The 7 Different Kinds of Cricketer, And How To Bet On Them

Alex Hales (Getty Images)

You're probably on this page because you want help with betting on cricket. If so, then one of the things you need to become acquainted with is the different kinds of cricket player you will find. Some of these players are much better for sports betting than others - let us show you what we mean.

1. The Test / County Opener

This is a batsman who follows the basic rules of cricket batting to their limit. He will block anything bowled towards his stumps, he will leave anything too wide for him to hit comfortably. What commentator and former opener Geoffrey Boycott once called "the corridor of uncertainty" holds no fear for this batsman - years of facing the new ball has told him to not desperately chase runs, but instead to carefully accumulate as and when he can.

Considered by some of his peers to be a relic of a bygone age, this batsman is still called-upon to anchor his team in key games. England has long placed a reliable test opener alongside a more aggressive player in its opening partnerships, for example the 2000s England openers Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick, the former a stoic, cold-blooded player, the latter a shot-maker who loved to open up the face of the bat and punish any bad deliveries.

Example: Alastair Cook (England)
Bet on an opener for: highest opening partnership

2. The Pinch-Hitter

Sounds a bit rude if said quickly, but this is a player who often gets moved up the order in one-day or Twenty20 games, in order to get runs on the board early-on. Considered too much of a risk-taker for test cricket, he's fearless when it comes to hitting balls to the boundary, and an expert at deconstructing fielding positions, then driving the ball right between two players.

Creative with his shots, this player probably enjoys the sweep or even the reverse-sweep, two techniques he is loved for if it results in something good, but hated for when the attempted shot gets him out. Fans and pundits will always support this player's credentials when it comes to playing for his country, but selectors in more risk-averse national setups like England will ignore him for years.

Example: Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire, and England ODI/T20)
Bet on a pinch-hitter for: fastest team to 50 runs and / or most runs in first 10 overs of a T20 match

3. The Number-Three

Sir Donald Bradman, Australian batsman and one of the greatest cricketers who ever lived, played for most of his career at number three. This is often considered to be the hardest position in which to play - the batsman must adjust to a changing pitch and ball, with bowlers getting some wear on the leather and some swing out of their deliveries, and he must be psychologically ready to pick up where the opener left off, as the first replacement.

This position usually goes to the best, or most experienced, batsman in the team, someone who has the maturity and focus to stay on for an hour or more in the best or worst of batting conditions. Often a captain will give himself this role.

Example: Rohit Sharma (India)
Bet on a number-three for: top batsman in the innings or match

4. The All-Rounder

A bit of a rebel, the all-rounder is as much fun in the interview room or the bar as he is on the pitch. Always called the new Ian Botham or Andrew Flintoff, even though this is enough to destroy anyone's self-confidence with expectation, this player comes on to bat in often dire situations, but is at his best when he can afford to relax and thump the ball to all corners of the ground.

Not much of a fielder, the all-rounder is nonetheless often the life and soul of the team, encouraging his team-mates and generally being among the most vocal. These days, an all-rounder is also a key component of an international bowling attack, in which he will be expected to bowl reliable and aggressive fast-medium deliveries.

Example: Ben Stokes (England)
Bet on an all-rounder for: scoring 50 runs in a match (all-rounders rarely score centuries)

5. The Wicketkeeper-Batsman

Though some old-fashioned specialist wicketkeepers still play county cricket, at international level the player must also be an accomplished run-scorer with the bat - coaches and selectors feel that if he is not, it is a waste of a place in the batting order. It's a debate that has long raged, as some of the best specialist keepers may not be fine shot-makers, but they can take quick wickets with their soft hands.

Batting similarly to an all-rounder, wicketkeepers are often known for their eccentricities, for example former England 'keeper Jack Russell refused to replace his old gloves, and, when asked to choose a piece of music for a one-day match, chose to walk on to "How Much is That Doggy in the Window?" The wicketkeeper also has to lead the team in the field, as he is the main catcher of all fielding.

Example: B.J. Watling (New Zealand)
Bet on a wicketkeeper-batsman for: scoring 50 runs in a match

6. The Spin-Bowler

In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, where pitches are soft and the air is humid, spin-bowlers or spinners are the main attack bowlers, taking a few steps in and either turning the ball using their fingers or their wrists. They are encouraged, in these countries, to learn "mystery" deliveries in order to get batsmen to play the wrong way, which can often get wickets. Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka, who played in spite of a deformed arm, was perhaps the greatest spinner of all time.

In England, Australia (with the exception of former player Shane Warne), New Zealand and South Africa, spinners are expected to be more defensive, keeping the run-rate down, stopping batsmen from scoring, and claiming the occasional wicket. Defensive spinners are also expected to contribute more with the bat than other bowlers.

Example: Harbhajan Singh (India, attacking spinner); Nathan Lyon (Australia, defensive spinner)
Bet on a spinner for: most wickets in a match (in Asia)

7. The Fast-Bowler

The blunt instrument used to hammer through a batting order, the fast-bowler is usually tall, skinny but able to use his basketball height to slam the ball into the pitch and go for the stumps. Bowlers like the Australian Glenn McGrath and South Africa's Allan Donald patented the death-stare and occasional harsh remarks designed to unsettle batsmen.

Of course the best bowlers will match trash-talk with their ability to take wickets, and players like Mitchell Johnson of Australia and James Anderson of England do both things well. Look out for this kind of player to take multiple wickets if it's a hard pitch in very warm weather - their favourite conditions for causing havoc.

Example: Trent Boult (New Zealand)
Bet on a fast-bowler for: most wickets in a match

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