Pitchvision Academy


A very happy new year to all our readers.

It’s business as usual here with articles on fielding, wicketkeeping and net practice. Plus the PitchVision Academy Cricket Show is back for a new series. Don’t miss out, get it in iTunes now.

Have a great weekend and a winning 2011,

David Hinchliffe

Fielding Drills: Semi-circle cricket

This drill is part of the PitchVision Academy fielding drills series, for more in this series click here.

Purpose: To develop chase, pick up and throw skills in a realistic game situation where decision making is important. Also develops the batting skill of running between the wickets.

Description: The coach serves the ball (using a throw, a bowling machine or a sidearm) to the batsman who hits it into the off side and looks to score a run. The batsmen use proper calling and decision making to judge if they can run or not.

Fielders must work together to field the ball and decide which end to throw for a run out. If the throw is wild and goes into the leg side the batting team score 5 extra runs.

Each batting pair gets 10-20 balls to score as many runs as possible. The team with the most runs wins.

  • A captain of the fielders can be appointed to set the field.
  • 3 runs can be taken off the score when a batter is run out or caught by a fielder
  • The game can be played with fielders on the leg side (but never both sides)


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5 Sure-fire wicketkeeping techniques that work

So you want to take up wicketkeeping but you are worried your hands will be like Teflon and your feet buried in concrete?

Don’t fear.

Coming soon we will have some exclusive new free content to take you from total beginner to high-class stumper. Get the free newsletter to make sure you don’t miss it.

But until then, follow these simple tips (and work on your chirping) and before you know it you will be on the way to becoming the hub of the fielding unit.

1. Positioning

The ‘keeper stands away or near to wickets depending upon the type of bowler. Law requires you to have all your body behind the stumps; if any part is in front of stumps before the ball reaches the batsman it is called a no-ball.

When keeping to a right hander, your left foot is line of the middle stump. This angle proves helpful as most balls are taken outside off stump.

Keep yourself well balanced and alert. If you are keeping to a fast bowler, judge the position where the elevation of the ball starts to decrease, that would be the ideal place for you to stand.

2. Stance

After you have positioned yourself according to the speed of the bowler, be ready to catch the ball.

Keep your eye on the ball from the moment bowler starts to run in. When bowler starts his run up, go into a comfortable crouching position. As the ball pitches, rise with it (getting up too early leads to missing balls that stay low).

3. Taking the ball

When the ball reaches, catch it with relaxed but strong hands. Have a steady head with your eyes on the ball all the way into the gloves. Your hands should be in line of your body and ideally you should take the ball below your chest.

Your fingers will usually be pointing downwards as most takes will be below chest height. Keep your thumbs comfortably apart to create a wide catching area. The ball should be caught in palm of the gloves not in fingers.

4. Footwork

Be ready to move your body across quickly to catch the ball. Get your head straight in line of the ball, by shuffling your feet quickly sideways but staying facing the bowler.  You won’t be able to get into line every ball, but the intent must be there.

5. Diving

Diving often compensates for poor footwork so make sure you are moving your feet well if you find you dive a lot.

However, diving becomes necessary for the keeper when the ball is hopelessly out of his standing range. A thick edge on the ball would make it go away from you so you have to dive to take the ball.

When you are standing up from the crouch position, you are on your toes, weight evenly distributed, which allow you to execute a dive easily. Try and look to catch the ball with two hands, but one hand expands your diving reach and looks spectacular.


FREE REPORT: How to Take More Stumpings

Discover how to take more stumpings and catches with the free online wicketkeeping coaching course on PitchVision Academy. Click here to get your free report and worksheet on how to get more stumpings.

image credit: pulkitsinha

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Field Setting: Off spin, old ball, turning wicket, limited overs

This article is part of "The complete guide to cricket field settings" series.

In limited over matches there are times when the batsman is on top and an off-spinner is bowling.

It’s unlikely to be at the death, but with modern aggressive batting methods, a spinner can be faced with a death-like onslaught at any time and so will need to go into defence mode.

