Cricket is a game that is played by 11 players. However, there have been instances where all the difference is made by a player who isn’t even named in the first squad.
Even though the 12th man cannot bat or bowl during the game, he can make some differences when required. The 12th man is a player who is generally a substitute but sometimes they play crucial roles in a game:
As demonstrated by Ravindra Jadeja in the ODI against Australia, the departure of Kedar Jadhav for treatment allowed him to come onto the field. He took a pretty tough catch to get rid of Steve Smith. The 12th man is an important player because he can get wickets from out of nowhere.
There have been instances where the 12th man has taken some blinders to get rid of batsmen and completely change the course of the game.
The team management are not generally allowed to come onto the field and bark instructions if required. However, they have the 12th man who can do exactly that. The 12th man is like a messenger between the two parties and sometimes, he can bring instructions that can alter the course of a game.
They need to be swift so as to ensure that the message that they are carrying does not change due to some other incident during the game.
Get essentials for the players:
Players have to rehydrate themselves during a game and constantly need cricketing gear changed during a game. The 12th man is responsible in ensuring that players always get what they need during the game and do not lose their wicket or lose concentration.
This is a job that is harder than imagined because they will need to sprint in between overs with up to four bats at a time. When people like Dhoni carry massive equipment, it is not an easy job constantly carrying them back and forth.
Boost the morale:
There are times when the 12th man can boost the morale of a team during the break or when things aren’t going well. When senior players sit out, they still want to be a part of the action and they do so by heading out and having a chat with the players on the field.
Sometimes, the 12th man can notice something and relay it to the players and that could make all the difference.
By Rohit Nair