When Twenty20 first burst onto the scene in 2003, it was viewed as nothing more than a hit and giggle – a nice break for players from the serious nature of four-day and one-day county cricket.
Now, with the riches on offer across the world in the various leagues such as the IPL, it is serious stuff.
Yorkshire’s new overseas signing Aaron Finch is a prime example of how a player can build a superstar reputation on the back of exploits in Twenty20 cricket alone.
Prior to the start of the season, Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon stood up at the county’s AGM and spoke briefly about the tactics now involved in the game’s shortest format, specifically about what is known as a three-ball string.
Just last week, during the Roses Championship match, Moxon spoke more in depth about the science behind T20.
“Research shows that if you face three consecutive dot balls, normally something happens – and a lot of the time a wicket falls,” he said.
“We lost three wickets against Northamptonshire as a result of this. There were two four dot-ball strings and one five.
“Obviously the dot balls create the pressure and then they play a rash shot, so all the more reason why we want to try and reduce those dot balls so that the pressure isn’t felt as much.
“Flip it as a bowler. If you can get three dots together, you know that you’ve got a chance of getting a wicket.
“Boundaries are important. Clearly in Twenty20, the more boundaries you hit, your chances go up. But also, the dot balls create wickets by and large. You’ve got to try to avoid them.
“The stats say that if you bowl and you’ve got more than 50 dot balls, then your chances of winning are pretty high. Then, I think it’s 80 scoring shots or 40 dot balls when you’re batting.”
Despite this overall target, Moxon says Yorkshire advise their batsmen and bowlers to forget about the bigger picture and just concentrate on breaking it down, bringing us back to that three-ball string.
“We are finding that when we are telling the players we want 50 dot balls, it is too big a thing, too big a target, too big a figure,” he said.
“It doesn’t focus the minds. Thinking about 50 and 80 gets lost while you are playing the game, so we have narrowed it down to three balls.”