The cricket game begins with a coin toss. The captain who wins the toss has to make a key decision whether to bowl or bat first. This is an important decision.
The foremost considerations at the start of the game are the state of the pitch and the climate on the first day of play. Normally, a cricket pitch is at its finest soon after it had been prepared which is usually on the first or the second day of play. The ground gets bad after a lot of rough play. This tells us that batting is better at the start of the game rather than the end. For this reason, most captains choose to bat first.
However, sometimes the pitch can retain a little moisture on the first day of play, especially if the climate is humid or it has been rainy. In this situation, fast bowlers can attain a lot of swing and the bounce would become less predictable, making batting significantly more difficult. Sometimes captains choose bowling first to exploit this. They hope that they can get several batsmen out early the pitch conditions yet favour the bowlers. The captain is more tempted to choose bowling first if he knows that he has bowlers who can take full advantage of these conditions or if he has batsmen who are relatively weak and vulnerable to the same tactic.
Similar decisions must be made regarding the climate change through the course of the day and the wear and tear of the pitch. Over a day a pitch can change from being moist and favourable to bowlers, to hardening up and providing a rather consistent play. One-day pitches are typically prepared to be like the first class pitches on the second day of play, so the moisture element is not as significant unless there has been overnight rain or heavy dew in the morning.
On the other hand, most one day matches start early afternoon and continue to the evenings under floodlights. It is considered to be harder to bat under floodlights as the light hits the eyes, therefore captains choose to bat first unless other reasons outweigh this.
An extra factor is local weather conditions. If they are beneficial to the evening dew, additional moisture on the outfield can make the outfield slower for scoring, but at the same time make bowling and fielding relatively more challenging. Keep reading GutshotMagazine.com for more ‘Cricket Gyaan’ articles.