In the new world order of cricket, England are off to a good start. Cricket


At a press conference at Eden Gardens six years ago, Anil Kumble had no qualms in saying that strike rates in Test cricket were relevant to bowlers, not batsmen. “I know there is a lot of (talk of) strike rate in the last eight years after the advent of T20. As far back as I was playing, strike rate in Test cricket was mostly talked about for bowlers and not batsmen. I like to see it like this.

Kumble’s comments came after skipper Virat Kohli said that he had spoken to Cheteshwar Pujara about his strike rate during the 2016 West Indies tour, where he got 16 off 67 balls and 46 off 46 balls in Antigua. Was dropped from the third test after. 159 balls at Kingston. Pujara’s strike rate hasn’t improved much since then, but cricket has changed so much that now India and most other countries are playing catch-up. England have again set the bar, which is very high.

There is a lot of difference. Last year, India scored 3.72 runs per over in seven Tests and Australia scored 3.62 runs in 11 Tests. England ended March with 4.13 runs per over in 15 Tests. The breakdown is more staggering: England averaged four runs or more per over in 15 of the 29 innings, five runs per over or more in eight of them. Last year only England averaged five per over for a minimum score of 200. All of them are now in the top 10 fastest innings in the last decade. For a team to achieve all this in just one calendar year is pretty special.

On the face of it, England have made a good start by adapting their strong T20 formula to the longest format. Rawalpindi, where he won his landslide victory last month, is a perfect example. After only 14 wickets fell in five days in a draw against Australia in March on one of the flattest pitches ever, England fielded their side with T20 specialists such as Harry Brook and Liam Livingstone. On the first day of the Test, they scored 506/4. By the time England were all out for 657, five batsmen had a strike rate of over 100, Ben Stokes topping the charts with 41 from 18 balls (S/R 227.77) which put the Test out of Pakistan’s reach. Gave.

When batsmen score so quickly, bowlers automatically get more time to dismiss teams twice. And this is an important factor when the pitch is unresponsive. Like in Rawalpindi, where England scored 921 runs in 136.5 overs in two innings. Around five sessions out of 15 are possible in the five-day Test, giving England 252 overs to bowl Pakistan out twice, with the last wicket falling just minutes before the match’s scheduled time.

England are now backing themselves to chase down the hitherto unassailable score in the fourth innings. They chased down 299 in 50 overs against New Zealand at Trent Bridge and 296 in 54.2 overs at Leeds. He repeated that feat against India in Birmingham (378 in 76.4 overs) to deliver the first warnings in Tests and the shorter formats before pushing the envelope in Pakistan. They eventually won the T20 World Cup in Australia last November, becoming the first team in history to hold both white-ball world titles simultaneously.

With nine wins out of 10 since the loss of the Ashes at the start of 2022, England—unlike many sides—are no longer lagging behind in Tests.

“We are not interested in a draw. On pitches like this you have to do things, make some bold decisions,” England captain Stokes said after the Rawalpindi win. Trying to get out, but his approach is aggressive on a more overall note – be it with more unorthodox field placements or batsmen like Joe Root now attempting the reverse sweep.

They no longer conform to the norms. Test cricket was the barometer to measure the health of the game. But with England giving it a white-ball makeover, the onus has now fallen on other nations to catch up or fall behind.


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