Our writers have provided incisive analysis over the years on what captains and players should do in certain scenarios. But how will they fare when they have to make the decision themselves? In this new series, Hot Seat, we give them a scenario and ask them to decide what to do.
You are captaining a Rest of World XI against world champions England in an ODI at Lord's. Chasing 340, you are left with 110 needed off 10 overs with five wickets in hand. You have one set batsman at the crease and one who has just arrived. Which two batsmen would you pick? Condition: one of the players must have had at least 40% of their innings played from No. 6 or lower.
Nagraj Gollapudi: Rohit Sharma and Glenn Maxwell
Only once has a chasing team scored more than 110 in the last 10 overs to win an ODI. Pakistan were the team, and they got 111 off the last 10 against Bangladesh in the 2014 Asia Cup thanks to Shahid Afridi going berserk. So this is a mean task, and it becomes meaner facing Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood. So we need two batsmen that can do an Afridi. My picks are Rohit Sharma and Glenn Maxwell - both explosive, both 360-degree players, and both six hitters. In the past two years, Rohit has made 77 runs off 45 deliveries while chasing in the last 10 overs, and Maxwell 43 off 34. No doubt Archer will test the batsmen with nasty bouncers, but Sharma can handle that with his heavenly pulls. At the other end, Maxwell can deal with the yorkers on the off stump by using his creativity. It will be a tussle of willpower and smart batting against accuracy.
Andrew Miller: AB de Villiers and Andre Russell
Well, my top-order player will need to be someone with a cool head to maintain the rhythm of the innings - but not too cool, mind you, because just nudging a single into the gap every ball and expecting my bottom-order biffer to do all the heavy lifting isn't going to suffice. So, much as I'd trust Kane Williamson to be there to the bitter end, I fear - like Joe Root - he lacks that top gear of violence for this scenario, especially if a wicket falls at the other end. So, I'm going to persuade AB de Villiers out of international retirement - it's the world champions at Lord's, you can't miss that. And alongside him, I want Andre Russell because either he'll break the chase in 10 balls, or he'll perish trying, in which case de Villiers can turn on the after-burners. Either way, Williamson will get justice at last.
Karthik Krishnaswamy: Rohit Sharma and Glenn Maxwell
My set batsman is Rohit Sharma, who is already past the century mark and at that stage of his innings in which he can hit a six seemingly whenever he pleases. The most ideal No. 6 for this situation is probably Jos Buttler, but he's in the opposition, so I'll pick someone who is just as good: Maxwell. He has shots all around the dial, he is exceptional at playing cat-and-mouse with bowlers and their field settings, and his numbers - even if Australia's selectors can't seem to see it - speak for themselves. Of all the batsmen who have scored at least 200 runs in the last 10 overs of ODI innings since the start of 2018, Maxwell has the best strike rate (174.88), and his average in that phase (44.37) is excellent too.
Alan Gardner: Shimron Hetmyer and Shahid Afridi
Okay, let's break it down. This is a true Lord's pitch (unlike the one for the World Cup final), and there's no time to be hanging around. Among current players, only four have scored 1000-plus ODI runs in the top five at a strike rate of more than 100 - and two of those, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, are unavailable. Of the others, Maxwell is the predictable choice *glances at fellow Hot Seat jury members* so I'll take Shimron Hetmyer, the swashbuckling West Indian. We're still going to need some dynamite at the other end, though, so time to put in a call to the fastest-scoring lower-order buccaneer in history. It's about time Afridi unretired again. Late-era "Boom Boom" would be all over this asking rate. Left-hand batsman and right-hand batsman, youth and experience, Caribbean flair plus Pakistani knowhow. This. Is. On.
Sharda Ugra: Rohit Sharma and Andile Phehlukwayo
Obviously, Sharma, with his bossery of the format. Sure, Virat Kohli is a killer in chasing, but he is just out. With the asking rate this high, it is Sharma's gum-chewing insouciance and eyeball-popping strokeplay we need. Sharma will be pleased to see Andile Phehlukwayo emerging from the old building, young, eager and ambidextrous. Phehlukwayo can be what he is needed be to in a chase - strike rotator or big hitter - and knows how to stick around and finish the business. Go see how many times he has been dismissed in a successful chase.
Next week's edition of Hot Seat will include reader responses to our scenarios. If you think you have a better response than our writers' to this week's scenario, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more in the series, click here.