Nightwatchman in cricket: The strategy used by a batting team to protect a specialist batsman receives a mixed response from the cricket fraternity.
On day three of the second test of the ongoing English tour of India at Chennai, England promoted spinner Jack Leach to No.4 in the final 15 minutes (or more) of the day in a bid to protect Captain Joe Root against the stick. intimidating circumstances.
The movement backfired dramatically against Leach as Leach ended up hitting the ball straight against India’s opener Rohit Sharma in the leg. After returning to the lodge after facing a lonely delivery, Leach was unable to complete his assigned job on a day he had already been overloaded with bowling duties.
Root finally reached No.5 for the 31st time in his Testing career. While the right-handed batsman managed to survive the day, he couldn’t help but criticize experts and cricket fans alike for his team’s decision to send a night watchman.
Nightwatchman J Root comes to the fold
– Rick Eyre on cricket (@rickeyrecricket) February 15, 2021
What is Nightwatchman in cricket?
A night watchman is defined as a strategy when a batting team promotes a lower order batter (primarily a specialty bowler) to protect their specialty batter from the stick at the end of the day’s play. That said, there is no set rule or number of overruns in the day game when it comes to sending a night watchman.
Let’s understand the same from the aforementioned example of England sending Leach before Root. When Leach came to bat, there were only three overs left in the day. In such a situation, a team management decides to send a night watchman to ensure that his specialist batsman does not have to face the opposition bowlers in a period of play where the ball tends to go. more for various reasons.
Assuming the night watchman lasts for the remaining period of play, the same batsman will then go out to bat the next day, meaning the specialist batsman will fight with a new mindset on a new day.
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One of the main reasons the ploy of sending a night watchman comes under criticism is that it puts a person less equipped to fight under difficult circumstances. Critics often point out that bowlers don’t ask their batting teammates to play when the ball is not doing anything or the opposition beaters dictate the terms.
Because shuffling and bowling are two completely different departments, critics of this concept don’t find it logical to send a bowler in place of a specialist batsman. Knowing that someone is less capable in a department, promoting them to the detriment of someone who is more capable is considered unfair in the former.
Who decides if a night porter is needed?
There is a general belief that a particular batsman himself expresses the desire not to enter at bat within the last 15-30 minutes of a playing day. Therefore, ask the team management ‘send a night watchman.
While the same is true in many cases, opting for a night watchman can also be a collective decision made by the entire team management rather than the batter in question. As mentioned above, there is nothing illegal about going for a night watchman in the rulebook. Therefore, teams often don’t care, even if a less competent hitter is sacrificed to protect a specialized hitter.
I know it helped me… but I’m not a fan of the night watchman !! don’t see how a lower order player is going to negotiate these deliveries better than a higher order player especially on these weeks !! you don’t see non-bowlers playing with 5 overs in one day 🤷🏾♂️ #INDvsENG
– Alex Tudor (@alextudorcoach) February 15, 2021
Can a night watchman open the staff?
Yes. Since nothing against the move is mentioned in the rulebook, teams may send one or more bowlers as the opening batsman to protect one or both of their opening batsmen, especially if they are left. a few overs during the day.
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir, who was one of the commentators on Star sports when Leach came in at bat, challenged the move by stating that the opening batsmen never ask for a night watchman, but it’s only the others who have the privilege of skipping a tough period of play.
In a way, Gambhir’s words were true because teams rarely send a night watchman to open the stick. That being said, the latter remembers that the same event had involved Leach.
As surprising and rare as it may seem, Leach opened the baton twice after being promoted to night watchman. On Test of England’s second tour of Sri Lanka in 2018 in Kandy and a one-time test against Ireland at Lord’s the following year, Leach had accompanied Rory Burns as an opening partner.
Knowing that England had to strike alone during the day, Leach took the strike and managed to counter Dilruwan Perera and Tim Murtagh on both occasions respectively. Against Ireland, the southpaw went on to score a career record 92 (162) including 16 limits.