The first official Twenty20 matches were played on 13 June 2003 between the English counties in the Twenty20 Cup. After that International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced T20I cricket and announced it as the official format of the game. The first ever World Cup for T20 was played in 2007 and then BCCI launched IPL in 2008. And since then mindset of batsmen completely changed towards smashing the ball and earning boundaries.
Ahead of the start of fourteenth Indian Premier League season, Betway conducted an interview with current and former cricketers to give their opinions on hitting sixes regularly in modern-day cricket. In this chain, England’s Kevin Pietersen, Australia’s Darren Lehmann and South Africa’s David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius and Reeza Hendricks were present.
English commentator, and former cricketer, Pietersen believes that for hitting sixes, one must be strong in timing of the ball. He should have good timing to clear the ropes. It is not necessary to be muscular to hit boundaries but timing is very important.
“Hitting sixes regularly – it’s timing-based. You only have to have a look at a guy like Hardik Pandya from India. He is fairly muscly, but he’s not a Kieron Pollard or Chris Gayle,” Pietersen said in the conversation on betway.
Size of the bat also matters according to Kevin Pietersen as he experimented with bat size during his international career.
“I’ve got a whole collection of my bats. When I started my bats were this big and when I finished my bats were that big. Your bat has to be something that when you look down and think, ‘I’m going to take this bowler on’, you stand a good chance.”
Pietersen also disclosed that England won their first ever t20 world cup in 2010 because they practiced range-hitting in the nets. Practice makes a man perfect and it was proven to be correct for English team that time to beat Australia in the final to claim title. KP also said that modern day batsmen are fearless, they don’t think much about getting dismissed.
“In the 2010 world cup, which we won in the Caribbean, that was the first time that we really went out and practiced range-hitting. If there’s a ball in the area that I’ve been really clouting, she goes. Fielders don’t matter anymore. You get caught at mid-on, you get caught at mid-on. There is not batter in the world who goes out now and thinks that they can’t hit a six,” KP concluded.
On the other side, Proteas player David Miller said that players can get themselves stronger than ever by attending gym sessions but it doesn’t give guarantee to hit sixes. He gave example of his former team mate AB De Villiers who is very good at hitting boundaries and clearing the ropes.
“You can always get the power through the gym and getting strong, but you look at Nicholas Pooran at the moment, even AB de Villiers, they’re not as big and strong. I’m not necessarily big on the weight of a bat, but makes a massive difference in the mental side of things,” South Africa’s David Miller said.
Miller also said that nowadays batsmen don’t get much time to get settle in the middle. They start hitting ball since they come to bat.
“Gone are the days of getting yourself in. Players are realizing that they can score at 13 or 14 runs an over.” Strike rates are much higher nowadays than ever for batsmen.