Tactics that unfold within a cricket match can be seen as obvious once revealed, due to the time available within the game between action to think and consider.
Often though the subtleties that lead to the outcome, are only aware to the few directly involved.
Generally, the end performance is the aspect that gets the attention and recognition.
Tactics and strategy vary from coach to coach and sport to sport.
From a personal perspective, Ric Charlesworth has never failed to be provide so many instances of deep thought provoking concepts across an amazing career of so much. From being the captain of the WA Under 19’s team in 1969 that to date has traversed across cricket at first class level, hockey of all genders, the AIS, Fremantle Dockers in the AFL and Federal Parliament, the breadth of actual experience is mind blowing.
A further insight into the view that Charlesworth has progressively evolved across sport was recently revealed in a conversation around player tracking technology using cameras being developed by AIS sport scientist, David Morgan. In this case the involvement being with the Kookaburras, the time period from 2010 to the current Hockey World Cup in The Hague.
Morgan, acutely aware that being able to produce data is one thing, but allowing the coach time to understand, analyse, educate and implement is something else. Particularly in a timely manner for full effect.
“Charlesworth was very clear on what he wanted. He wanted to find out what workload you could impose on your opposition by pressing them in defence.
“He thought that he could increase their workload beyond that of his own players but he had no empirical evidence for it so we measured the work rates through a whole tournament and the evidence was unequivocal.
“Coaches often work on gut instinct but there’s not always access to empirical evidence that what they are doing works, so we try to provide support for their ideas.’’
Charlesworth says the camera analysis was “very useful” because it provided data on components of the game that had been difficult or even impossible to measure previously.
His signature as a coach has been his ability to develop innovative strategies that create fatigue in the opposition while leaving his team fresher and able to run away with victory late in matches.
To bring this thread back to relevance within cricket and to focus upon the specific elements described as:
1. What workload you could impose on your opposition by pressing them in defence.
2. Strategies that create fatigue in the opposition.
3. The challenge for coaches is finding clarity with all of that data.
Evidence can be observed by the. ability of the Australian cricket team to fully execute a team plan against the English in the 2013/14 Ashes series. An example of brutal and deliberate efficiency that combine these elements.
Ryan Harris fully accepted the responsibility of making the English top order continuously play at deliveries without reward. Relentlessly, he probed at the top of off stump, at pace, with the ball consistently hitting the seam creating worrying deviations causing the batsmen to remain in the zone of uncertainty.
The performance by Harris, 22 wickets @ 19.31, but of greater value the 50 maidens from 166 overs (maiden % at 30), set the scene for the attack as he was entrusted with the first over of the innings on nine of the ten occasions. A healthy case could be argued that his frugality and relentless accuracy caused significant deterioration in the opposition which resulted in the achievement of the first two points while adhering to the execution of clarity in the third.
Not allowing Cook to score wide of the off stump, forcing Pietersen to defend more (strike rate 49 against career of 61), keeping Carberry on strike. Tactics that were likely to have been listed on the white board but to completely fulfill were reliant upon the underlying subtleties.
The answer emerges from a deep understanding of the tactic, not just the pure numbers and statistics. Enjoy…..