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Wanted: Sicilian Defence - Yusuf Pathan Variation

The Sicilian Defence is one of the most potent weapons for an aggressive Black to gain upperhand during the middle game. Handled incorrectly, the color of the game may change when the end game begins!
Note: This post requires some basic knowledge about chess :(

T20 is still in its infancy and people who run cricket today are still busy counting money and finding it tough to get out of the Test and ODI (which now sounds too long) mindset when it comes to actually playing in the middle.


Soon, cricket rulers will realize that T20 (especially of the IPL variety) is a strategy game (and not a leisure game like Test or ODI) and the ones who will consistently win are the ones who have a strategy in place. Everyone today thinks they have a strategy but I'm not sure if they can "describe it with a structure"!


Look at chess - a pure strategy game. You may have an opening strategy and it may flounder. Then you need to come with an ace move in the middle game to repair the cracks due to failure of opening. And finally, there is an endgame which can never be underestimated and requires its own special skills. Too much intelligence is required to win or save in the end game.


A smart opening game, a shrewd middle game and an intelligent endgame are necessary for success.


There are only 3 words/phrases I can think of while batting:


Opening, Middle, Slog


And only 4 adjectives I can think of:


Brutal Aggression, Aggression, Cautious Aggression and Defence


So it is a 3X4 matrix leading to 12 possibilities!


Like in chess, 8-12 years from now, we will have names for each of these strategies!


1. Royal Indian Defence

2. Afridi Vacuum

3. Uthappa Gambit

4. Measured Dravidian Offensive

5. Ross Taylor Onslaught

6. Kallis Opening

7. The Morgan Variation

8. Pieterson Gambit Accepted

9. Pieterson Gambit Declined

10.The Goswami Trap


etc etc


I don’t know what shape these will take – maybe the team that hires Viswanathan Anand first may take a big lead over others!


For the fans to understand, it will take about 50 years. Till then, we have to make do with a belief that strategies are in place, every move is to a strategy and just that the strategy backfired for XYZ reasons!


In the meantime, it is worth taking a look at some of the "Cardinal Principles to be followed in Chess" and if Ernst & Young or Ray Jennings can certify that 'solid strategies' are indeed in place, we have to just sit back, relax and enjoy the game smile


Principle 1: Open with either King or Queen's pawn. This will help you take control over the center
Principle 2: Each piece should grow to either threaten or stifle growth of opponent's piece
Principle 3: Take the knights out before the bishops
Principle 4: Try to make a move that will help you advance, not retreat
Principle 5: Before you take out your minor or major pieces, open only one or two pawns, not more
Principle 6: Do not bring your Queen out too early - it will be chased by all and sundry and made to retreat
Principle 7: Move the King to safety by castling on the King's side
Principle 8: Always focus on taking control over the center of the chessboard
Principle 9: Always ensure that at least one pawn is in the center of the board, protected by a major or minor piece
Principle 10: Do not sacrifice or exchange any piece without a good reason. Sacrifice should always result in a strategic advantage














royal challengers


Maybe a cricket pundit can develop the cricket equivalents of these principles!

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Latest comments

By Strategy I mean, who opens the bowling and the batting or the batting order. The field setting has to be completely random depending on the situation of the match! U can go into the match thinking abt areas to bowl to sehwag, but who knows what mood he will be in, and therefore the best strategy to bowl to a guy like sehwag is to keep it tight and dry off the runs. He'll probably lose his wicket!
KunJan on 24 Mar 2010, 05:04 AM
Kallis is our best opener, he should however be given the role of anchoring the innings through out when we bat first. Rahul comes in early if Kallis fails. If you look at the history of T20 cricket, teams that have gone all guns blazing have failed if they lost wickets in the middle, leaving 5-6 overs for the tail enders to bat.
Kallis & Rahul are our key men in the team, every other batsmen should play around him. Role of Uttaps is probably defined. Even Kohli has been assigned the role of an aggressor from where I see it. It's Manish Pandey who will have to get runs at the start, Uttapa & Kohli to take it from there, leaving the likes of Morgan and Dravid to keep the score ticking.
It's good to have Steyn back in form, he was my choice for early discard to VD Merwe, but there seems to be a strategy Jennings is operating with and it's working so why complain?
KunJan on 24 Mar 2010, 05:00 AM

Went exactly as I had wanted it to and described in this post!

Delighted Roin is back in form and confidence.
Raghunath on 17 Mar 2010, 08:05 PM
Did u read today in the newspaper, Jennings said sumth like- Robin is the key if we want to reach 200. Must have given sum confidence our coorgi lad
harsha-vardhan on 16 Mar 2010, 09:31 PM
Nice to hear from you Havar.

Sehwag showed the way yesterday. A match should not be allowed to be taken control by the opponent through "a defensive opening".

The "steady" pace of RCB gets on the nerves of the spectators and fans. If you remember, last year we won many matches despite modest scores. The game has changed in the last 1 year and Yusuf Pathans and Rainas can simply take the game away in no time. Modest scores (<175) will not work.

Uthappa is our Yusuf Pathan. He lacks confidence.

The coach and captain should bolster his confidence by making public announcements such as "Uthappa has been licensed to fail. He has been told to play his natural game, without fear of a place in the team. They should 'appeal' to the fans to be tolerant of his failures!".

Sending Kallis as opener when batting first is not a good strategy. He cannot "lead" an aggression.
Raghunath on 16 Mar 2010, 07:48 PM
Interesting one Raghu. Hope some day strategies actually start working in T20 matches...or may be not, aren't we all tired of having to go through strategies in every step of our lives?! May be it is better that T20 defies all the strategists and remain unpredictable as ever....

There is one big difference between cricket and chess though. Pieces on the chess board don't have minds of their own! If only Jenning could control all the actions of Uthappas, Virats and Stynes on the field...:)
harsha-vardhan on 16 Mar 2010, 05:37 PM