Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Before play begins, the captain of each side will inspect the pitch. Based on the pitch and weather conditions, the captains select their final 11 players. If the pitch is soft or dusty, the captain will tend to select more spin bowlers; if the pitch is hard, the choice tends to favour fast bowlers at the expense of spinners.
Half an hour before the start of play, the two captains convene and exchange team selection sheets. These list the composition of each side, which cannot be changed for the duration of the match. Then, under the supervision of the umpires, a coin is tossed to determine who bats first. The captain who wins the toss gets the option either to bat or bowl.
The decision to bat or bowl first is of great tactical importance, and the captain will have considered many variables before arriving at his decision.
If the team is uncertain about the nature of the pitch or simply wants to play safe, they bat first. If the opposition bowling is strong, batting first is a good option. Sometimes, the nature of the pitch deteriorates (i.e. makes batting difficult) as the game progresses. Hence batting first is a better option. Another advantage of batting first is that once you have got a total on board; the other team still has to chase it, and anything could happen once they chase. Most of the weaker teams achieved great upsets over fancied teams by batting first and bowling the opposition out.
The captain opts to bat second if he is confident that his team can successfully chase any total. Once the target is known, the team does not have to worry about setting a winnable score. The team just has to limit the opposition to a low score, and bat well to successfully chase the target. If the pitch does not deteriorate batting second, is usually a better option. Another advantage of batting second is during day-night one-day international games, played under lights. In tropical venues, the cricket ball collects a lot of dew in the outfield. This results in a poor grip on the ball by the bowlers. With a moist ball is it difficult to spin and swing the ball.
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