In the first episode of Wisden and CricViz‘s new podcast The Greatest T20, Luke Wright opened up on the batsmen who stood out for him in the early days of T20 cricket.
While in conversation with Freddie Wilde, CricViz analyst and co-author of 2020’s Wisden Book of the Year Cricket 2.0: Inside the T20 Revolution, and Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast host Yas Rana about the greatest T20 batsmen of all time, Wright explained how, among others, his former Sussex teammate Murray Goodwin was one of the first standout batsmen in the format.
“I suppose in county cricket, it was the same sort of people really,” said Wright. “I mean speaking from a Sussex point of view, it was Murray Goodwin who showed his class straightaway. He was able to adapt.
“He was known for batting all day, as in four-day cricket. But he was someone who was instantly able to change his game plan. But for me, watching someone like him who used to show how he adapted. I started off at nine, and really got picked as a bowler/fielder, who could come in and give it a go at the end. I got one chance, luckily for Sussex, and managed to get a hundred and that was it. I sort of changed my whole game round, concentrating on batting. But yeah, Muzza [Goodwin] was massive.”
The name of former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds was thrown in the mix soon after. Symonds, who played his last T20I back in 2009, had an eye-popping strike-rate of 169.34 in the format.
Wright, a World T20 winner with England in 2010, later highlighted how T20 cricket has evolved over the years.
“Back then, you’d have one or two hitters in your team. Especially lower order hitters. In terms of setting out a score, you had to have tone or two players who can dig in and set in. Not that long ago, we had someone like Michael Yardy who sort of played an anchor role in T20s,” Wright said.
Open the batting so he can face more balls?
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) May 29, 2020
“And you don’t really see that anymore. It’s all the hitters. If you got the team three or four down, you pretty much knew that was the end of the game if you got a half-decent score on the board.
“Whereas nowadays, number nines are coming in and still able to get 20 off eight balls and win the game. And I think that’s the big change that everybody is now able to hit a four or a six,” he added.