In leaps and bounds: increased athleticism has been one of the visible markers of progress in T20
In leaps and bounds: increased athleticism has been one of the visible markers of progress in T20
Mahela Jayawardene and Tom Moody talk T20: its evolution and future, the recent World Cup, and more
We sat two of the leading T20 strategists of the day to talk about the short format and where it's going. Tom Moody, currently director of cricket at Sunrisers Hyderabad, has previously been in similar roles in the CPL, BBL and PSL. Mahela Jayawardene has been head coach of Mumbai Indians since 2017, in which time the franchise has won three IPL titles, and is also coach of Southern Brave, the first winners of the men's Hundred. Here's what they had to say.
What do you think is the biggest change from 2007 to now? Where do you think the game has evolved more significantly?
Jayawardene: Overall the game has evolved skill-wise. I think because of T20 cricket, the 50-over game and Test match cricket have evolved as well.
The thinking and situational awareness has evolved in all forms - cricketers have to think on their feet and do it quickly. Those are the aspects for me which have challenged cricketers and made them better thinkers of the game.
Moody: For me, the physicality of the game. The players are more athletic. I remember in the early days with Kings XI Punjab, you had a portion of your squad who were well-equipped physically and quick in the field. This included running between the wickets or dynamic stops in the field or catches on the boundary. But the majority of the squad was well short of what was required. That has dramatically changed over time.
The game has evolved constantly, and if you think you have the right strategy today, you can guarantee that someone will be passing you next week. We have seen the ratios of consumption of dot balls change over time, increase of the percentage of boundaries over time. I think we'll continue to see that battle reshape the game.
Would you say there now are skills that specifically relate only to T20?
Jayawardene: There are some skills that are unique to T20 cricket but from what I have seen over the last couple of years, a lot of those skills are used by players in other formats as well. Sometimes in Test match cricket when they are put under pressure, they use skills that are seen in T20 cricket.
The slower ball was hardly used in Tests. Nowadays you use the knuckleball in a Test match in the first few overs to outfox the batsman. If their skills are that good, execution-wise, people will use it. The reverse sweep came in early in Test match cricket after players started using it in T20s to put bowlers under pressure.
Definitely the fielding skills apply to all formats. Like, if you are fielding and you have a skill set, you use that in all formats.
Are Test cricket skills still vital to T20?
Moody: I still feel that you need to have a strong defence from a batting perspective, because there are passages of play that require you to be resilient against the moving ball or bouncing ball. Those passages of play in T20 cricket are very small compared to Test match cricket, where you have a 40-minute period where you need to get through an extremely good spell from a Trent Boult, a Jasprit Bumrah or a James Anderson on a wicket which might be doing a lot. In T20 cricket there are these small windows against genuine pace or the moving or turning ball where your technique is going to be tested, which might be a four- to six-ball window. But you have to get through without getting dismissed and without consuming too many dot balls, and rotate the strike, because the next over or the following over is the match-up where you can take ten or 12 runs to catch up.
The importance of defence, hard lengths, anchor batters
The importance of defence, hard lengths, anchor batters
From a bowling perspective, as Josh Hazlewood showed in the recent IPL, old-fashioned hard lengths going over the top of the stumps, if conditions suit you, are as challenging as anything. That's just classic Test bowling control - bowling on a dinner plate and being consistent with it.
With the challenging World Cup for betters and a challenging second leg of the IPL, would it be correct to say a T20 side now values defensive skills more than it did, say, a year back?
Moody: Look, they don't as much as they should. The training that I observed [at the IPL], you could tell everyone sort of had a pretty similar template. There is a fine [balance] of practising your power-hitting and practising your variety of strokeplay, versus practising for these particular times in the game [when batting is more challenging]. Some players do it because it is part of their routine.
If I use Kane Williamson as an example, he's got a very set template the way he prepares. And part of that template is taking care of the foundation of his game and that is his technique. And that is no different than if you're preparing for a Test match. So his hands, his feet and his head, which are the critical moving parts from a batting perspective, are in very good position. And from there he knows that he can build through the gears if he needs to, threading through the field, over the field and beyond the field.
When the IPL goes back to India or to better surfaces, then suddenly these skills we've been talking about, will they not be as essential or as vital?
