Anticipation is crucial in the art of wicketkeeping, but it is an often-neglected skill. That said, improving your anticipation as a wicketkeeper may be as easy as closing your eyes.
The principle is simple: As a keeper your eyes and brain work together to judge the flight and bounce of the ball as it is delivered. The quicker you can make this judgement, the faster you can get into position for a clean take.
This is especially difficult when taking the ball down the leg side as the batsman obscures your view. There are many ways to practice these takes, but a simple wicketkeeping drill can train you to pick the flight and bounce as soon as possible:
- The wicketkeeper takes up his/her normal crouch stance.
- A partner stands 7-8m in front of the keeper.
- The partner throws a ball that bounces sufficiently in front of the wicketkeeper so that it can be gloved in a semi upright stance.
- The keeper is required to take the ball with the correct glove work.
- After the ball has bounced the keeper closes his/her eyes just prior to gloving the ball.
Start with medium pace and progress to faster throwing. As the throws get faster you may need to increase the distance between the wicketkeeper and thrower. If the keeper is less confident, use a soft ball. You can also adapt ththings to include a batsman who deliberately leaves the ball.
The great thing about this drill is not only it's simplicity (wicketkeepers have a hard time getting proper practice) but also it's adaptability to any level of cricket.© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008