Pitchvision Academy


Your first hundred is a special moment. You never forget raising your bat aloft and taking the applause for your achievement. This week, the PitchVision Academy Cricket Show picks up three figures and it’s an equally proud day.

It’s a great time to listen; there is a link to the show in this newsletter.

This week also includes tips for spinners, how to choose a bat and a simple trick that turned a young cricketer’s season around.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Where Do High Class Spinners Pitch the Ball?

In another guest article, club left arm spinner AB talks us through exactly where to land the ball to cause maximum damage to batsmen’s averages.

We all know the key to top quality spin bowling is to bowl a consistent line and length. But what does that actually mean?

First we need to figure out where is the best length to bowl.

We want a length that is full enough that the batsman is forced to come forward, but not so full that he is able to reach the ball on the half volley without mis-hitting it.

Consider that the average spin bowler delivers the ball at approximately 50mph, and that after bouncing the speed of the ball is reduced by about 50%. This translates to a speed of about 10metres a second. The average reaction time of a human is 0.2s. If we pitch the ball within 2 metres of the batsman, then he will be unable to play back as he would simply not have time to react to any movement off the pitch.

Therefore the maximum distance away from the batsman's stumps that we should land the ball, given that he will move back one foot when playing back, is approximately 11 foot. Anything shorter than 11 foot and the batsman will be able to play comfortably off the back foot.

 How about minimum distance?

A batsman playing on the front foot normally plays the ball about 3 feet in front of his crease. The ideal location to pitch the ball is the one at which the ball has just turned enough to hit or just miss the edge of the bat. On a normal pitch, we will find the ball turning something in the order of 5 degrees, which translates to about 1 inch sideways for each foot after bouncing.

Therefore we need to pitch the ball between 2 and 4 foot in front of the bat (8 to 10 foot from the stumps)in order to take the edge.

On a turning track, a ball pitching only a foot in front of the bat would be sufficient to threaten the edge.

The best length on this pitch would therefore be between 7 and 9 foot from the batsman's stumps. So the spin bowler has an area of about 4 feet, or just over a metre, in which to aim: anything inside this will pose the batsman problems.

Spinner’s line

No matter the pitch, the ball will not always turn a consistent amount. This variability of turn is major positive factor for the spinner. If he can't predict what will happen, how can the batsman be expected to?

A competent batsman will most likely play the percentages and play for a small amount of turn when defending off the front foot, reducing the likelihood of a ball that turns just 1 or 2 inches catching the edge. However, the inadvertent result of this is that now both the big turning delivery and the straight ball are the potential wicket taking deliveries. The spinner must always take advantage of this by ensuring that every time the ball beats the bat, whether the inside edge or outside edge, then there is a decent probability that the batsman will be dismissed.

Batsmen are able to play more assertively when they feel comfortable that they are able to use their pad as a second line of defence without the risk of being dismissed lbw. This is why it’s important for a spin bowler to constantly attack the stumps with either the big spinning delivery, the straight ball, or both.

We therefore want to keep as many deliveries as possible ending up in the danger zone: either on the stumps for a chance of bowled or lbw or within 6 inches of off stump for a likely caught behind chance.

On a spinning pitch, then 10 degrees of turn will translate to a difference of about 15 inches between the straight ball and the big turning delivery. So we need to take this into consideration when planning our line of attack.

 If the ball is turning away from the batsman, the ideal stock line is to pitch the ball on middle and leg, with the straight delivery angled in towards leg stump. Spin the ball hard enough for the spinning delivery to hit or go past the top of off stump.

The batsman will then be forced to play down a middle stump line to defend against the spin, and this will mean that both the straight delivery and the big spinner will have a good chance of dismissing him.

The off spinner should ensure that his big spinning delivery is not wasted by constantly turning down the leg side. This means that he needs to pitch the ball just outside off stump. A sensible batsman will then play down the line of off stump to defend against the spin, leaving both the big spinner and the straight ball as wicket-taking options.


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How to Use Your Hive Mind to Take Wickets

The captain is the all powerful dictator of a cricket team. At first glance it’s his tactical nous that makes a group of individuals into a team and wins matches.

Despite this appearance, good teams operate with a collective consciousness that is greater than even the captain. It’s almost like the Borg. Just like the science-fiction hive mind race, when you are all working together, resistance is futile.

This type of cooperative cricket intelligence requires effective communication.

The information relayed by your wicketkeeper and first slip, to the bowler, captain and rest of the team is crucial.

The more planning, preparation and thought that you put into selecting this combination, the greater success you will have developing key channels of on-field communication.

Both the ‘keeper and the slip should consider it their duty to be the hub of the fielding side. Not in the traditional ‘throw every ball back to the wicketkeeper’ mantra of modern cricket teams. This hub is all about information: It flows through them to everyone else.

Encourage your keeper and first slip to focus on:

Once you select this partnership, give it time to flourish and be a success. Don’t rush into changing on the back of one or two dropped catches, fielding errors or difference of opinion. Honest, clear and confident communication channels will contribute to your team’s hive mind and make you a formidable unit in the field.

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Cricket Show 100: A Century is Up

PitchVision Academy Cricket Show

In a specially extended show we bring up a century in true PitchVision style.

Burners and David share their stories of net failures and there are interviews with Cris Peploe of Ealing CC and Leigh Lowry On the show we talk about:

  • The importance of fielding
  • Split innings one day cricket
  • How to go from 50 to 100
  • How to prevent back pain as a fast bowler


Remember you contribution is all important on all open topics. And we really do need your feedback to make the show work.

How to Get in Touch With the Show

Our contact email can be found here.

Use our twitter or facebook accounts.

Or you can call and leave a message (it’s an answer phone, not manned but we check it every day). If it’s a good story or question we will call you back for a chat.

  • UK  +44 (0) 208 816 7691
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  • USA: +1 347 722 1981

How to Listen to the Show

You can download the show onto your computer by right clicking on the link below and choosing "Save Target as..."

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How to Choose a Bat You Are Proud Enough to Sleep With

The cricket bat is more than a lump of willow with a rubber handle. It is your only weapon in the quest for the runs you need to succeed.

No wonder so many batsmen love their blade so much they can’t even be parted with it at bedtime. It‘s like losing a beloved family pet when the time comes to replace it. Sometimes it has to be done. Sometimes tape and sandpaper and oil are no longer enough.

How a Simple Trick Helped Me Get My Best Season Ever

This article is a story of fast bowling success from a young reader who emailed in to PitchVision Academy.

I’m a  13 year-old fast bowler. Last season I learned a trick which helped me turn a season around.


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: 137
Date: 2011-02-11