What England’s 481 against Australia teaches us..

As a kid, I used to ask my father, ‘Dad, why is it that cricket teams score 200+ in T20s, but manage to score only 300 or at the most, 350 in rare cases? Shouldn’t they be scoring 400 and above considering that they are capable of scoring over 10 runs per over from the beginning?’

My father answered, ‘Son, as the number of overs increase, teams change their strategies and plan accordingly. In an ODI, a team has 50 overs, and it has to build a solid base so that it can maximise it’s score towards the end, and achieve the best possible score. If it starts hitting from the beginning, it might as well get wrapped up inside 30 overs’.

It seemed rational. As a professional cricketer myself too, I planned according to the number of overs left. Higher the number of overs left, the less risks you shall take. You should deal in singles and doubles, and go for the huge hits at the end.

However, as time changed, strategies changed. There was a time in the 1990s, when scoring 250 in 60 overs was considered an above par score, and then there was a time when 300 in a 50 over game was a good score. Now, we see teams crossing 350, even 400. We see individual players scoring double centuries.

What has changed?

The teams and the players have surely started taking more risks, but they are planned risks. They are calculated risks. They know their capabilities, and they know a loose ball has to be dispatched no matter when it is bowled; in the beginning or at the end. Even though the teams know that having wickets in hand during the latter overs and playing out the overs of the top bowlers of the opposition, would put them in a good position to capitalise at the end, they know that putting top bowlers under pressure and having a decent scoring rate from the beginning will give them a huge advantage.

Similarly, in the business environment, building a base is important. Being cautious in the beginning is important. However, not taking opportunities when they come can come to haunt you later. Not taking advantage of a vacuum that a competitor has left and playing it safe, would not get you that match winning score. Grabbing opportunities and taking risks is important. It is imperative to knock the competitor off his comfort zone. It is essential to sometimes step out and smack the ball for a six to remove that silly point fielder breathing down your neck.

Calculate and move forward. Make the most of the opportunities that come to you.

Ps:- There’s learning everywhere, be it a cricket match or a business summit.

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