New Zealand batting coach Luke Ronchi said the batting style of a side is majorly dictated by the playing conditions on a particular match day and added that going ballistic with the bat from the word go, regardless of the conditions, was not a good idea.
India were severely criticised by many for their conservative batting approach at the recent Men’s T20 World Cup after their 10-wicket loss to England in the semifinals at the Adelaide Oval. Throughout the tournament, India’s top-order had struggled to amass big runs in power-play and not recording a single fifty-plus opening stand.
But with captain Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul and Virat Kohli rested for India’s white-ball tour of New Zealand, one would expect that the youngsters filling in would bring some change in the batting style during the T20Is and ODIs.
“You play according to the conditions that are in front of you. Sometimes people think you have to go all guns blazing every game. In an ICC World Cup, there are new, used, slow surfaces and different conditions. Not only the Indians but we also did it and lots of other teams play with what they have in front of them.”
“Sometimes it’s conservative in the way you approach the game. It can hurt you in the result. When you lose you think ‘we could have done this differently.’ But a majority of the time conditions dictate how you should play and the players of the team know what they have to do,” said Ronchi in a press conference ahead of the first T20I at Wellington.
With players like Rohit, Virat and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson getting older, a new crop of batters shining in T20Is has meant that senior players need to be at their best to catch up with younger cricketers.
“It is a hard transition to make. These players have played for a long period of time, they always looking to be better, improve their skills and make sure that they keep up with younger guys.”
“But young guys have their approach and a different mindset. This is how teams play well, when you have a mix of seniors and youngsters, they bounce ideas off each other. To have both seniors and juniors and perform as much as they can is vital in international cricket,” added Ronchi.
With youngster Finn Allen in blistering form with his aggressive style and sparkling stroke play, it has meant that veteran opener Martin Guptill is not a part of the white-ball matches against India. Ronchi reminded everyone to keep lesser expectations when Allen comes out to bat.
“I don’t actually have expectations. I think the way he plays his cricket — he’s going to grow anyway. He’s only young, he’s only been here for such a small amount of time, you can grab the amount of games he’s played with one hand. It’s understanding that and giving him an opportunity to go out there and be himself.”
“It doesn’t matter if you’re 22 or 35, you put expectations on yourself to perform, and it’s usually higher than what they actually need to be. For me, it’s actually trying to make sure he’s just nice and relaxed and goes out there and plays the way he can play.”
“He’s gonna hit sixes, he’s gonna hit fours, his strike rate is going to be through the roof, but it’s not trying to overdo it and for him to go out there and be relaxed — that’s when you see him play his best sort of cricket.”
Ronchi also felt that with players like Allen, doing the basics well is better.
“I think at times, which everyone does, they just want more and it’s realising you don’t need more — more comes from being relaxed and doing the smaller things well. That’s what we do as a unit really well.
“We do the small things to get those end results and if you look at the end results first, then more often than not, you forget all the small things and your mind goes all over the place. For someone like Finn, he’s really good at just trying to bring things back and be nice and relaxed and those performances come from him.”
Ronchi signed off by expressing sadness over Guptill and left-arm pacer Trent Boult not being a part of the series against India due to different reasons. “Trent’s an incredible cricketer both are, the spots that are up for grabs will be sought after by those who are coming through.”
“Boult has been an absolute asset for us over the years, and a man of his skillset across all formats will be missed in this series. But we will see how it goes. From Guptill’s perspective, he has been brilliant for years but the, unfortunately, way professional sport goes such things happen.”