Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The skills required to be a good batsman vary with the type of cricket game being played and the situation of the game. Generally a batsman is required to score runs as quickly as possible without taking unnecessary risks and losing his wicket. At other times a batsman may be required to simply occupy the crease (stay in) as long as possible so as to prevent the bowling team from winning the game before time runs out. A batsman's batting average or strike rate are the accepted measures of his ability.
Batsmen also have specialties within the skill. Some are opening batsmen (openers), meaning that they are the first players to bat in an innings. This specialty requires patience and fortitude to face the best opposition bowlers who are normally used first; typically these bowlers are fast bowlers, so an ability against fast pitched bowling is useful. In addition, a new cricket ball will keeps its speed better when it bounces, which gives opening batsmen less time to play their shots. However, an older ball may swing more, and a particularly old ball may even reverse swing.
Following the opening batsmen are the middle-order batsmen (sometimes #3 is not considered middle-order). They are generally more free-scoring than the openers, partly because of their style and partly because the openers will have hopefully tired the bowlers and taken the shine and bounce from the new ball, so it should be easier to score runs.
After the recognised batsmen, the batting team's bowlers bat. Bowlers generally spend more time practising bowling, and so their batting is usually not as accomplished as the recognised batsmen. Particularly bad batsmen are known as rabbits.
Some players, known as all-rounders, are reasonably good at batting and bowling and may occupy any position in the batting lineup but few are opening batsmen and obviously none is a rabbit (or they wouldn't be all-rounders!).
The wicket-keeper also bats and is expected to be at least an adequate batsman: the choice of wicket-keepers for international teams is often influenced by their batting ability.
All of the above is a generalism and many exceptions can be found in the history of cricket.
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