Yuvraj Singh’s form or the lack of it has been the talk of the town since the beginning of IPL III. T20 pros, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya, have already lost their places in their respective sides and others like Kumar Sangakarra, AB de Villiers and Mahela Jayawardene are getting a lot of flak.
Ever wondered why more than half a dozen good players are struggling to excel in this format? T20 not only magnifies your weakness, it doesn’t give you time to rectify them. So, if you happen to walk into this format without form and confidence, or if you happen to hit a rough patch in the middle of the tournament, you’re most likely doomed.
The golden rule of coming back to scoring runs is to spend time in the middle. Ideally, you should look to play a few dot balls in the beginning. Then, take a few singles and two(s) before going for boundary shots. In a fifty-over game, you can make up for the dot balls but T20 doesn’t give you that luxury.
The innings construction in a T20 game is quite different to the one in an ODI. Even in a T20 game, you can afford to start slowly. Yet, starting slowly does not mean playing dot balls, but aiming to take those vital singles.
The strike rate of a 100 is the bare minimum that a batsman should strive for, that too only for the first 6-7 balls. A boundary must follow or else you could be jeopardising your team’s chances of scoring big. The only exception to this rule is if you’re blessed with a Yusuf Pathan-like batsman at the other end or your team is chasing an insignificant total.
Gautam Gambhir found an ally in Dinesh Karthik against the Royals. Karthik’s heroics allowed the skipper to bide his time. On the contrary, Sourav Ganguly tried something similar against the Mumbai Indians but unfortunately Chris Gayle wasn’t batting that fluently and hence received flak for playing slowly.
Bowlers too have to put up with form blues. A player low on confidence might just bowl a couple of loose balls in the beginning. In a fifty-over game, he might get away with it because the batsmen are not always on the offensive. In T20, even good balls disappear for fours and sixes, let alone the bad deliveries. So he better be on the spot from the first ball.
But this format also dictates that you fail more often than you succeed. Averages tell the story. Most batsmen average in the mid-20s and only a few in the 30s. I’m still to see a batsman averaging in the 40s in this format. So how do players get back to scoring after a failure or two? Since, biding time is not possible in this format, the only way to come back to form is to be positive and take the initiative. You must get to your opposition before he gets to you. Certain players hit their way out of trouble, which is considered almost blasphemous in other formats, but in T20, the ones who do so, make the quickest comebacks.