Most people groan at the thought of a game of indoor cricket and regard it as a waste of time; the runt sibling of the traditional game.
Where is the fun in getting up early on cold Sunday mornings to dodge cricket balls bouncing off the walls of a humid leisure centre sports hall?
It’s not even a standard game, with regional rules and differing facilities.
It’s a far cry from warm summer days and the momentum of outdoor cricket. You may as well be a starving dog with a rubber bone.
What could possibly motivate anyone to play?
I play, and not because I am a desperate addict.
My motivation turned from extended pre-season nets to understanding how indoor cricket develops your outdoor game.
Come club pre-season nets you can easily see the difference between the people who have played indoor over the winter and those who have hibernated.
Bowlers arms are turning over nicely and batsman’s feet are moving well. Fielding still looks sharp and their direct hits from short distances are accurate.
But the physical attributes practised at indoor cricket are not only ones that will flourish for the others as they work towards the season: the technical and mental attributes practised are ones that are virtually impossible to practise in an outdoor game.
Indoor cricket rewards the batsman that uses delicate touches and glances of the ball with good communication.
A booming cover drive may only be rewarded with 1 run, but a little front foot nudge on the move to cover and a good single called will be rewarded with 3.
This practise develops the soft hands and ability to place the ball at will and when translated into the outdoor game.
And who doesn’t want extra runs picked up easily through tip-and-run tactics?
Using your crease to work the ball into gaps and corners vastly develops your T20 skills and allows you to gain comfort in breaking your usual stance and technique.
As a bowler you are constantly analysing the batman’s technique and trying to second guess their next move.
The use of slower balls is even more effective and frequent than outside.
Slower balls aren’t affected by the limited run-ups available indoors and can be developed under game circumstances.
So while indoor cricket isn’t cricket as you know it, next time someone asked you to play think of it as a game of innovation and development and you will do better in your outdoor matches.