Jayawardene: I think it all depends. Attack can be a defensive option as well, right? So guys will counter that tough length with attack. And sometimes there's really very few bowlers who will have confidence to stay with those hard lengths. So it's a fine balance between whether you want the defence to hold the fort for longer or not. Batsmen are not all that defensive for too long because you need to put runs on the board.
It's going to keep evolving. We've seen it over the years we've seen it in data, in the areas that people are trying to bowl. They're always constantly trying to evolve and improve. So that is not going to stop.
We talk about certain players in their roles and how it's evolving. Steve Smith spoke recently about how his job was to fix it if the top order doesn't come off, and if the top order does go well, in all likelihood he slides down the order and lets "the big strong boys go out and attack". Now is that the likely role or the only role for the anchor going forward?
Moody: Not necessarily, because you've got, with Pakistan, for instance, Babar Azam, who plays a set anchor role as an opening batsman. So he is in a set position. Their template is that Pakistan are very happy with him batting up to the 14th or 15th over to provide stability, and then he has the ability to up the ante beyond that.
With Australia, the Steve Smith example is that that's really how he fits into the team because of the balance of the side. The balance of the side requires [Aaron] Finch and [David] Warner, because they have been long-standing openers, to open. And they're both similar players in that they'll play that aggressive, take-it-to-the bowler brand. Mitch Marsh has only just found himself in that position at three over the last six months. He wasn't even in the T20 squad six months ago.
Got fancy, if you want it: Steve Smith's strength in T20 is his versatility
© Getty Images
Got fancy, if you want it: Steve Smith's strength in T20 is his versatility © Getty Images
So Australia have only just, on the go, found a formula that's starting to work for them. And they still value the quality of Smith, who is one of the game's great players. He's a valuable asset but they only need him if things go a little bit pear-shaped in those first six overs, because they know that what he can do is reset the compass and enable them to finish strong and have a competitive score or still have the ability to chase down a total.
And if they didn't have, as they call it, the Mr Fix-it, well, they're relying very much just on one-dimensional play, and that is that power play upfront.
What about India? Do they have too many players who play the same way? Would you rather have more flexibility with the guy who can play hard at the top and play the anchor, like Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul can? Or would you rather go with Virat Kohli, who now essentially seems to be the kind of player who does the role that Williamson or Smith do?
Jayawardene: I think it's unfair to put certain players in that [mould], saying that they're just doing this fixer role. I think if you put Steven Smith in and tell him, "This is the tempo we want you to bat and this is how we want you to play", he has the ability to do that. And the same with Kohli as well. You tell him, we're going to free you up, we want you to go out and play aggressively at this strike rate, I'm sure he has the skill to do that.
It's just about how to have your strategy, and then saying, yes, this is the capable guy to do this. He understands the game, he reads the game. Or he has the temperament to change gears according to situations.
The Indian team, all three of [those batsmen] can bat at 150 strike rate if they want to. Or they can hold the fort and bat towards a situation, because they have that awareness and can do that.
So it's not about having similar players in a set-up. I think it's about role identification and clarity - in a situation, who's going to do what.
The issue that teams will have is that similar players have weaknesses against opposition bowling match-ups, and if they're batting together in pairs, which happened to India against New Zealand, that is where you're going to find yourself in a difficult situation. In a very small time frame - like, it will be eight balls or ten balls - which is going to change the course of a game. Not that these individual players will struggle long, but it's just that in T20 it's harder for you to catch up after that.
Where did West Indies and India go wrong?
Where did West Indies and India go wrong?
I would like to take West Indies and India from this World Cup as, say, two case studies. West Indies - there are those who believe that perhaps their obsession with six-hitting seems to be outdated. And India seem to still be stuck with what they were doing in 2016, with probably too many batters still playing the same way at the top. For these two teams, where do you think the problem lies?
Jayawardene: With West Indies, it's just trusting too many senior players, who were probably not in form and not in the kind of tempo that they were before, and trusting them to do the same job. The openers that they started with didn't work and they were rotated out, and then they pushed guys who were probably not in form to do that job. So they kept finding more and more issues in that line-up, with the set group of players that they took to the World Cup.
