Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Saving Tests

Pride, respect, value you’re wicket as if you’re life depends on it

Play every ball as if it’s you’re first

Bat Time: Value every minute, hour, session, ball, over played knowing you are contributing towards the desired outcome

Be unflappable:-
-          Keep your temperament and composure if wickets are falling around you
-          If you play and miss put it out of the system and concentrate on the next one without getting worked up about
      Don’t give in and get carried away if the tempo of your innings is sluggish/circumspect
-          Don’t let sledging and chirping in your ear by close in fielders affect your game
-          If you are under personal pressure in the press, don’t let that affect your method or approach
-          If a certain bowler has troubled you, don’t let that affect your method in this innings, be clear in your approach

Be prepared to be slow, long, boring, consistent, and repetitive

Try to greet each delivery as securely and safely as possible

Be prepared to do plenty of grafting, grinding, stonewalling, leaving, and kicking away

Control a limited range, you can’t expect to be bossing the game or completely dominating, therefore just focus intently on a few elements
-          Keeping the ball along the turf
-          Playing straight
-          Reading the movement of the ball and picking the variations
-          Not flirting at anything you don’t need to play at

Make the opposition earn and work for the wickets, don’t help them on the way. Make every effort possible to save the match and put up a fight rather than giving in. This will increase your chances of preventing defeat and frustrating the opposition.

Once you are established and settled at the crease, ensure you maintain you’re composure and focus because 1 ball, 1 misjudgement, 1 lapse of concentration can end your stay and bring a new batsmen to the crease. Remember the analogy of 1 brings 2. Therefore, it’s imperative that those batsmen who are ‘in’ keep plodding along and make the most of it for the team cause.

Defend Positively – with intention and purpose to show you are up for the challenge and are prepared to battle hard, bat long and show you’re difficulties to be dislodged.

Remember the key phrases:

-          Hang in there
-          Grit it out
-          Absorb the Pressure
-          Go through the repetitive processes
-          Maintain strict discipline
-          Played the waiting game
-          Refuse to give in lightly
-          Dig in long, hard and deep

Key Words – reminder:

-          Patience
-          Concentration
-          Stamina
-          Application
-          Persistence
-          Endurance
-          Resistance
-          Perseverance

What you are trying to achieve is:

-          Frustrating the opposition
-          Grinding them down both mentally and physically
-          Wearing them down into the ground
-          Churning out the runs
-          Overcoming important passages of play
-          Taking time out of the game

This is when you want the following players to stand up and they should relish the challenge and try to prove why they are ‘the most prized wicket’:

-          Grafters
-          Grinders
-          Blockers
-          Crease Occupiers
-          Innings Holders

Take inspiration from some of the outstanding match saving innings that have been played. The following players are fondly remembered for saving the day for their team and it has been one of their career highlights, if not their career highlight. For example, Michael Atherton has dedicated a whole chapter to his Johannesburg epic  in his autobiography ‘Opening Up’

-          Hanif’s 337
-          Atherton’s 185*
-          KPs 158
-          Rudolph at Perth
-          Punter at Old Trafford
-          Younis’s 130* in his come-back test
-          Misbah’s 70* at the Basin Reserve
-          Shoaib Malik’s 148* against Sri Lanka
-          Cook’s 235*
-          Collingwood at Cardiff
-          Boycott 100* from 303 Hyderabad
-           Razzaq’s 71 from 260 at Mohali            
-          Atherton 89 from 280
-          Atherton’s 65* at Faisalabad                                     
-          MSD unbeaten one at Lords 2007

Or even cameos like

-          Russel’s 29* from 235
-          Danny Morrison 14* from 133
-          Monty 7* from 35
-          Geoff Allot 77 ball duck
-          Robert Croft 37* from 125
-          Chris Tavare 35 from 240
-          GMJ 31* from 153 (77)
-          Mark Taylor’s 98 ball 12

Attacking players need to try to put the team first and curb their instincts to be more cautious and watchful in their approach for the team, be selfless in this regard

If players are hopelessly defensively, there are only a few of these at test level, and then it might be an idea to play with the analogy of attack is the best form of defence and take a few chances, hoping to dent a bowler’s confidence and remove the attacking fielders

Work hard and ‘switch on’ at the start of the innings the most

-          Bide you’re time
-          Rein yourself in
-          Set out you’re stall for the long haul
-          Curb you’re attacking instincts
-          Content of occupying the crease
-          Put the shutters down
-          Battle for your runs

You are trying to:

-          Close down you’re end
-          Put a high price on your wicket
-          Spend time in the middle
-          See off certain bowlers
-          Carrying the innings through
-          Engage in partnerships
-          Show responsibility, dependability, stability

Relish the role of being a man for a crisis, a match saver, it’s the biggest thing you can do as a batsmen, save the day for your team when the odds are stacked against you. Bowlers win tests; batsmen at best can stop you losing them. The fundamental principle to winning test matches is taking 20 wickets, batsmen can’t do that, but they can deny them

Know that the opposition are under greater pressure to win the game, especially a spinner for a 5th day wicket and therefore if you spend time in the middle and survive for long enough, they might start to lose the plot with the frustration and start ticking. This is when you have a psychological edge.

If you are to play shots make sure they are controlled and selective with the percentages in your favour. Just try to look for nudge of the hip or another risk-free run option or wait for the predictable/bad ball which you can put away and can earn by good defensive play

The longer you spend in the middle the more runs you will get, the more runs you are giving yourself the chance to get and the more bad deliveries you will face and can then put away. It's natural for a batsmen to be thinking about runs and have something next to his name to show for his effort.

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