This field reflects an aggressive batting situation, and although it requires great calmness and control is the strongest field a club or school spinner can have in the circumstances.

Bowling to this field

A well set batsman on the attack can be intimidating, but it’s also a great time for you to take a wicket and peg back the scoring rate. You have to play with intent, even when aiming to keep the scoring rate down (which is your main priority here).

You can choose to bowl over or around the wicket. The line is straight, aim at off stump or even middle and off, turning in to the right hander to hit the stumps.

This means when the batsman attacks he looks to go over mid wicket, or mid on because hitting to the off side is against the spin and riskier.

Aim to get the batsman playing forward as it gives less time to work the ball into gaps. Pitching the ball somewhere around 12-14 metres from the bowlers popping crease should do the job. Use the batsman's footwork reaction as a guide to length.

Bowl quicker and flatter than normal, but make sure accuracy is dead-eye.

Bowling variations

Variety is essential to make sure the batsman can’t get set against you. Use whatever variations you have (although now is not the time to try something new).

  • Flight. The ability to place the ball in the same spot but with different heights on the ball is very deceptive. On slow wickets you can vary the flight of almost every ball, or just throw in the odd flatter/loopy ball if you feel the batsman is in a rhythm.
  • Arm ballThe ball that drifts away from the right hander is an excellent way to deceive the batsman and get a dot ball (or turn a boundary into a single). It's also a wicket taking ball. Pitch it further up and with a middle stump line.
  • Doosra. If you can bowl the one that goes the other way (a rare skill), bowl it at middle stump on a length and hope it catches the edge or the top of off stump.
  • Yorker. The very full ball is not just for the seamers. It's hard to hit a full and straight ball anywhere but down the ground.
  • Position on the crease. Adjusting where you deliver the ball can upset a batsman's timing. Try bowling from bowling crease instead of the popping crease, or going wider on the crease to change the angle.

With all these variations it’s crucial to keep a tight line on the stumps so the batsman cannot free his arms easily without risking getting bowled.

Avoid bowling
  • Short. Spinners don’t have the speed to trouble the batsmen, anything short will give them more time to play.
  • Full toss. The ball can be hit anywhere.
  • Wide outside off stump. With a 6/3 leg side field and nobody on the off side boundary you will be put away for easy runs.
Field variations
  • Less accurate spinners can move deep leg gulley/short fine leg to short third man/deep gulley instead.
  • Cover and can move to the boundary under pressure
  • Mid off can be brought up to squeeze the batsman

Batting against this field

When you have decided to hit out the bowler will look to restrict you with a leg side field and straight bowling.

Play straight, looking to score in an arc between mid off and midwicket, especially if the bowler drops short so you can play back foot drives and pulls with control.

Don’t be afraid to try hitting boundaries on the leg side, especially if you have the power to clear the rope. Fielders are useless when the ball sails high over their head for six. If you need to improvise try hitting over the leg side by clearing the front leg.

Punish anything on the off side with drives and cuts, although you will not get much chance against an accurate bowler. Don't get tempted into going 'inside out' and driving against the spin as this is a risky path that can lead to you missing or mistiming the ball.

The sweep is productive against over the wicket off spin, but it can be risky if the bowler is going around the wicket because the line is straightening onto the stumps.

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How to stretch after bowling
Admit it, you don’t stretch enough.

Stretching is like drinking more water. You know you should do it, but you never seem to get round to it.

But if you do aim to stretch more in future then why not get a head start with a stretching series from the cutting edge by strength coach Eric Cressey?

How to stop wasting net sessions (and what to do instead)

Every year for more than 20 seasons I have gone through the same ritual after Christmas with a variety of club cricket teams.

The kitbag is dragged from the shed, and I find myself in a dusty sports hall trying to reacquaint myself with the faces of my team-mates that I haven’t seen for months.

The bowler’s have a little stretch while the batsmen fight about who is going to go first (or second actually, because no one wants to go first).


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: 131
Date: 2010-12-31