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Hit big, develop tactics, be lucky - a blueprint for T20 success

Donovan Miller became a coach at the tender age of 20, and now runs his own coaching company, directs the Chris Gayle Academy and works with Essex CCC.

In his latest article for Cricket World, he focusses on Twenty20 cricket, how it has changed the game, the coaching world, how you can succeed at it, and gives his ICC World T20 tips.

An ever-changing game

The game has changed and is still changing so rapidly. To be a professional cricketer now there are so many routes you have to go down. I remember in the past if you were a good bowler who could bowl a good line and length, it didn't matter if you could field or bat - you were in the team.

Nowadays, you are expected to be an athlete, your fitness level has to be up to a certain degree. If you are a bowler you are also expected to be useful with the bat.

Batters are practising different shots. There is a massive change in culture around how players present themselves on the pitch. Players spend lots of time in the gym these days, they understand their diet, and so on.

The game has changed and will continue to change and it's very important for coaches to be flexible with their coaching styles and adapt as the game continues to move forward.

The impact of T20

Twenty20 cricket has had a big impact. Whenever the Chris Gayle Academy play games, all the boys want to bat like Chris which is encouraging, but my argument to them is that it's fine to bat like that but be smart about how you go about it.

Growing up in the West Indies that's the brand of cricket I was used to seeing, whether watching the great Sir Viv Richards or the guys playing on the beach, it was all about looking to score quickly and having fun at the crease, so my coaching philosophy has always been based around that.

I'm delighted to that's where the game is going now.

I remember on a coaching course a few years ago I did challenge a couple of tutors and former international cricketers around this philosophy. For me, it is about bowling fast, spinning the ball, hitting the ball as far as you can and how you execute those skills.

It's good to see that's how the world are playing now and that's how England are playing so these are very exciting times for cricket.

Luck - and making your own

With T20 cricket I think you need a bit of luck, and to make your own luck as well.

For example, take the final T20I game England played in South Africa. You could argue England were a bit unlucky with the Alex Hales run out, the Eoin Morgan run out when he backed up too far and losing those quick wickets with that powerful batting line-up on paper.

I think England are trying to play the right way, and those players are quite young and inexperienced so they will only get better.

I can see England becoming really strong in this version of the game in the future. I don't know how well they will fare in the World Cup, you can argue there is not enough experience in that squad but there are some really talented players in there though.

With T20 cricket you never know, if you have some luck on your side you could go all the way - there is no doubt there is talent in that team.

England might have lost their opening WT20 match but they have the skill and game plan to bounce back

England might have lost their opening WT20 match but they have the skill and game plan to bounce back
©REUTERS / Action Images

Mankading - yes or no?

It's a tricky one. Everyone has different views, personally I believe in playing the game as hard as you can and was never a believer in that rule anyway.

If someone is backing up and you try and run them out I don't think that's the best way you want to get someone out. The problem I have now, is that even younger kids are doing it - I find my two sons doing that a lot, but then you find the batters running half way down the track as well.

I think it's up to the individual, personally I wouldn't do it.

I was looking at the young lad, Keemo Paul, he was the same guy who hit the winning runs in the Under-19 World Cup final for the West Indies, so you could argue even though he comes under so much criticism does it make him stronger?

Is that him as a person, is that what you have to do to win?

What next for the game?

I think you're going to see lots of changes in the game. If you look at the current players and the drills they're doing. Power hitting, for example.

Most elite teams are now studying how different sports can link into cricket. For example there have been a lot of studies around baseball and how you could link with the similarities into cricket regarding power hitting and throwing.

You're going to see different types of bats being used, we have already seen how thicker and lighter bats are being used nowadays.

The modern days players now train like athletes, I think you might see fielders wearing track and field spikes too. That would enable them to get across the ground even quicker.

There are drills that we have been doing already, just trying to be ahead of the others.

At the Chris Gayle Academy we aren't full time, so we can't train like the guys who train five to six times a week but when we do get the opportunity to train for a few hours we do practise a lot of new things.

I can say counties and international teams are going down similar routes too.

Chris Gayle hits out against England

Chris Gayle was in blistering form in Mumbai - just as I predicted and hoped!
©REUTERS / Action Images

Who will win the ICC World T20?

Very good question! Personally my heart is with the West Indies - they have some good players with lots of Twenty20 experience, especially in that part of the world.

If the likes of Gayle, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels have a good tournament them they are going to very hard to beat but I think they are just missing a bit of mystery with no Sunil Narine.

It's going to be a good World Cup, very close to call and anyone could win it but I'm going to go for India or West Indies.

© Cricket World 2016