How to Make Game Strategies for Different Cricket Formats on Howzat
With the cricket season in full swing, this is the time when millions of fans enjoy fantasy sports every day. While watching cricket on television was once a largely passive exercise, a fantasy cricket app like Howzat now takes fans much closer to the action, allowing them to feel like they’re a part of it. If you always fancied being a cricket team captain or manager, this is your chance to show off that knowledge and those instincts by picking teams that will beat those chosen by millions of others across the country.
You can download the free Howzat fantasy cricket app from the Play Store and play unlimited free contests and join a contest with as many as 40 teams of your own to fine-tune your strategies. Just keep in mind, though, that each format of cricket is very different. Here we take a look at the different approaches you should take while selecting your team in the three formats of the sport.
- Test cricket: a game for specialists
The bits-and-pieces all-rounders are often a valuable part of ODI and T20 teams. They usually aren’t quite good enough to bat in the top 4 or to take the new ball. But they can do an excellent job as “fillers,” bowling one or two economical spells and chipping in with vital runs lower down the order. There was a time when almost every limited-overs team had one such player. Test cricket, however, is a different ball game. For over 140 years now, it’s been a game solely for specialists. Most sides pick six specialist batters, four bowlers and a wicketkeeper. If you’re exceptionally fortunate, one of those batters or bowlers will be a premier all-rounder, which allows you more flexibility with selection.
For example, India have both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who have Test centuries to their names in addition to their exploits with the ball. Selecting them allows the team to play more specialist batters if the conditions demand that. England have that luxury with Ben Stokes, a game-changing batter whose incisive spells of seam bowling have also changed the course of games. Having Stokes in the top 6 allows England to play with just four specialist bowlers.
However, selecting an XI for a Test match is heavily reliant on conditions. If the pitch is green and the weather conditions cloudy, the seam bowlers will do the bulk of the bowling. The spinners will hardly have a role to play, except to speed up the over rate. In such conditions, batting against the new ball is also a struggle. Middle-order batters who come in after the ball has lost some of its shine are far more likely to thrive than the openers tasked with surviving the new-ball spells. Keep this in mind while picking your team.
- ODIs: finding the right balance
Each innings may last 50 overs, but so much of what happens in an ODI is dictated by the first 10 overs and the last 5 overs of each innings, when fielding restrictions force captains to be as clever as possible in managing their resources. This also tells you straight away the two types of players you most definitely should have in your XI. Quick-scoring openers are mandatory to take advantage of most of the fielders being within the circle against the new ball. Once the tempo is set early on without wickets being lost, it’s far easier for the team to tick along before the final onslaught against the older, softer ball.
The other key picks are bowlers who can withstand that last charge. Those bowlers entrusted with overs 41-50 need more than a few tricks up their sleeves, such as changes of pace, good yorkers and the ability to confuse the batters. Another key component of an ODI XI is the relentless middle-overs accumulator. These batters, Kohli being a prime example, rarely ever fail and possess the gift of being able to bat through an innings without losing momentum. Even in the middle overs when the field is spread, they’ll keep the scoreboard ticking at a run a ball.
- T20s: impact is the key
There was a time when teams approached T20s almost as an ODI game in miniature. Those strategies are long gone. These days, big hitting isn’t restricted to Power Plays and batters all the way down to No. 8 or No. 9 are expected to come in and smash the ball from the outset. This makes it all the more challenging to pick the right bowling attack. The bowlers most popular with fantasy cricket players not only take wickets, but they also possess enough variations to bowl economical spells. A Bumrah can take wickets with conventional swing in the early overs and then return with yorkers and well-disguised slower balls to kill late-innings momentum.
Mystery spinners or skilful wrist spinners are also valuable additions to an XI. Those good enough can even bowl during the Power Plays, challenging the batters to hit over the top. Taking the pace off the ball also forces batters to take risks. Often one of those attempted big hits finds a fielder.
As in ODIs, early momentum is everything while batting. While choosing a fantasy team, it’s vitally important that you get the right openers. In all likelihood, they will face the most balls and score the most runs. And last, but certainly not least, pick as many genuine all-rounders as you can. Even if they fail with one skill, they have enough ability to influence the game with the other. While the other formats prioritize consistency, impact is the name of the T20 game.
Familiarize yourself with these strategies, and once you’ve played enough practice games on Howzat, you can eye the bigger prizes. Download the Howzat cash app from Howzat’s official website and play fantasy cricket with real money to win big cash prizes. You can even challenge World Cup-winning greats such as Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan in the Beat the Legend contest. Get started on your fantasy cricket journey and your cricket-watching experience will never be the same.