Stealing the ones, twos & the limelight
Running between wickets remains the key to building an innings in 50-over games and this was aptly demonstrated by India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and opener Gautam Gambhir in the second ODI on Wednesday, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.cricket Updated: Oct 30, 2009 00:39 IST
With powerplays, flat tracks, fast outfields and sophisticated bats good enough to carry even mishits to the fence, one-day cricket is all about fours and sixes, right? Wrong.
Running between wickets remains the key to building an innings in 50-over games and this was aptly demonstrated by India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and opener Gautam Gambhir in the second ODI on Wednesday.
There were just six fours in their 113-ball partnership of 119 and the feature of the left-right association was picking the gaps and running. With the ground being big, there were plenty of gaps and the two showed commonsense by placing them there at a time when the need was to consolidate instead of going for big shots.
Mohammad Kaif was an expert in this game during his 125-match ODI career and talking to the Hindustan Times on the importance of this ploy, he said: “It’s a good way to eliminate risks and still keep the scoreboard moving in the middle overs.
Since you can’t play big shots all the time, running between wickets will always be an important part of the game.”
Australia were in the game when Dhoni joined Gambhir and their plan to steal singles and twos denied them further inroads into the Indian innings. “With fielders on the ropes, it was hard to cut down the twos. They played our spin well and when I tried to put pressure by bringing the fielders in, they rotated the strike very well,” said Ricky Ponting.
The two ran the Australians crazy with their left-right combination.
“The impact is more when that happens,” said Kaif. “The bowlers have to constantly change their line and the fielding captain has to keep shuffling the fielders.
No fielding side likes it because it doesn’t give you a chance to settle down.”
The batsman, who has scored most of his 3,822 ODI runs following this principle, felt that the other good part about this strategy is that it helps a batsman score off good balls. “There are deliveries which you can’t dispatch to the fence.
If you deflect them around for singles, it frustrates the bowlers because they see that despite bowling a good one, they are still being scored of.”
Kaif noted that another advantage of following this ploy is that it increases the chances of hitting boundaries by default. “When the fielders see that singles are being stolen, they tend to come up from the edge of the circle.
This gives the batsmen a scope to hit over the top without running the risk of being caught.”
So, even in the days of Twenty20, certain principles remain as important as they were in the conventional era of the game.
Changing times and demands will bring in radical ideas and some of them will force their way in.
The coexistence of old and new will become the name of the game then, and Nagpur on Wednesday witnessed glimpses of that.