Herschelle Gibbs downplayed the six sixes he hit during the World Cup. He certainly didn't give any clues as to how to emulate him, but what if you want to?
Judging by the fact that it has happened at the top level less than a handful of times, it's not an easy challenge. Here is how you might be able to pull it off.
Ever heard a conversation at your cricket club go something like this:
Senior Player: That Jim is a good player but he tries too hard.
Club Pro: We will soon get that out of him!
The underlying sentiment seems to be that success is wanted by the club, but you can't be seen to be trying too hard to get it.
There is often little time or motivation for club players to practice fielding. That means doing everything possible to maximise what chance you have.
Good practice can give a club the edge. Based on experience and the advice of South African fielding coach Jonty Rhodes here is how you can do it:
- Keep it short and intense. Never drill for the sake of it. The intensity of your fielding practice should be close to game intensity. Do a few drills as hard as you can then move onto something else when the quality starts to go.
Your club games and the World Cup have plenty in common.
Having pride in your cricket means raising your standards as high as you can whatever level you are at. Here are 6 innovations that you can bring to your level even without the talent and time that the top players have:
- Fielding is vital. All World Cup teams drilled like mad almost every day. The influence of baseball is growing. Teams now practice getting the ball back to the keeper quickly every ball, focus on backing up a shy at the stumps rather than not throwing and double teaming to get throws in from the deep or from one set of stumps to the other. How much quality, intense and realistic practice does your club do?
Get the groundsman to love you and you will improve your game. That's a secret many club players have learned to their benefit over the years.
This is because the groundsman controls and understand the pitch: One of the most important factors in any game. He is proud of what he has achieved and wants someone else to appreciate his efforts too, yet only the best players and captains seek him out.
It's very easy to overcomplicate your bowling and it's even easier to get too simple and just wang it down without any tactics at all. As a keeper I have seen both sorts of bowling get the same result: punishment by the batsmen.
In reality there are only a few things you need to think about on the pitch and as soon as you keep it simple you have a clearer mind and are more likely to get wickets. Here are the 3 elements I always advise bowlers to think about:
One of the biggest signs of a team in trouble is when the batsmen are not talking to each other between overs. If I see a pair do that I know they are out of ideas.
Talking to each other while batting and waiting to bat is vital. It allows you to discuss tactics and motivate each other. There is always something to say, even if it's just to take your mind off the pressure for a few moments.
Club seamers in the UK tend to succeed by using swing and seam movement to get wickets. As a good club swing bowler you need to know what to do when conditions are not in your favour.
- Vary your pace. Swing is very dependent on conditions. Sometimes a change of pace either slower or quicker can be enough to start the ball moving. Experiment with quicker and slower deliveries if your normal pace shows no movement.
Its human nature to focus on the negative side of life and take the positives for granted. Cricket is no different. I know I've often got frustrated with some of my performances even when I did most things right.
An effective strategy I have found as both a coach and cricketer is to keep a performance file for the season.