10 things club cricketers can learn from Twenty20
Everyone loves Twenty20: The players, the fans and the county clubs bank managers. The only exception are the traditionalists who see it as a corruption of the great game. There is much to learn from the short game though, even for club cricketers who turn out once a week. Here are 10 of them:
- Shot Selection - As Robert Coft of Glamorgan says: There are no fielders in the air. Hitting the ball over fielders is a legitimate tactic now.
- Spinners - Before Twenty20 the spinner was a minor player. Now the uncanny ability to slow scoring rates and take wickets that the slower bowlers provide has given them a new lease of life.
- Running between the Wickets - There are always more singles than you think. Limited overs cricket showed the way but now we can see there is almost a run to every ball.
- Play Straight - Top Twenty20 batsmen hit the ball through the V more than across the line. Its safer because there are no fielders behind the bowler and the only place to hit very full bowling.
- Take Wickets - The old theory was that there is no benefit to taking wickets, only keeping the run rate down in the hope batsmen will frustrate themselves out. Wickets are one of the best ways to keep the run rate down though. Taking wickets leads to more wins (even batting first).
- Pitch it up - Full bowling gives the batsmen less options and brings swing into the game. Short and good length bowling can potentially be hit anywhere.
- Bowl in Short Spells - short spells work better because it keeps the batsmen guessing and unable to settle. Of course, if someone is taking wickets they can stay on, but otherwise all options should be tried.
- Wicketkeepers - Twenty20 has shown how important a good keeper is. Club games are just the same. A good keeper can stand up to medium pace to crowd batters, be sharp enough to act as keeper and first slip and be the conductor in the field.
- There are No 2nd Chances - One bad over can be the difference between sides of equal strength. There is no time to recover. Club games are not much different, even if there is more time.
- Fitness - If every run counts, every fielder needs to get everything and every run needs to be run hard. To make it work you need to be fitter than ever. Club players may not have the same time for fitness as pros, but the benefits of even a simple training plan are the same at all levels more runs run and less runs conceded.