Cricket Uncut

A group blog run by professional cricket writers from across the world

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Defence is attack

Sachin Tendulkar is bowling to Younis Khan, as I write this, with six men on the boundary, four of them on the leg side. He's bowling a negative line from round the wicket, outside the leg stump, angling across the batsman. Anil Kumble, bowling from the other end, is using the same tactics. The Indians are slow and easy between overs. Are they being too defensive? I think not. Is this how the game should be played? Why not?

The more India play defensively in this situation, the more likely they are to win the Test. At some point, Pakistan have to declare and give their bowlers enough time to get the Indians out. The smaller their lead then, the more chance India have of getting to that target. Wickets don't matter now; and the time when Pakistan must declare depends not on the lead on the board, which has already justified a declaration, but on the time their bowlers need to take 10 more wickets. So India's negative play, in this context, is actually positive play. Play to win, dry up the runs. Defend now to enable a successful attack later.
amit varma, 4:37 PM| email this to a friend | permalink | homepage