This article is part of "The complete guide to cricket field settings" series.
This is a field with a single purpose but can be used by medium paced bowlers from the faster to the slower end. The purpose is to 'squeeze' a batsman who is looking to score runs by stopping the singles. It does away with attacking fielders to prevent the runs so is ideal in limited overs cricket.
It can be used early on in the game or in the middle overs, but the later stages need to be even more defensive.
It can also be used in longer format games to frustrate batsman who are taking easy singles but not hitting many boundaries.
Bowling to this field
With a slow pitch, a slow outfield, some movement and pitched up bowling (around 12-15m from the bowlers popping crease) this field can be frustratingly hard to pierce. The conditions do the work for you.
Wickets come from batsmen trying to create runs under pressure of the clock, so bowl a consistent off stump line and aim to bowl maidens.
For bowlers this is a field with a specific tactic. That means there is no scope for variations. You want to predictably put the ball in the same spot every time rather than mix things up.
If the batsman is overcoming the tactic by scoring runs easily then go for a different field with scope for variety.
Batsmen can throw the bat at bad balls knowing there are no attacking fielders so avoid:
- Short of a length/long hop. Anything too short (around 11m or closer to the bowler's popping crease) will sit up on a slow wicket and can be cut or pulled easily by most batsmen. The better the back foot player, the closer they can cut and pull giving less room you have for error.
- Half volley length. Most drivable balls (over 14m from the bowler's popping crease) have good outfield protection but there is little boundary cover square on the off side so penetrating the infield leads to runs. Even wide half volleys are safe to hit as edges wide of the keeper are unprotected.
Most of these variations work better at the faster end of medium paced bowling.
- If you bowl away swing/seam you can move square leg to strengthen the off side.
- Fine leg and third man can move up to save the single. Third man can even move to a deep gulley position for the slashed drive or mishit cut.
- Mid on and mid off can be pushed back into the deep with extra cover and mid wicket level with the bowlers stumps to save the driven single.
- Cover can be set deep. Point can also be moved back, but not both at the same time.
- Square leg can move to the boundary, especially if the ball is moving in to the batsman.
- If third man and cover are saving one, point may be better used at third man, short fine leg or deep midwicket/cow corner.
- The wicketkeeper can stand up to add even more pressure.
Batting against this field
As soon as you see this field in place you know what the tactic will be. If you are lucky the bowler will not find the right line and length and you can pierce the infield with good timing for easy runs.
If the bowler is on top of you, it is very hard to score and you will quickly get frustrated unless you find a way out. The easiest 'get out' shots are over the top of the field: Straight and midwicket areas.
You can also pick up singles down to fine leg and third man with late cuts and flicks off the leg.
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