England’s ODI No.3 shares his expertise on run-making in 50-over cricket
Getting in the groove
I’m very fortunate to have some brilliant players around me who are very expansive so that takes a little bit of pressure off me when I start my innings. I know that if it takes five to 10 balls and I’m not striking at 100 or 120 then I can still stay relaxed.
Most of the time when I come in either Jonny [Bairstow] or Jason [Roy] are absolutely flying, and all I need to do is get them back on strike and then pick off the bad balls when I get the opportunity.
Playing to your strengths
I’m not someone who’s going to hit it 20, 30 rows back or mishit it for six very consistently, so for me it’s trying to minimise the amount of dot balls I face, making sure I practise rotating the strike when preparing for games and just being really clear on what my boundary options are. If the rate’s getting a bit beyond us and I need to take a calculated risk, I want to be really clear what my best option is.
Finding the gaps
Using the pace of the ball can be a really good way of finding gaps in the field against seamers. If a team is bowling in and around fourth stump, just back of a length, which can happen a lot through the middle overs, using soft hands and playing the ball quite late is a useful way of getting the ball down to third-man.
Then, if they want to plug that gap with a fielder, they’re opening up a gap somewhere else and hopefully you can exploit that and give yourself a less risky boundary option, or another way of rotating the strike and keeping the scoreboard moving. It’s all about trying to manipulate the field and getting guys where you want them.
Milking the spinners
It can be quite difficult for the spinners in the middle overs when they’re only allowed four fielders outside the ring, particularly in the modern game when batsmen are sweeping and reverse-sweeping.
Take Eoin Morgan, who’s a very good player of those shots – a lot of sides have a deep point to him which then leaves cover exposed and that can make it very difficult for a bowler if he’s slightly too full or too short in his lengths. If you’ve got a sweep in your locker, added with the ability to clear the infield, it does make it very tough for captains and for bowlers.