I think West Indies have always had that extra pace. And when they played good cricket and won World Cups, they've always had that mystery spinner or wristspinner playing, which most of the other teams also do now. And they had that option [now] but they did not utilise that in selection. So they went away from the trusted structure that was successful for them while holding on to something that wasn't working.
Moody: I think there's no question that the boundary percentage is critical to the success of a template in T20 cricket. But equally as important is your ability to rotate strike. So your dot-ball percentage is also critical. The best teams do both very well. England is the best example of that. At the moment they have a huge priority on their running between the wickets. You've got the likes of [Jonny] Bairstow and [Jos] Buttler, who are the quickest runners between the wicket in world cricket. They put as much emphasis on the pinching of a two or the pinching of a single as they do the hitting of a four or six.
You can say, we'll just go bang-bang-bang and everything's going to be okay, but it's not going to be okay because the game has moved forward. Everyone has caught up to the West Indies brand of bang-bang-bang, and they've added to that the intensity and the professionalism around their management of dot balls.
I think also with West Indies, it became an emotional selection of their playing XI and not a professional clear-cut and ruthless selection that was going to give them their best chance to bring the cutting edge brand of cricket that was required to play finals cricket in this World Cup.
I think India is quite a unique one in the sense that they have more pressure on them as a team. The scrutiny behind Indian cricket understandably is tenfold what everyone else has got because of the popularity of the game in India.
The other thing is that your ability to be brave [is compromised] in a World Cup. It's easy to be brave in an IPL because of the format of the game. You can be playing finals after winning seven out of 14 games.
Jayawardene on India's selection snafu in their second World Cup game: "Rohit [Sharma] should have been opening. If Ishan [Kishan] was going to come in then you should open with Ishan and Rohit, because KL Rahul is a versatile cricketer, he can bat at four, five"
© AFP/Getty Images
Jayawardene on India's selection snafu in their second World Cup game: "Rohit [Sharma] should have been opening. If Ishan [Kishan] was going to come in then you should open with Ishan and Rohit, because KL Rahul is a versatile cricketer, he can bat at four, five" © AFP/Getty Images
South Africa won four out of five and still were not playing [the knockouts]. The pressure of tournament cricket against franchise cricket is very different. And I think that pressure is very real. When you put all the challenges for India in one basket, it becomes a little bit overwhelming.
I think also the panic around selection. We look at the second game - India made a dramatic change in selection. One of their best opening batsmen and one of their best white-ball cricketers of all time, Rohit Sharma, suddenly, after one game, his role changed dramatically. To me that not only sends a poor signal to the player but it's telling the team, we're not sure, we're not trusting what we've got. It should have been the complete opposite approach, where it should have been quite [clear] that, no, this is the best XI, this is the best order, we are backing you. And we are wanting you to go out there and play the cricket we know that you're capable of playing. [As opposed to] sort of trying to move pieces and parts around, which creates uncertainty.
I think a lot of us now seem to believe the reason India lost those two big games was beyond skill sets. That there were a number of players who went into this tournament lacking form?
Jayawardene: Lacking form, a little bit of fear of failure, and unfortunately for India, they played the two best teams [in their group] the first two games. So they just could not make any mistakes and they made too many mistakes. And Tom rightly touched on that change of batting order in the second game. I said it on air as well. Rohit should have been opening. If Ishan [Kishan] was going to come in then you should open with Ishan and Rohit, because KL Rahul is a versatile cricketer, he can bat at four, five. He has done it in T20.
If they had played other teams first, got into a bit of a groove and trusting their rotation going into those two big games… I think they've learned they need to maybe handle those situations better, but Tom, like you said, it's a World Cup.
The pressures are different. You're playing Pakistan in your first game, and they don't play each other that often. That's a huge expectation on the shoulders of an Indian player. So I think they just did not handle that pressure that well, they probably went in thinking, okay, we can play like an IPL game, but it's not, and you're representing your country. It's different when you play Pakistan, there's added pressure.
And we've seen over and over again in IPLs, the wristspinners do make a huge difference. And you've seen it this World Cup as well. It's all wristspinners or mystery spinners taking big wickets and controlling those middle overs. And India have quite a few good wristspinners and they probably didn't pick the one who's in form in their squad. They went with that extra batting option, that extra-stability option, but that wristspinner is quite crucial in World Cups. And especially in venues like in Dubai, big grounds. If you take all the four teams in the semi-finals, all had a wristspinner who did really well and consistently throughout the tournament.
