Thursday, April 25, 2019
Updated: Saturday, June 28, 2003
The importance of partnership

Nazim Shirazi

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 games.

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.