This is particularly important for an opening batsman.
The main reasons to bat long and build innings are as follows:
The openers should play the new ball as specialist batsmen as long as
possible. Australians have a tremendous pace attack. If the openers do
not bat long and give in easily, it will be much harder for the new batsman
to face a hostile attack with a new ball. This may create a collapse and
we are known for early collapses.
Batting long innings does not mean they should not rotate the strike.
It is very crucial to take singles. The bowlers have an advantage if they
bowl to the same batsman through out the over. By taking singles, the
score is obviously ticking and the bowler gets a new target every time
instead of a set target. This puts pressure on the bowler. The less number
of balls the bowler bowls at a particular batsman in a single over, the
harder it is to plan an attack, know his weakness and then set him up.
Our batsmen should make is as hard as possible for the fielding side
to earn a wicket. The longer the opposition is on the field while we are
batting, the better it may be for our team.
Sunil Gavaskar, one of the greatest opening batsmen, always took his
time to settle down and his shot selection was near perfect. He had a
lot of patience, besides being mentally very tough and had a habit to
score big runs that is lacking in our batsmen.
Our batsmen must learn how to manage the risk factor while batting. In
other words, they must be patient, extremely careful and limit the risky
shots early on.
By playing all types of shots early in the innings, they may actually
increase the chances of getting out. Good shot selection does not mean
that we do not punish the bad balls. We must understand the merit of the
ball before we can play accordingly. We must attack when given the opportunity.
Batting long in a test match is actually a good habit and the most effective
way for scoring big. I would speculate that Javed Omar was given instructions
by his captain and coach to take his time. Nothing wrong with that. However,
it is up to the batsman to eventually score runs that is required to win
The reasons our batsmen get out usually in the 20s and 30s is due to
some of the reasons mentioned above. With Whatmore on our side I think
we are finally on the right track.