Is Playing Indoor Cricket Worthless? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Is Playing Indoor Cricket Worthless?

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. 

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Absolutely agree with this. I play indoor cricket during the winter and it has made my batting so much better. In particular, you get to practice and develop the following skills:

Running between the wickets - key in our league as you get two for each completed run and you need to learn both to judge a run and take reasonable risks as well as get to the other end quickly.

Shot variety - with the end boundary well defended (you have to get the ball past two fielders and the bowler), there's a premium on finding gaps square and behind the wicket, and manoeuvering the ball between fielders. Hard-struck shots often ricochet straight back to a fielder, and are only beneficial if you hit straight. Slogs are generally unrewarded as anything hitting the walls over head height is called dead and anything hitting the roof attracts 10 penalty runs.

Innings pacing - being able to adapt to the target you have to chase; can you afford to see off the best bowlers and take runs from the rest? do you need to attack from the outset? can you balance the level of risk you need to take with the runs you have left? do you need to score quickly or get out if you can't to let someone else try?

Controlling the swing - some indoor balls swing prodigiously, so you need to learn to either use it and direct the ball accordingly or learn to cross-seam it to reduce the amount it moves.

Variations - a good environment to practice your slower ball or your yorker, to try and bowl a little faster or a little slower in a game environment (rather than nets), use the crease or hold the ball differently.

Keeping - practice for standing up to the stumps and taking the ball cleanly, getting into the habit of taking the bails every time, using foot movement to get down leg, and coming out from behing the stumps to grab a ball and thrown down at the bowlers end; also a good spot to help the captain adjust fields and generally get involved with the game.

The only thing I hate about indoor cricket is the ball. Too many places use the rock hard plastic one from Readers instead of the 'softer' indoor leather version. Nothing worse than being smacked on the fingers by it on a cold morning.

I love indoor cricket.

As a spinner it's fantastic. If you give it a rip and bowl from high you can be completely unplayable on a rubber surface with that ball. It's gives you great reward for doing the right things technically as a spinner

I'm not sure it's always so good for batting. The temptation is always to go for the high-value low-risk shots, they're not always the same as outdoor equivalents. You can get into bad habits. As a bowler I just enjoy myself with Dilshan shots and reverse paddles but if you're opening on a Saturday in April it's a different game.

As a side my team is made up of players from a few different Saturday teams, some from Premier League and Championship side and some playing div 6/7. Indoor cricket is a great leveler. Unusual things work and some very average Saturday players turn great indoor players.

Good for fielding, diving around and firing down the stumps on the spin too. It's definitely made me a better fielder.

I'd love to be able to have the chance to play it, but it seems to me that you have to be part of your clubs 'Inner circle' to have a chance to play it! I'm trying to get some blokes together to form my own team and see if I can get us into a local league for winter 2013.

While I'm here - does anyone know where you can buy the balls and are they leather with real seams and a bit lighter than a real cricket ball?

I think that these can be very valuable games, as they prepare you mentally for the season, and in my opinion allow you to pick the gaps. Also in the league my team plays in(U15's), you get 6 for hitting it along the floor, so teaches you to keep the ball down too. Smiling