Tactics | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

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.

Are you ashamed of your occasional bowling?

The Third XI captain (Sundays) of my old club side was called Dave. He was a large man in his forties without pretention. He loved beer, cricket and Brighton and Hove Albion FC.

He called himself a batsman, but his real talent was his 'occasional bowling', which caused chaos.

Better batting is built on bulletproof concentration

I can't seem to get the South African first Test recovery out of my head. Most comments have been negative: That old fashioned defensive cricket does no good in this big hitting, big money world.

But batting out two full days for a draw requires almost superhuman concentration.

What South Africa's epic rearguard defence can teach your club team

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Test cricket doesn't throw up a lot of old fashioned 'bat out for the draw' situations these days, but it's something club cricketers face with regularity.

Your team might only need to last 50 or so overs to rescue a draw, imagine how hard it would be to see off 160. The South African second innings in the first Test against England was an education in how to save the game.

The new facts of club cricket in a Twenty20 world

The IPL is here. Cricket is big money. It's a new world and it’s time we as club cricketers responded to the challenge.

Modern cricket is built on excitement: Power, speed, athleticism and light speed tactical thinking. The whole game is changing thanks to the 20 over format.

Whatever length game you play it's time to consider some new ways of playing.