Pitchvision Academy
Animated Fielding Drills Get Fit For Cricket

Cricket is rarely a cut and dried game.

For example, the traditional view of boundary fielders is that they are a defensive move. The purists say that to bowl sides out you need close catchers not boundary runners.

But tradition isn’t always right because boundary fielders are a good way to get wickets sometimes too. You just need to know how, when and where to use them, something we look into in detail this week.

Plus Menno Gazendam gives us more tips on spin bowling, we find out how Don Draper’s manliness can make you a better cricketer and we learn Gary Palmer’s secrets of batting against sneaky left arm in swing bowlers (should be illegal if you ask me!).

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Tactics you should be using: Attacking from the boundary

During a match in the 2005 Ashes, the 5th wicket had just fallen and Adam Gilchrist strolled to the crease. The game was in the balance at 208-5. Orthodoxy dictated a couple of slips and a fine leg the only boundary runner.

But Vaughan directed a fielder to deep point.

Critics were up in arms. They accused the skipper of setting a field for bad bowling; a mistake a schoolboy captain would think twice about.

In fact, it was a stroke of brilliance that you can apply to your matches too.

Vaughan had seen Gilchrist play many times before. He knew that the Australian keeper liked to deal in boundaries, especially early in his innings.

By setting a man on the rope he was cutting off the oxygen of confidence that a boundary brings. Suddenly a magnificent four was a strolled single. Gilchrist was strangled.

Now think about the games you play in. Imagine a player with a reputation for big hitting has walked to the crease. He’s looking to dominate you from the beginning with a big shot, and you know what it might be from previous experience.

Wouldn’t it make perfect sense to cut that shot off before he has time to play it?

His eye won’t be in and straight away he has to find a new way to get that coveted boundary. He has to use shots he is weaker in an is more likely to make a mistake.

Attacking boundary fields

So what might a field look like?

Let’s pick a couple of examples. Let’s assume the game situation is one where you need to take wickets but can’t attack all out. The bowler is a medium pace swing bowler and the batsman is right handed.

The cover driver

Many club and school batsmen are looking to cover drive to get the big booming boundary. They tend to lean their head over to the off side and are looking for that wide half volley to put away.

Knowing this allows you to do three specific things:

  • Place your boundary fielder at deep extra cover to save the four.
  • Place a close catcher at short extra as a ‘shot stopper’ like a soccer goalkeeper (he also prevents the tip-and-run tactic).
  • Have a fielder square on the leg side to cut off the leg side shot played around the front pad and another at fine leg to save the boundary for the same reason.

The four positions effectively cut off both boundaries and easy singles.  So the field would look something like this:

The slogger

The ‘village blacksmith’ type needs a different approach, but the theory is the same; to cut off his big shot:

  • Place your boundary runner on the leg side boundary at deep midwicket/cow corner.
  • Move fine leg squarer to deep backward square leg.
  • Place gully a little deeper and point a little more backwards. If this batter mistimes a swipe the ball can fly off the top edge into that area.  

As the big shot target area is somewhere between square leg and midwicket, you have turned his four into a one or two. Make sure the cow corner fielder has good hands as the batsman is likely to try and clear the rope.

On the surface these moves may seem defensive, trying to protect the bowler’s figures. Really it’s about frustrating an effective batsman before he can get settled. Setting a ‘bad’ field is a brilliantly disguised way of doing it.

image credit: qmechanic


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Adrian Shaw reveals the secrets of 20 years of first-class experience

Former first-class cricketer Adrian Shaw is passing on the benefits of his experience to PitchVision Academy members.

Shaw is the latest coach to join the PitchVision Academy panel of cricketing experts with a brand new online coaching course called "The Game Plan: How to Build a Winning Cricket Team".

And there is nobody better qualified to help you develop your team into a well drilled unit. Shaw has played, captained and coached for over 20 years. He has played in teams with enormous success (including the County Championship with Glamorgan) and learned exactly what works and what doesn't.

With the benefit of this knowledge he has produced an online coaching course that covers the proven methods to:

  • Develop teamwork
  • Get more runs
  • Have better bowling plans
  • Improve fielding standard

As Director of Cricket at the recreational club Neath CC, Shaw has adapted his first-class methods to the unique challenges of the non-professional game too.

So no matter if your team is the most social pub side or a serious club team looking to get closer to the first class game, The Game Plan is the course to learn Shaw's methods.

To purchase The Game Plan: How to Build a Winning Cricket Team click here.

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The Don Draper guide to manly cricket

Don Draper, the brooding lead character in the award-winning TV show Mad Men, is quite the chap to look up to: Handsome, intelligent, masculine.

But what’s that got to do with being a cricketer?

He may be a fictional character from a bygone era, but he has more to do with bowling, batting and fielding than you might think.

Here are two things you can learn about being an exceptional player from everyone’s favourite womanising advertising genius:

Keep a poker face

From the sharp suits to polished presentations that control a room of clients and co-workers, Draper is in total command of his image.

Underneath the suave exterior there is damage and internal conflict. But like a good poker player, Draper knows how to keep a bad hand hidden so he can win.

And it’s the same for cricket. When you are playing under pressure a fog of confusion is never far away. Should you bowl that slower ball? Where is the next boundary coming from to keep up with the rate?

Draper would take it all in his stride and do his job, and you can too.

Learn how to clear your mind of confusion as a bowler or a batsman. Make the game about the next ball only and what you want to happen.

Know that inspiration comes from perspiration

In an early episode, Draper reveals how he comes up with some of the flashes of brilliance that characterise his advertising campaigns; "Just think about it deeply, then forget it...then an idea will jump up in your face."

As a cricketer, the training ground and nets is where you do your thinking. It’s where you work out a method that is best for you. That way, when you are on the pitch the hard ‘thinking’ is already done. You can think about something else and let the magic happen too.

Draper’s kind of man might be long gone in the modern world, but we can still look at his attitudes and pick out what works. He knew confidence and hard work breeds brilliance in advertising and we know it can do exactly the same for cricket.

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Spin bowling tips: How to bowl off-spin with small hands

How to bat against left arm bowling

This is part 2 of a 2 part series by Gary Palmer on batting against left arm swing bowling. To go to part 1 click here.

If you can’t play the on drive well you will struggle against left arm over bowlers so go away and work on that shot from the left arm over angle of feed.

In particular, technical points to look for are:

1. Open stance


About PitchVision Academy

Welcome to this week's guide to playing and coaching better cricket.

I'm David Hinchliffe and I'm Director of the PitchVision Academy team. With this newsletter you are benefitting directly from over 25 Academy coaches. Our skills include international runs and wickets, first-class coaching, cutting-edge research and real-life playing experience.


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Issue: 117
Date: 2010-09-24