ICC World Cup 2011: Does Batting Second Make Sense?

Linus FernandesAnalyst IIMarch 11, 2011

LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 24:  Daren Powell and Jerome Taylor of the West Indies talk to former fast bowler Michael Holding during the West Indies nets session at Headingley on May 24, 2007 in Leeds, England.  (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)
Tom Shaw/Getty Images

Woes with the bowling attack have led to critics lending suggestions as to how the men in blue can overcome their travails.

There is, however, no need to make a mountain of a molehill.

There is less to be concerned about than teams like South Africa, England, Pakistan or Sri Lanka. Australia and the West Indies are notable, even surprising, exceptions. Maybe playing to your strengths, even in alien conditions, has its merits.

India have not exhibited their best but have continued their winning ways. It has not been great watching, but it’s been effective.

At the end of the day, it’s about getting the job done. Winning ugly is still winning.

Worries in the bowling and fielding departments will persist until the boys pull up their socks and effect a (minor) turnaround.

What has really got my goat is the suggestion that India should chase instead of batting first—defying simple cricketing logic.

To my dismay, Michael Holding has joined the chorus claiming that India will be better served batting second.

Let’s look at whether statistics support this clarion call.

Over the past two years when India have played at home, they have batted first in seven games and chased 12 times.

They have won 13 and lost six, with one no-result.

They are 5-of-7 in matches batting first.

They are 8-of-12 in matches batting last.

These figures do not include the World Cup warm-up games or the first four games in this tournament.

Losses batting first have come against Sri Lanka and Australia—one each.

Losses batting second are against Australia and South Africa, three and one respectively.

Draw your own conclusions.

Have a great day.

Quote of the day:

There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there's only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make up your mind not to be happy, there's no reason why you shouldn't have a fairly good time. - Edith Wharton