Do power-hitters need to modify their methods?
Do power-hitters need to modify their methods?
Moody: I think that's very much conditions-related. In the UAE you can afford to bowl a hard length to a Pollard and a Russell. Bigger ground, slightly more bounce on the surface. So I think it's how you adapt and become effective in various conditions.
We've seen a trend of fast bowlers have success in T20 cricket over recent times. And that is because the premier contests have been played in the UAE, but if we're playing the majority of games in India [in the IPL], it'll be intriguing to see how these fast bowlers track when the surface is slightly lower and the bounce sort of comes in at the top of the stumps and not over the top of the stumps. So I still would back the methods of your Pollards and your Russells because they have done it time and time again, even though both of them had pretty average tournaments - Russell more so than Pollard. To me that was more to do with what was happening before they came to the crease because their role is basically to score between 14 and 16 an over in the last five overs. And they've done that successfully over a period of time but they were suddenly being thrown into a situation where their side were 75 or 80 for 5.
Jayawardene: You have certain skill sets and you want [those batters] to be in that situation [that is made for them] in the T20 format. Once in a way you can probably can be in a situation where, as Tom said, you can be 80 for 5, but if you're doing that consistently, these guys are going to struggle because the opposition always have five bowlers nowadays and they've got set plans and they will execute those plans.
When these batters come in earlier, if they get to the last four or five overs, they know exactly what they're going to do. So I think it's all about set-up. West Indies should have had a couple of guys who were going to play the anchor roles and get them to that 12th, 14th over without losing wickets and without trying to hit those big shots, and having the technique to absorb the pressure.
Is it up to these big hitters to change their game if they are to be more effective the next time they play a big IPL or a big tournament in the UAE, or is that not a worry because their role is so specific, they'll be okay no matter what?
Jayawardene: I think any batsman needs to evolve in modern cricket, regardless of conditions. Whichever conditions you have, skilful bowlers are going to challenge batsmen, because otherwise you are not going to survive as a bowler in T20. So I think the batsmen always have to evolve, always have to think of better ways of handling those situations, whether that is technical or a tactical way of approaching certain situations. If you don't, the modern-day bowler is always going to be one step ahead of you.
And yes, once in a way, you will be able to display that power that you have and take a team down. But that consistency of playing match-winning innings as a power-player is going to reduce.
There's still a place in T20 for the mayhem that the likes of Pollard and Russell bring
Indranil Mukherjee / © AFP/Getty Images
There's still a place in T20 for the mayhem that the likes of Pollard and Russell bring Indranil Mukherjee / © AFP/Getty Images
Do you think the last few months will have some sort of lasting impression upon IPL franchises on the types of players they pick for that role? Would players like Jason Holder or Shakib al Hasan, or just those who have a better all-around game be in greater demand than a Pollard or a Russell?
Moody: No, not necessarily. I sort of consider them different options for you as a franchise. You've got your Pollards and Russells, yes, they have all-around ability, but they have in some cases extraordinary sorts of skills to be able to turn a game completely back in your favour. Mahela would have witnessed that with Pollard in Mumbai Indians many, many times, where Mumbai have been rescued by a 20-ball fifty from Pollard when the game looked completely lost. At KKR I've had the same experience with Russell.
And look, it's great if they can bowl, because you've got the perfect package, but I see the Holders and the Shakibs as playing a slightly different role. You are absolutely depending on their four overs, and their batting becomes an important part of the team's top seven but they're not your power finisher - that's not really their game.
Your Russells and your Pollards and your Hardik Pandyas are very rare commodities in T20 cricket and everyone's looking for a player like that in your top seven.
We were beginning to think, especially with the way India pick their team, that perhaps the trend of wristspin seems to have gone, and maybe there's more place for the fingerspinner. Now we've had a World Cup with Adam Zampa and Wanindu Hasaranga among the leading wicket-takers. Where do you see the trend going?
