Concentrate on routine on the morning of a match

Imagine it's the morning of your biggest game of the season. What do you do to focus your mind on the task at hand?

It's all down to routine.

Whether you bat or bowl, we all feel better when we are in control and are able to predict what is going to happen. You can't do that about the game, but you can do it about your preparation right up until the start of the match.

Showing the show ponies up: The art of tail end batting

Batsmen eh?

All they do is stand in the outfield looking pretty then when it comes to the crunch they get out leaving it up to the tail to win or save the close games.

Where is the justice?

There's none. If you bat in the tail you just have to suck it up and consider yourself an all rounder. Even number 11 has a job to do in the batting order: At best it's to swipe a single off the last ball, at worst it's to bat out for the draw in an epic last wicket stand.

How to captain your team in the field: Placing the fielders

This is part three of a series on how to captain in the field. To go to part one click here. To go back to the introduction click here.

Along with bowling changes, field placing is the other obvious part of captaincy in the field.

How to captain your team in the field: Choosing the right bowlers

This is part two of a series on how to captain in the field. To go to part one click here. To go back to the introduction click here.

Variety and spice: How the arm ball can turn you from stock spinner to strike bowler

The arm ball, or floater, is probably the single best weapon an orthodox finger spinner can have. Ray Illingworth says he once took 41 wickets of 135 in a season just with the arm ball.

At first the ball seems counterproductive. Spinners should spin the ball hard, hoping to impart enough revolutions on the ball for it to dip late in its flight and move off the pitch. This is true for the stock delivery and is what you should do at least 80% of the time.

Should club cricket still have declarations?

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A recent article in Wisden looked at the format of club cricket, questioning whether the game should be played in a declaration or limited overs way.

In England at least I feel there is no choice in the matter. One day declaration cricket is more fun, more challenging and leads to better games.

5 Sure-fire ways to play aggressive cricket

Will playing attacking cricket get you better results than playing the percentage game?

You can have both.

Fast bowling, big spinning and hard hitting are fun, but cricket is a subtle game. Even Twenty20 has nuances. The best brand of aggressive cricket you can play is the selective type. Aggression is a mindset, not an on/off switch.

How to adjust your game to wet conditions (part 2: bowling)

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Yesterday we examined how batsmen can adjust to playing in wet weather. Today we talk about bowling in the rain.

As yesterday, the situation is the same: The outfield is wet but playable, the light is poor and there is a risk of showers. This time you are bowling.

How to adjust your game to wet conditions (part 1: batting)

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Being English, I'm used to playing cricket in most conditions. One of the worst is the wet and overcast day.

It's harder work for everyone. Cricket is much more fun when the rain stays away.

But let's say it's been raining before your game. The outfield is wet but playable, the light is poor and there is a risk of showers throughout.

Bowlers - Planning your Spell

Thought I might write down a few thoughts regarding some basic guidelines for bowlers who are starting to think about developing bowling plans.

Firstly, bowlers should always remember: YOU START THE PROCESS! this means, while a batsman may arrive at the crease with a plan, and he may even have some idea about what he is going to try to do to you as you are running in, he must ultimately RESPOND to the delivery you produce. This knowledge should encourage you to select each ball carefully but with confidence.

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