Updated: Sep 7, 2022
The decision to bat or bowl first at the start of a cricket match is probably the most important decision a captain has to make. Making the right choice can put your team on the path to winning the game, while making the wrong choice can put your team behind the number one ball.
There are bad decisions in the draw that have lost cricket history. The main one that immediately comes to mind is Ricky Ponting's decision to pitch first to Edgbaston in the 2005 Ashes on a flat court, right after Glenn McGrath crashed and injured. England hit a gigantic 407 on the first day of the Test match to win by 2 points in one of their best Test matches ever!
In deciding whether to bat or bowl, a captain must consider the following:
The State of the Cricket Ground
This is probably the most important factor influencing your pitching decision. The type of court you are playing on has a huge impact on how the ball feels and how difficult it is to hit once you hit the crease.
Elevated Weather Conditions
Time at the time of throwing also plays an important role in deciding whether to hit or throw first. Some weather conditions are considered more favorable for hitting and others help bowlers significantly.
If it is cloudy but the field is hard and flat, the captains may still choose to bat due to the favorable conditions of the field. In this situation, they hope their opening hitters can get through the difficult weather conditions and see the new ball.
The Quality and Strengths of Both Teams
Some cricket teams will have strengths and qualities that make them better suited to bat first, and others will have other qualities that would first be appropriate for bowling.
For example, if a captain knows he has a particularly weak batting lineup and also a decent set of bowlers, he may want to take second when he wins the toss. Especially if they are playing 20 overs or 50 overs! This way, they can try to use their good set of bowlers first to limit opposition to a lower total. If they reach it, it will be easier for their hitters to chase that smaller target. Teams with weaker batting formations should always strongly consider hitting runners-up in games with limited overs as it is usually much easier for them to chase a total than to make one!
The Weather Forecast for the Rest of the Game
In this section, the weather forecast is definitely something that should play a role in a captain's decision in the draw, but it's probably not the most important factor! As we all know, weather forecasts can be incredibly inaccurate, so basing your decision on whether to beat or play entirely on it isn't the smartest idea! However, combining the weather forecast with the course conditions should give you a good idea of whether to hit or bowling first.
The Format of the Current Cricket
As many of you know, there are currently many different types of cricket being played around the world. The three main types of cricket are 20 matches upon matches, 50 matches upon matches and 4/5 day matches. Often the type of cricket played helps a captain determine what he would like to do if he wins the draw.
I hope in this article I have managed to give you a little framework on which to base your decision to bat or bowl. You can visit our website so you can choose your favorite match and bet whether who will bat or who will bowl. Just click here. Enjoy and have fun!