Cricket Uncut

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

Friday, March 25, 2005

Opportunity and ease

For a No. 6 batsman in a Test side, the opportunity he gets to make a big score is inversely proportional to how easy the conditions are. If the conditions are easy, as they are here at Bangalore, he could be walking in to bat at 500 for 4, with his side needing quick runs (as I'd earlier speculated might happen to VVS Laxman in this Test). The best he can do, in those conditions, is make an attractive cameo that will look like a failure on the scorecard.

If he gets in early, with a lot of time to build an innings, the chances are that the conditions are tough, or the bowling attack is good. Coming in at 50 for 4 gives him a good opportunity to play a big score, but he's only got that opportunity because the batsmen aren't having it easy. Plus, he might have to bat with the lower order, and they would find those conditions ever harder.

There are exceptional circumstances, of course, such as when the top-order batsmen, lulled by easy conditions, play impetuous shots and get out. But by and large, I think, No 6 batsmen are plagued by this inverse proportion of opportunity to ease of batting. And when their place in the side is being questioned, often for questionable reasons, it is even harder. I feel for Laxman, who would make a great No. 3, but just happens to be in the same side as the greatest No. 3 India has ever had.
amit varma, 10:28 AM| email this to a friend | permalink | homepage