Cricket.

  • admin | February 3, 2022 | 4:58 pm

Every side from India and England to the associate nations comes to the field with their own plans in mind, and own ways to go against other teams. There is no set template followed by each nation as teams use the talent on offer to mold a style of play that suits them.

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Sri Lanka for starters has a talented top-order. The opening pair does a handy job in getting runs early on, but once the top-order is dismissed the middle order struggles due to the lack of experience, while the lower order gives a brief fightback. With players like Hasaranga, the lower-order is strong, but the middle-order issues leave a lot for the lower-order. The bowling talent however helps Sri Lanka against sides with shaky batting line-ups.

West Indies bring together a string of individual talent, a style they have been using well over the last decade. With a strong set of individuals, the West Indies focus on maximizing the number of sixers, and don’t look to much into strike rotation. When the tactic works, West Indies end up with scores unattainable despite a weaker bowling attack. When the tactic doesn’t come off though the West Indies tend to look very weak.

Pakistan and South Africa both depend on a couple of superstars with the bat, and back it up with good players in the middle order. They try to play with a similar tempo through the innings, and don’t focus on an end overs flourish much. With strong bowling talent in both teams, South Africa and Pakistan can get away with scores that may seem under par on many occasions.

Pakistan Built a line-up with strong talent across the board, as the players know their roles well.

Coming to the four teams who have been successful in white-ball Cricket over the least decade, you have New Zealand with a style similar to Pakistan and South Africa. New Zealand go through the innings with a set tempo. With accumulators in Kane Williamson and Devon Conway, along with batters like Ross Taylor who score safely but at quick pace, New Zealand are strong at rotating strike and producing easy runs. They don’t normally finish with scores that are too high, but they have a strong bowling attack that allows them to aim lower.

Both New Zealand and Pakistan have strong new-ball bowlers, and that allows them to put pressure on sides early on, with the help of relentless attack. For Australia, they manage a set of individuals who know their roles well. Aaron Finch and David Warner open and look to bat quickly, while taking every single run on offer. They next have the likes of Steve Smith to anchor the innings and finishers in Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, who provide the late flourish.

With a strong new-ball pair, New Zealand rely on a strong burst upfront with the ball.

The bowling attack is also pretty effective with Hazlewood taking the new-ball and using hard lengths to put pressure, while Starc comes into his own at the death with his Yorkers. There is Adam Zampa as well who helps taking wickets in the middle-overs, and has grown into an aggressive leg-spinner.

While Australia has a set of individuals who know their roles well, England took role-making to another level. Following the 2015 World Cup debacle they built a side that set a new template in white-ball Cricket. The English Cricket team doesn’t focus on a certain individual, and despite the number of superstars in the side, it is tough to pick a player who is more important than the other.

With a deep batting line-up, England’s template is to bat their oppositions out of the game.

England’s style in the last seven years is to bat deep, bat hard, and keep attacking. They play with a lot of intent, minimize the dot balls, and incase of a collapse they have someone like Joe Root to hold anchor. With a strong batting line-up though, England tend to compromise on bowling. They have a lot of options in the side, but none are wicket-takers, and the role of an aggressive bowler often falls on Jofra Archer, who is struggling for fitness.

Finally, coming to India. India had a method up until the 2019 World Cup. However, following the World Cup India didn’t play much ODI Cricket, and when they did, the full squad wasn’t available. On many occasions India didn’t give much importance as the World Cup was far away. Before the World Cup though, India’s style was to start slow and build an innings around one of their top-three. With Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and sometimes KL Rahul, India had the best player in the World at the top.

They looked to build an innings around those four, before a late flourish. The style however didn’t work as India struggled when the top three failed. The middle-order wasn’t tested much due to the top-order dominance, and on many occasions India struggled to get runs after the top-order was dismissed early. They have a good set of finishers, but batting depth proved to be another issue. From 2017-2019, India invested in wrist-spinners, and bowlers who were picked only for their bowling. This lead to a long tail, but that was fine as the top-three was consistent and the bowling was good. The use of wrist spin became another template as India had a set of attacking bowlers in the middle-order.

Post the 2019 World Cup though, India began to struggle. The wrist-spinners were out of form, Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma kept getting injured, Shikhar Dhawan wasn’t in the side, and Virat Kohli couldn’t score big. The issues came out, and India are now struggling to build a proper eleven as there is a lot of confusion on how they want to play the one-day game. The middle-order has talent but with nobody given a long run, consistency is an issue. With too much shuffling among both batters and bowlers, the side is full of confusion, and India will hope the confusion is cleared soon as the 50 over World Cup Is only an year away.