Moody: I think any spinner who can turn the ball both ways, regardless of whether it's out of the back of the hand or front, are valuable assets. If you've got a wristspinner like Adil Rashid or Yuzvendra Chahal or Rashid Khan, they are absolutely valuable because they are beating the bat on both sides. Then you've got the likes of Varun Chakravarthy, R Ashwin, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Sunil Narine, who take it out of the front of the hand and are equally potent.
I think the key is the ability to spin the ball both ways and do that with control and at a pace that challenges the batsmen so they find it difficult to come down the wicket and to sweep.
Jayawardene: I think wristspin has always dominated white-ball cricket over the years and it hasn't changed. A lot of modern batters don't pick wristspinners, and you see them not leaving the crease. When you don't leave the crease, it gives wristspinners more options to control the pace, the variation and the length. It gives captains more attacking field options to create more dot balls, more pressure. So it's a must to have a wristspinner or a mystery spinner to at least give you those four overs of control.
With all the match-ups that have come in, do you think somewhere the skill element has either been neutralised or subdued when it comes to fingerspinners? Even if you have a skilful offspinner, you rarely see him bowl to a right-hand batter.
Moody: I think there's a few that do well. Mohammad Nabi tends to bowl well to right-handers. Obviously his preference is to bowl to left-handers, but he's not someone you would steer away from a match-up against a right-hander. He can adapt to cause problems and create opportunities for you.
Mohammad Nabi is the kind of fingerspinner who does well in T20 because he is brought on for specific match-ups
Mohammad Nabi is the kind of fingerspinner who does well in T20 because he is brought on for specific match-ups © BCCI
But I think the traditional thing has become harder purely because in this match-up, the right-hand batter will just go hard against that particular bowler because that's where they can make a significant impact. There's very few traditional offspinners who can hold their own in a T20 game. It's different for left-arm spinners because they have that incredible angle they can create, particularly to the right-hander.
Jayawardene: Yeah, I think good fingerspinners are always a good option to have, but just how do you use them? You need to have match-ups to accommodate that spinner.
Two fingerspinners in a combination is much harder [for a captain to use] because the batsmen are always set up right-left [in the line-up]. There will be a short boundary, a long boundary, it's very complicated. You are defensive rather than attacking. But if you have only one fingerspinner, you can use that option with the new ball upfront against certain match-ups and create wicket-taking opportunities.
What would you say is the biggest difference in running a franchise versus managing an international side?
Jayawardene: I think the first thing is that [at a franchise] you're not living out of a suitcase for 12 months of the year. You can go back [home] probably after eight or ten weeks.
What's unique about franchise cricket, especially the IPL, is that you get to work with amazing cricketers, different cultures, different players, skill sets. The opposition is also interesting. In every game, tactically you're looking at a different angle.
It challenges you as an individual. That adrenaline is quite enjoyable. It is tough at times. It's hard to explain.
Moody: I think the biggest difference is that in franchise cricket you are creating an environment for players to be able to play with freedom. You're creating a culture where players have six to ten weeks and need to fit in seamlessly and feel like they belong there. They should feel they can play without any pressure of expectation from the fans, from the owners, and from within the team environment. So, to me, creating that positive culture is very important. Then you are making sure you are getting the right backsides on the right seats on the bus - that they understand what their role is and that they are trusted in that role to enable them to flourish.
What are the differences between franchise and international cricket?
What are the differences between franchise and international cricket?
International cricket is a longer game. You're looking to develop the cricketer, the person. Yes, you're creating a positive team environment where players feel they can play to the best of their ability, but you're [also] constantly trying to grow the group and grow the individuals and work towards various tournaments. You build your unit according to what the calendar produces.
What about role-clarity issues? You look at the likes of Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis - they love to open in the Big Bash, but then they come to the Australian side and play a completely different role. How do you balance that?
Moody: Well, that's where your selection and communication is really important. To me, that's one of the obstacles that Australia face with regards to selecting their T20 squad, because a lot of their international players don't play in the Big Bash. So when they're looking to pick a team for an ICC event, you've got all these jumbled combinations. Players should be demanding certain roles within the side but are given completely different ones.
Mahela, can you narrate some experiences of when you've had to get a player to play a completely different role than what he was doing around the year?
