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The art of thinking small under pressure

We've heard it said repeatedly that T20 is a batsman's format. Bowlers are like bowling machines feeding balls to be hit to all parts, writes Aakash Chopra.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2009 23:10 IST

We've heard it said repeatedly that T20 is a batsman's format. Bowlers are like bowling machines feeding balls to be hit to all parts. Well, if you go by the number of runs being scored in one T20 game and the economy rates of bowlers you'd think that too. But hang on, let's look at this game from a batsman's perspective.

Bowlers going for runs is a given in this format but there're no such given for batters except the fact that they're supposed score consistently at 10 an over. The same bowlers don't go for more than 5-6 runs per over in ODIs.

Let's see how batsmen prepare and look at this format. For starters we're made to believe that there's more time in a T20 game than one thinks. This is to just ease the pressure and look at the situations objectively. After all there are 120 legal balls to score off and hence you can actually take a couple of balls to get your eye in before exploding. The reasoning behind this is that the chances of striking the ball well without getting set are not great and you can always make up for dot balls if you hang around for a while.

Another thing that most batsmen talk about is to 'think small under pressure' which means if you've already played a couple of dot balls instead of going for a big hit off the third ball look for a single and rotate strike. The logic is that if you haven't managed to get the ball away in the first two balls the chances of hitting a six off the third ball are less. You'd invariably be creating a scoring opportunity instead of waiting for the ball in your areas.

Talking about the areas every batsman must identify his 'go to' areas and shots - at least one each on either side of the wicket. Once you've mastered these strokes, which could be going over covers on the off and over mid-wicket on the on-side, you either wait for the ball that can be hit in those areas or make room or walk inside the line to create that ball.

You must also identify the weakest link in the opposition and target his overs. Another thing that batsmen have agreed upon is thinking in terms of the balls remaining and not the runs. You must try to break it down even further. For example 12 runs an over from last three might sound impossible but 36 off 18 scoring opportunities doesn't sound that ominous. So if you can manage 6 hits to the fence in those 18 deliveries you'd need only singles off the remaining balls.