“Look, there was a whole day left in that Test, England’s/Carberry’s/Compton’s/Boycott’s slow scoring rates are not important. We need more batsmen grinding it out. Dig in.”
Google ‘why the scoring rate is important in cricket’ and you will get page after page of links to post after post saying that ‘whereas the scoring rate is important in ODI it isn’t in Test match cricket.’
Of course you’d find it impossible to get that opinion from someone who has played big cricket.
Here’s a go at explaining why coaches want batsmen in IIs, County, State and Test cricket to press on the opposition through the scoring rate and why grinding it out is counterproductive and will get you the sack:
In no particular order:
A high scoring rate puts pressure on the bowler and reduces his effectiveness. It has a similar effect on bowlers waiting their turn.
Upping the scoring rate reduces the number of fielders in close catching positions and allows batsmen to get away with mistakes.
By spreading the field, the batsmen make room to knock singles. Bowlers hate change and love routine. They relay on rhythm and hate having to recalibrate their attack each time a single or a three is scored.
Bowlers don’t like 1s, 2s,3s,4s and 6s being knocked off their bowling, to state the obvious.
Batsmen like scoring 1s, 2s,3s,4s and 6s. Mysteriously it helps them see the ball earlier and ‘bigger’. The move more freely and more instinctively.
Upping the scoring rate puts pressure on fielders and makes for more misfields and dropped catches.
It also puts pressure on the fielding Captain, jazzing the quality of his thoughts.
Increased scoring rates create momentum.
Now momentum is a mysterious concept and it is natural that a time traveller, like Third Man, is more at home with the idea. Momentum changes the way time is experienced. In the case of the batting side gaining momentum, it slows time for them and quickens time for the fielding side.
That is why cricketers playing for the counties are taught quite early on – say when they are twelve – to hurry things up when they are taking wickets and to slow things down when they aren’t.
Batting is especially about slowing time down so that it all goes further; more time.
A batsman with a slow scoring rate creates pressure for the guy at the other end and for those who are coming in later, just as much in 4 and 5 day cricket, as in ODIs and T20. He quickens time for his partner. That is why it is the great sin in batting.
Just remember when you are having sweet dreams about Geoff Boycott’s batting that only Bob Barber ever managed to score runs at the other end; (Did Gooch, once?) that he dominated the batting order at a time when England rarely won Test matches – digin – doesn’t win.
Anyone who finds this hard to accept might do worse than to read True Colours, by Adam Gilchrist (Test s-r 80+)
Not wishing to labour the point about Millenials too much, but one of them, David D. Burstein, titled his book about them, Fast Future.
You know what they say at the Pavilion at the Edge of the Universe; “Fast Future:Slow Time”
Today, Haddin (75 from 90 balls faced) mastered time. Ask Smith, Johnson and Harris what it felt like for them. Or Anderson, Broad, Cook?
Who will master time tomorrow?