Jayawardene: A big one was Jos Buttler. When I joined Mumbai Indians [in 2017], he was a middle-order batter. Along with Polly [Kieron Pollard], it just felt like two power-hitters were not getting the number of balls they deserved to play. I thought Jos could probably go to the top [of the order] with his ability to move the ball around, and his technique was pretty solid. It worked for him and then that became his main role in the national team as well. But that's after having a conversation and seeing the player is comfortable doing it. Sometimes you make that decision and the player might not react well or it might fail and that is on you as a coach or a manager. You also need to then give them a long rope.
How important is captaincy in T20 cricket today?
Jayawardene: It's quite big because you have to react very quickly, you have to remember some of the match-ups, you need to look at the game three-four overs ahead - what other teams are trying to do, who are the batsmen, how to do things in a different way, how to create pressure. Getting fielders in, getting the bowlers in, and having that confidence - you might have a game plan, but on the field, you might have to completely change it depending on the situation. You need to have captains who are proactive rather than reactive. It's quite important you have a captain who has that calm influence, who's not emotional, who probably has a poker face on the field, because otherwise sometimes the fielders respond to those emotions [negatively].
Do you see it evolving in the football style, where there'll be more input from coaches and managers and it doesn't really matter who leads the team?
Moody: I think they are completely different sports. In cricket, there's so many more individual moments whereas soccer has a more structured set of plays and there's a certain pattern that's applied both defensively and attacking.
The way I see it, in cricket, [now] there is more and more support around a captain and a leadership group on the field and that will only continue to be the case, if not grow even more.
Captaincy and its evolution, and the use of data
Captaincy and its evolution, and the use of data
But a captain is pivotal to the success of your team. He's the compass. He's the one that sets the tone. He makes those sharp decisions under pressure, keeps people under control and calm when things aren't going well, sets an environment that says, "It's okay, we can turn the situation around."
So I think there's always going to be a huge importance on captaincy for many reasons, not just tactically.
Jayawardene: With football, the games are being played at a very fast pace and the manager has access to scream and shout and make decisions or change formations. As a player on a football team, you don't have that much time to think as a leader. That's where the manager has more influence in the tactical changes.
On a cricket field, the captain has more time to think in between overs and balls. There's time for him to make those judgement calls and be more creative. I think captains are going to get much more creative going forward, more risk-taking. We already see that with the younger generation - they're not afraid to attack more and have very different sets of fields and bowling options. When we started in 2006 to now, 15 years later, it's evolved tremendously.
What's the key to striking a balance between welcoming data but not becoming a slave to it? For instance, MS Dhoni is a lot more instinctive than data-driven. How do you strike the balance?
Moody: Everyone obviously has a different approach from a leadership perspective. If you have someone like Dhoni, who is an instinctive and exceptional captain, then it's up to the management and the coach around him to make sure they give him that information. Then Dhoni does what he likes.
And at the right time, whether it be a strategic timeout, a fall of a wicket, or a change of over, [you give] that little reminder - what about this option, without framing it as "This is what the data's telling us, we must now bowl this bowler, we must now do this." Do it very subtly to complement what is already an exceptional package from a leadership perspective.
Then you've got other styles of captains, like Kane Williamson. Exceptional leader, does things instinctively, but he wants to know the information. I think [Eoin] Morgan is pretty much the same.
Dhoni and Williamson: two approaches to data in T20
Dhoni and Williamson: two approaches to data in T20 © BCCI
Do you think it will evolve into more captains relying on data, and the Dhoni way becomes a bit of an exception?
Jayawardene: Remember, captains like MS have played a lot of cricket, so when he relives a situation in his memory, that itself is actually data. Like Tom says, a lot of captains will have a foot each in both options.
There's no harm in having options available, but it's entirely up to the captain on how to use it out in the middle. It's all part of preparation. Some information is more valid to individuals, like bowlers can have information and use it to take a bit of pressure off the captain in some situations. You're creating more intelligent cricketers who respond to situations in a better way, who understand that they are also leaders out in the middle.
Is there a moment you recall when a captain reacted to the heat of the moment either by accepting or rejecting data or a tactic?
Jayawardene: Probably the 2019 IPL final. Defending a small total, Rohit had an intuition, saying I'm going to back my best bowler, and he backed Lasith [Malinga], who delivered [defending eight runs off the final over]. It is a tough call when your bowler has gone for 12 runs an over before that and is not probably in the [right] mindset. I mean, no data or information is going to be able to give you that - it's just a gut feeling: I'm not going to go away from my main man. I'm going to back him.
