This is your go-to guide for help on First Class and Test Matches. Press F1 on your keyboard to access the in-game help.
Other Cricket Captain 2018 Guides:
- Cricket Captain 2018 – Developing Youth Players
- Cricket Captain 2018 – Domestic One Day and One Day International Match Types
In 9/10 situations, you should bat first. The only times you want to bowl first is if the entire first day is very cloudy and day 2 is sunny. If both days are cloudy you’ll have to make a judgement call – It is possible to bat the entire two days but you will lose 7-8 wickets on average, which will mean the opposition swan in on day 3 when it’s sunny. So usually it is within your advantage to bowl first, skittle the opposition and then batten down the hatches yourself and hope to make day 3 in order to post a lead.
A good mix of defensive and aggressive batsmen is vital to surviving in FC/Test matches, you *must* be aware of the conditions of the game. When it is cloudy or very cloudy, often a defensive batsman is better to throw in than an aggressive one as he won’t play any shots unless he needs to (in theory). It isn’t uncommon in the new engine for a defensive bat (think Cook) to score 20 runs off 100 balls at 3 bars of aggression. Although the modern FC/Test game is all about speed, batting at 4 an over, it is still viable to play traditionally with a batsman who ‘anchors’ the entire innings. Having one or two of these type of players can ruin the opposition’s day.
Generally, you want six specialist batsmen, with two of those as specialist openers.
Generally speaking, these guys should have a strong or slight preference to pace bowling and *usually* be happy to hit on the offside. Note: The AI doesn’t generally bowl leg-stump as it’s free runs, unless they have a 500+ run lead, in which case you’ve probably already lost the game anyway. Most teams will bowl the ‘corridor of uncertainty’, which is just around the off-stump.
Traditionally, number 3 is often an aggressive batsman, there to hit the softening older ball (if the openers have done their job), but they may also need to come in as a third opener (when the other guys are out for first ball ducks!) Numbers 4 and 5 are usually the ‘best’ batsmen and should be making an absolute ton of runs. They will usually face the old ball, thus they can rack up a good score. They also usually have to face the second new ball if things are going well. This means you usually need these guys to be very well balanced at facing both spin and pace options.
Batsman 6/7 (Wicket-Keeper)
The number 6 batsman (or number 7 really), is usually the wicket-keeper. Gone are the days of specialist wicket-keepers, if they can’t bat, they’re of dubious value to you. Thus you want a wicket keeper who has a healthy average.
The traditional model of a line up has the number 6 (or 7) as the All-Rounder. Normally, the all rounder is the 4th seamer (think Ben Stokes for England), but sometimes they are a spinner and at County level they are usually medium pacers. Medium pacers appear to be very seldom picked for the International scene, but they are very lethal in the English county circuit with the cloudy weather. Sunny nations tend to limit their effectiveness.
The decision you have to make is; Do you want an all round wicket-taker or batsman? Most people will pick a batsman who will bowl, not the other way round, as you should normally have four bowling options to take wickets with anyway.
A good mix of bowlers is always a handy thing to have. The most common type of bowlers are: FM, MF and Off-spin (or finger spin). The rarer types are F and Leg Spin. Fast bowlers tend to be expensive, usually going for around 5 an over, more if they have a bad over. FM/MF bowlers tend to be anywhere from 3-4 an over and spinners vary enormously, the best spinners will be extremely economical with an average economy of 3, but very often you can see it drop on a per match basis to 1-2 for long periods of time. Part time spinners and poor spinners can be extremely expensive 4-6+ an over. Generally speaking in FC matches wicket taking ability is more important than economy rate, however, you need to keep an eye on the economy rate as it usually indicates that the bowler is losing the ideal line and length and allowing the batsman to hit easy shots. – ALWAYS check your field settings before passing judgement, sometimes a bowler will go for 14 in an over, if you have all 9 outfielders in the slips it probably isn’t his fault!
Bowling is part individual flair and ability and part team-work; Bowl as a ‘unit’, bowl in partnerships, don’t stick to the boring ‘five on, five off’ routine. Bowl a guy for three overs, watch how he is, if he’s doing ok but the opposition have a huge partnership, swap him around, change ends, vary the bowling attack, keep the batsmen on their toes. Normally, you can get by with standard bowling schemes; That is, two bowlers bowling the ‘channel’ at 3 aggression.
Here’s the usual ‘standard’ for English County Cricket:
3 Seam bowlers,
1 Spin bowler (or a fourth seamer if your spinner is the all-rounder).
Your two opening bowlers should usually open at 4-5 aggression at the off stump (middle setting). Use your judgement as to when to drop to 3 aggression, the AI usually drops to 3 around 20-30 balls faced or around 20 runs scored. As a rule of thumb, I drop a bowlers aggression level to 3 when the batsman scores 25 runs, this is mostly because the field setting is linked to aggression and the standard field templates for FC/Test matches are suitable for achieving victories. (Note; I mentioned the AI dropped aggression very early, this is why some users see the AI score in FC at a higher run rate in the early phases, the AI seems naturally defensive – That doesn’t mean it won’t attack, but it usually picks its moments; Usually it will attack at 4-max aggression at the start of the day, before a break and just after a break – it will bowl at max if it has a 200+ lead in the second innings in most cases, or if it forces you to follow on.)
Bowling at the opposition weakness
Simply don’t do this unless you know what you’re doing. If a batsman favours the front foot, offside and you bowl short and legside at 4-5 aggression you’re giving him free runs even if he’s ‘weak’ in that area. The field settings do not take into account the length of the ball. Aggressive bowling has the fielders in, short balls at the body will usually provoke a hook/pull, which isn’t going to caught at short leg unless you get a peach of a ball that forces an evasive block, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in this series (hook/edges to short legs do happen though, even if they shouldn’t!)
Bowling full during cloudy weather can entice edges to the slips/gully area, however here’s another thing to take note of; Just because a batsman favours an ‘area’ doesn’t mean that he’s weak in the opposite area. I might favour the back foot, but it doesn’t mean I’m uncomfortable with front foot shots. 9/10 you should be ‘line and lengthing’ the ball, the ‘Ricky Ponting’s weak area’ as he freely admitted. The correct time to focus on an individual weakness is when they are getting settled; You target individual ‘weaknesses’ for about 5 overs when the batsman is settled at around 30-40+ runs. Don’t persist forever with it though as it becomes predictable.
Basically: Target an opposition weakness sporadically when the situation calls for it. Doing it immediately without paying attention to circumstances within the match can often cause the runs to get away from you.
Other notes for FC/Tests
Often batsman number 6 and 7 are aggressive or super-aggressive, this is because they need to score quickly before the bowlers get out. Now-a-days, bowlers need to be able to bat 10-20 runs on average, so tactically you can be a bit more varied. I wouldn’t put a defensive batsman here as he may very well lack the mentality to score well before running out of partnets.
Batting: 2 aggression is fine, 3 when 30-50% settled. Very Cloudy weather -1 aggression, favour defensive batsmen.
Bowling: 4-max aggression to start, at the end of a session and at the start of a session. 3 throughout usually.
Team building: 3 opening batsmen, 3-4 specialist batsmen, 2 all rounders, 2 wicketkeppers, 4-5 seamers, 2 spinners – Adjust as needed for injuries and such.