“Your best batsman should face the maximum numbers of deliveries in T20 cricket.”
This is a statement that we have heard countless number of times, since the arrival of T20 cricket. For some reason, many teams like to hold their best batsman back. Over the years, we have heard commentaries discussing about Kieron Pollard’s batting position in the Mumbai Indians line-up. Mumbai Indians like to hold Pollard back, and more often than not, Pollard ends up playing only 10-12 balls in the innings. Similarly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, likes holding himself back, and ends up playing only 10-15 balls.
This negative approach is a result of too much planning. Kings XI Punjab are the latest victim of this approach. In their opening match of the CLT20, they pushed Glenn Maxwell at 5, and Manan Vohra and David Miller batted ahead of him. Glenn Maxwell is one of the best T20 batsmen in the world. He can destroy any bowling attack, and has the potential of winning the match single-handedly for his team. Glenn Maxwell was Kings XI Punjab’s star performer in the last season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and it was his onslaught in the UAE-leg of the tournament that lifted the moral of Kings XI Punjab and instilled a self-belief in the team, and they gave their best-ever IPL performance.
Pushing Maxwell at 5 is a very regressive move and Kings XI Punjab must change their approach in the next match against Barbados Tridents. David Miller is an established finisher in T20 cricket, and making him bat ahead of Maxwell makes no sense. In fact, it will create more pressure on him, Maxwell and George Bailey.
Glenn Maxwell should bat either at 4 or 3, depending upon the situation of the match (balls left, required run-rate etc.). Kings XI Punjab shouldn’t take Maxwell’s batting for granted. They must give him a fixed position in the batting order, which should be no less than number 4.
by The Cricket Analyst