Pitchvision Academy


No matter what level you play, a good bat makes a difference to your ability to score runs. This week we look at how to choose the right one. Perfect timing if you are looking for a Christmas present.

Plus we examine how coaches can coach luck into bowlers and as usual the Cricket Show talks you through your coaching questions from grass-roots to elite levels.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

How to Choose the Perfect Cricket Bat
A great bat doesn’t make a great batsman.

But it’s the only tool the batsman has, so the correct bat will give you the chance to be as good as you can be. Choosing which bat to buy is a crucial decision.

So how do know what’s right for you?

There are bats worth £500 and there are bats worth £80; both made out of the same stuff.

Is it just a matter of buying the best one that you can afford and hoping?

The beauty about bats is that the one suited to you personally isn’t necessarily the most expensive. It’s the one that feel right to you.

Buy from a shop

And feel is all important.

Nothing quite satisfies going through different bats by hand; feeling how the same model bat and weight can feel so different just from the slightest variation in crafting.

Plus, the weight of the bat isn’t always what it seems. A bat can pick up much lighter than what it is weighed on a set of scales. You can’t know that without actually picking it up.

Some pro bats can lose up to 6 ounces in perceived weight in the pick up when compared to their dead weight, just from the way the bat is crafted.

While there are some great places to buy bats online and you could get lucky, it’s just not the same.

That’s why you have to go to a shop.

Know your style

What you can do online before going to choose your weapon is your research.

Understanding what type of batsman you are will help decide on the style of bat you should purchase: the general rule of thumb depends on your preference to front or back foot strokes.

  • Batsmen who prefer front foot have success with bats with lower middles.
  • Batsman who play more back foot prefer high middles.

The height of the middle is also related to the type of pitches.

Players being bought up on pitches that keep low (like India or Sri Lanka) opt for lower middles, where as higher middles tend are successful on harder bouncier wickets like Australia or South Africa.

Look at the bat

Finally, bats nowadays have several features that may, or may not help you. While this is personal preference, it’s good to know the theory:

  • Scoops: One way of improving the pick up is by a concaving the back of the bat. This method sees the spine of the middle keep its height, but ‘scoops’ away either side. This reduces the amount of wood off centre of the middle, but still keeps the original power directly down the centre of the bat.
  • Blade length: Shorter blades tend to pick up lighter than standard blades due to the middle being placed closer to the batsman’s hands. These are not recommended for batsman of roughly 6ft and taller as this can cause problems when in the stance position. 

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How to Coach Luck Into Your Bowlers

Every team has the unlucky bowler who beats the edge to ohhs and ahhs from the slips yet picks up the rare wicket.  The ball just swings too much to find the edge.

Can you turn that bowler from “unlucky fred” into “fantastic fred”?

You can, with one simple adjustment

Outswing bowlers bowl from fairly close to the stumps meaning that the ball starts on the line of middle and off and swings past 4th or 5th stump to the right hander this looks nice but does nothing for the wicket tally.

So get the bowler to start his run slightly wider and bowl from wider on the crease as the ball is angled into the stumps before tailing away at the last minute.

Yep, simply shift position on the crease.
This has 2 benefits:
  • A ball that darts away is more likely to take the edge and bring keeper and slips into play.
  • The ball that doesn’t swing as much thunders into the stumps or pads of the baffled batter.

At Trent Bridge in 2011, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson demonstrated the benefit of this.

Both bowlers beat the bat a number of times early in the innings and then shifted to a more mid-crease positionThe ball swung as much as it would from being delivered from the normal position on the crease, yet it gives the appearance of angling into the stumps, drawing the batsman into the shot and then darting away at the last moment; inducing the edge!

It’s important to remember that this is a positional rather than technical change though.

Maintain the normal alignments in the bowlers approach and delivery stride. Just re-position their starting marker and therefore their eventual position on the crease.  This way the power generated and repeatability of the action is unchanged and uncompromised.

The same ball dynamic gains wicket-taking results.

As Duncan Fletcher would say;

 “Cricket is about geometry and angles young Garaway."

The ball coming into the stumps at pace is more threatening than the ball moving away at pace.

Another "Fletcherism"!

He always went on about it and that’s why the 2005 Ashes winning bowling unit were so good.

Former England swing bowler Hoggard had the best strike rate in the world cricket to lefties like Langer and Hayden. Meanwhile Flintoff and Jones reversed the ball in and out to the right handers bring the stumps into play; the mighty Aussies had no answers.

If "Unlucky Fred" is tactically deployed to bowls balls swinging into left-handers when they first come in then he increases his chances of success.

His strike rate decrease, his wicket tally goes up and the team results improve: now that’s “Coaching to Win!”

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Cricket Show 136: Bowling Machines, Gary Palmer and Off Drives

Batting advice and coaching is high on the agenda this week as we look at when to use a bowling machine, and when to use throwdowns.

You’ll be surprised a little by the answer.

Plus we talk about the double-edged sword of a shot that is the off drive and Gary Palmer finishes off his interview by talking about the ultimate batting coaching session and what makes up talent.


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How to Bat in the Ranji Trophy and IPL

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a first-class batsman?

Who better to ask than someone who has been there, done it and seen it all from playing internationally to smashing boundaries in the IPL?

That man is Aakash Chopra and he is revealing all in the latest coaching course to hit PitchVision Academy.

And right now you can get a free preview of the course.

Choosing a Cricket Bat: Peformance vs. Endurance

As club players we all want gun bats that last for years.

But the way bats are made means that you are going to have to choose between the two.

You see, each piece of willow was once a living thing. Each one has the variety of attributes associated with something found in the wild.

Bat makers will tell you that as each piece of wood is different it is hard to find any correlation between the numbers of grains and how well a bat will perform.


About PitchVision Academy

Welcome to this week's guide to playing and coaching better cricket.

I'm David Hinchliffe and I'm Director of the PitchVision Academy team. With this newsletter you are benefitting directly from over 25 Academy coaches. Our skills include international runs and wickets, first-class coaching, cutting-edge research and real-life playing experience.


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Issue: 175
Date: 2011-11-04