Cover point is where your best inner ring fielder should always be to a seam bowler, right?
At least, by conventional thinking.
But what tells you that is the case?
What’s your evidence behind that statement?
You might say two names: Jonty Rhodes and Paul Collingwood.
These men have raised the profile of the cover point position by being brilliant fielders, diving around, taking breathtaking catches and executing world class run outs.
Yet both fielders were not there because tradition dictated it.
They were there because the bowling attack and the playing surfaces merited it.
Due to pace and bounce, point was the "high traffic" position. The best fielder fields there.
Where is your high traffic position?
Now transfer that thinking into the cricket that you coach; the bowlers in your attack, the lengths that they look to hit, the pace and bounce of the playing surface.
Is point is the high traffic area on your pitch?
If the answer is yes, then I would ask you how do you know?
Now, I wouldn't be doing that to be awkward but to ensure that you had something to back it up.
Finding your high traffic positions
A good exercise is to plot a wagon wheel for each bowler in one of your games.
Your scorer might already do this.
Even if they don’t, it’s not too difficult a demand as long as you turn on the charm!
From that information, you will begin to see if where the high traffic areas are for each bowler.
This will challenge conventional thinking and lead to a change in fielding deployment of players or a change of position in the field: say cover moving squarer for a particular bowler.
Or maybe it won’t. The point is, at least you know for sure rather than relying on tradition.
You will be working from facts that inform your decision-making and improve performance.
An example of analysis in action
At International Level this all happens through Analysts and computers, yet the approach is very basic, someone plotting wagon wheel for each bowler in essence.
Australia established in the 2007 Ashes that the high traffic area for Stuart Clark was mid off and mid on as he was looking to pitch the ball on a full length, induce the drive and with his wobble seam deliveries would bring the slips into play as a result, therefore it was vital to get the best fielders in these positions: Clarke at mid off (left handed) and Symonds at mid on (right handed).
England, especially KP, bellowed balls down the ground with little gain as the fantastic pairing dived, saved and frustrated England into mistakes with their presence.
England started to try to hit the ball squarer.
Edges flew to the keeper and slips.
Watching on I thought that this could work at all levels of cricket.
I applied it into all of the teams that I coached after that with startling results.
Apply it to your teams
Based on the ideas in the article I want you to do the same thing.
Start by leaving a comment: where are the high traffic areas for your main bowlers?
Does it match up?
I’d love to get your feedback here in the comments section.
Think of it as a little project that you can discuss with other coaches right here.