FANTASY BLOG: Great power, great responsibility – and a greater game
There are some ins and outs of Fantasy League that, if followed, can give your teams a crucial edge
08 March 2016 11:56
It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of New Zealand or South Africa, India or Ireland, West Indies or Netherlands. The ICC Fantasy League will at once unit every cricket fan in joining the game, as well as divide every fan in trying to outdo the thousands of others. This is the kind of division that all sports aspire to, however. It doesn’t involve any showdowns, loud noise or ugly confrontations – just healthy and intense competition.
So while cricket might be about a win-lose situation on the field, for the Fantasy League players, it’s all win-win at the end of the day, or the tournament as the case is. But at the start of the tournament, you need to marshal your resources and get down to selecting – and fast. Till the first ball is bowled in the Hong Kong v Zimbabwe tournament opener, you can set, re-set and fine-tune your team as many times as you want. Set it right, and you will get off to the kind of start a David Warner or Rohit Sharma can provide.
The key points to remember:
- Pick only players from teams who are playing in the initial phase. Once Groups A and B are done, you’ll get a fresh window to remake your team. So as tempting as it is to have Virat Kohli in every team you want to select, he’ll just take up budget without any return on points in the first phase.
- Look at the price points of players. Most of those from Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Scotland, Netherlands, Ireland, Bangladesh and Oman are in the ‘value for money’ category. What this means during the first round is that you can pretty much pick whatever team you want, and you won’t run out of budget. This is not a state of affairs that will continue all tournament long, so make the most of it.- A little background reading never goes amiss. Check the team profiles and previews covered extensively on the site, and you’ll be likely to pick up a hidden gem that others hadn’t noticed.
- Be nimble, like Jos Buttler behind the stumps. Having an overall strategy in place is a good thing, but you can’t be rigid about it. For instance, if a particular pick or combination that seemed sound before the match doesn’t yield the desired returns, don’t hesitate to change things around. Class may be permanent, but for Fantasy League points, it’s form that matters!
Before embarking on this Fantasy League journey – and it is one of those where the voyage is as interesting as the destination – carry a map. That is, be aware of the rules in place. For instance, there are brackets for strike-rates and economy rates in this edition of the Fantasy League. So while you can’t actually go out there and ensure your player scores 50 off 41 balls to get the bonus instead of 50 off 42, you can will them on, and steel yourself for mini-disappointments if they occur.
So bring out your lucky jerseys, carry your good-luck charms and do your homework. Even more important, ensure your internet service provider is reliable as they come. You don’t want to be caught in that vast chasm between cup and lip, when you have planned for a substitution, analysed which players to take, and you’re left high and dry.
And a tip to get things started: it won’t be amiss to pick at least three, possibly four, Zimbabwe players in your side. With 24 transfers available in the first match and 12 games, you might think you should make two substitutions per match on an average, ordinarily. But the thing is, you get two “free” subs because you can set your team before the first match. So you have a team ready, you have 24 substitutions and 11 matches remaining after the first. If this has revolutionised how you were planning to approach your team strategy you can thank me later. I would have accepted gratitude in the form of a few bonus points, but since we can’t do that, I’ll take it in cash or kind.
With great Fantasy League games, comes great competition. With great Fantasy League tips, comes great power. And the best part is, you don’t have to worry about responsibility. Just get online and start raking in the points.
Saurabh Somani is Assistant Editor at Wisden India. He tweets @saurabh_42