Moody: From my experiences at [Sunrisers] Hyderabad, it was the selection of Nabi. He was selected for a specific role and strategically played against opposition that had left-hand strength in their top order. If you look at Nabi's record, he played specific games against certain opposition. Having the strength around the management and selection to accept that you weren't going to continue to play him if the match-up wasn't there purely because he did well in the previous game. It was very much a horses-for-courses selection. And he was successful when he played, mainly because he's a very good player but also because the match-ups were perfect for him.
If the rules were to allow coaches being in the captain's ear through a game, would you welcome more direct communication between the dugout and captain on the field?
Moody: I don't think it's necessary. I remember [coach] Bob Woolmer tried to mic up Hansie Cronje [South Africa's captain] in the 1999 World Cup and was sort of knocked on the head by the ICC. Possibly in a 50-over game, you can see some value, but in T20 cricket, it happens so quickly…
And I think you still have the ability to get messages out into the middle, regardless. Morgan's got his method with his numbers on the boundary. Those numbers mostly indicate the bowling options for the best match-up at that particular time. He doesn't necessarily always follow those numbers. It's just telling him, "This is what the data's telling us." So if you're wanting to suggest to the captain that the field needs to be squarer or it's a good time to bring third man up or whatever, there is a way of communicating that at the moment without being disruptive to what happens on the field.
Jayawardene: I completely agree. It might get to that [being miked up]. It depends on how you manage that situation, but it might complicate things too much.
Jayawardene: "We need to understand that too much of anything is also going to be a problem. I think you need to have quality rather than quantity"
Zac Goodwin / © PA Photos/Getty Images
Jayawardene: "We need to understand that too much of anything is also going to be a problem. I think you need to have quality rather than quantity" Zac Goodwin / © PA Photos/Getty Images
A little message here and there [is fine], but a constant barrage is not going to help anyone. If you allow people to go out and express themselves, you need them to make decisions on the field. That's why the game is so good as well. You're supposed to make mistakes. That's why we're all sitting and talking about the beautiful game, because if it's too perfect then it might be very boring.
Where do you see the game in ten years? Are there things that we don't see in the game now that you think are likely to be normalised? Will we see more players like Liam Livingstone, who offer the legspin-offspin option and who can hit the ball at will? Will we see ambidextrous bowlers? Will we see specialist captains?
Jayawardene: I think allrounders are going to be much more of an attraction to the game, but you still need specialist players.
Moody: I think over time we're going to see more specialist power-hitters. We've seen a generation with the Pollards and Russells, but I think we'll see more players master that skill and be sent out there to hit sixes and fours. The measure of their performance is around the volume of boundaries they hit.
The other thing I think we'll see is spin continuing to dominate T20 cricket, because, as Mahela mentioned earlier, I don't think there's too many batsmen in world cricket that are reading the wristspinners too well. And we've also got to appreciate that the white ball is quite difficult to read if you're not reading it out of the wrist. So wristspinners will continue to dominate. We'll continue to see the growth of more mystery spinners that are coming out the front of the hand and spinning it both ways.
I see the potential of a couple of rule changes in the next five-ten years. We may see a 12th man, like a super player who can come on to sub as a specialist power-hitter or a specialist bowler. In the Hundred, we saw a very good rule: when a batsman is out, regardless of when they crossed, the new batsman coming in is on strike. I think that's something you could have in all formats of the game.
Jayawardene: Love that rule. It just gives a different atmosphere, especially at the back end of a chase.
And bowling two overs from one end - that's also tactically unique. The bowlers have more control situationally.
There's room for changes, but common sense has to prevail as well rather than just that every few years we try to do something different. The game is in a good space. We don't need to tinker too much.
I think you've seen huge growth in T20 in a 15-year span. We never thought there were going to be all these leagues and franchises, but we have to be very careful. I know there's a lot of T10 and various other things happening. We need to understand that too much of anything is also going to be a problem. I think you need to have quality rather than quantity.
Raunak Kapoor is a presenter for ESPNcricinfo. @RaunakRK
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