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Should Teams Pick More Batsmen Or Bowlers In Playing XI In England?

Sahil Mathur
By Sahil Mathur
May 13, 2021 • 13:19 PM View: 979

England is known to be a place perfectly conditioned for bowlers. It offers seam and swing-friendly conditions and the overcast weather is a bonus on most days. 

With conditions ideal for bowling, should a team opt for more batsmen or bowlers, to make the best out of the conditions? 


New Zealand will be traveling to England after a gap of more than five years; they last played a test match here in 2015. Back in its home conditions, the Kiwis generally play four specialist bowlers; as noted in the period of the World Test Championship. 

It is because New Zealand provides excellent conditions to bat which means the teams need to play specialist bowlers to make the best out of the conditions and take wickets. In the last five years, New Zealand has a batting average of 32.32 and a bowling average of 33.50 & a strike rate of 64.5. 

Kiwis play with a strategy of '4+1', that is four specialists with a designated all-rounder. This strategy has benefitted them as they play their best bowlers and an added option to rotate them well when the opposition tries to dig in. In these conditions, a team can sacrifice one batter in place of either an all-rounder or a specialist bowler. 

In England, the teams prefer the contrary; more batting options since the bowlers strike here in every nine overs, and a team scores just under 28 before losing a wicket. 

In the 11 WTC matches played in England, the teams have preferred more all-rounders - preferably seamers - than specialist bowlers. The teams on average have played two all-rounders in the playing XI and three specialists. 

New Zealand in these conditions might have to change its combination when they play three test matches in England next month. They might prefer the '3+2' combination in one of the matches with both Mitchell Santner and either Colin de Grandhomme or Darryl Mitchell in the playing XI. 

India, too, might have to ponder over its combination and there is a chance the management might prefer Shardul Thakur over a specialist bowler in one of the games due to his ability to bat. India might go in with a '3+3' combination with R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Shardul Thakur as designated all-rounders. 

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