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It’s a perennial problem for cricket teams at every level. It doesn’t matter if you follow your country or play for you local team, everyone is looking for that demon strike bowler.

Wickets win matches and the pace bowler who can take them is a rare and valuable beast. We have a young talent where I play and he is protected as if he was the last fast bowler on earth. And while talent is a key element, the real secret to creating strike bowlers is outlined in the article below. It’s really just about picking a side.

We also discuss the question of laptop coaching, how to keep your knees healthy and give you another fielding drill.

Have a great weekend, 

David Hinchliffe

How to Become a Strike Bowler

Do you want to become the bowling spearhead of your team?

I can understand the feeling. I had the same one but things weren’t working out for me. Then something happened which made me into the strike bowler and the pace spearhead of my team. Read on, learn from my experiences and help yourself to become a strike bowler too.

A couple of years ago I was a fast bowler with decent (not furious) pace. I used to open the bowling and take wickets swinging the new ball.

The problem was I leaked runs. I took wickets but it was never really satisfying when I couldn’t stop the flow of runs.

On paper I was a strike bowler, but practically I had something lacking.

I got frustrated; as I’m sure you have been in your career. I decided to sort the problem out. It wasn’t difficult; I had deduced that I was attacking too much. I was bowling a lot fuller to invite drives. I did get the edges but leaked runs as well. I changed my strategy.

I no longer wanted to risk swinging the ball by pitching it up so I pulled my length back.

I started bowling defensively. The ball swung less and the batsmen had fewer balls to drive. All of a sudden I was a run stopping miser and not a strike bowler anymore.

Pick a side and have faith

Then I worked something out. I had to pick a side.

I either had to become a run stopping bowler or a strike bowler. The way I bowled, the way my team wanted me to bowl meant I could not be defensive and attacking at the same time.

I talked to the captain who reassured me. He had plenty of miserly bowlers. He wanted someone to take risks and take wickets. I decided to follow my obsession of taking wickets.

Now this is where the lesson comes in. I gave a lot of runs in the beginning but I improved. I started taking wickets regularly and after a while improved my economy rate as well.

The secret was I knew what I had to do. I knew my job in the team.

I no longer was a bowling afterthought. I stopped being just one option in many and started having an important job that nobody else could do.

My form and rhythm returned and I became a better all-round bowler by focusing on a single, crucial role in the team.

The season after my decision was made I was the spearhead of my team.  

If you have the raw traits of a fast bowler and want the same for yourself then learn this lesson well and save yourself the pain.

Today’s article was written by a club fast bowler with many years experience playing in Pakistan.

For more tips on how to use roles to improve your game, get The Game Plan: How to Build a Winning Cricket Team by former first-class player and current club professional Adrian Shaw. 

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Fielding Drills: Double Underarm Race

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

Purpose: Practice the underarm pickup and throw in a pressure situation.


  • The player at position 1 runs out to pickup/return a ball rolled by the player at position 2.
  • Player 1 then continues running to perform another pickup/return fed from the player at position 3.
  • Player 1 then continues to position 3 while player 3 runs to position 2 and player 2 runs to the back of the queue at position 1.
  • Perform the relay twice and rest.

Coaches Notes: This drill can be used for conditioning. Please be aware of the work to rest periods. 

For more drills, tips and tactics get the PitchVision Academy email newsletter delivered to your inbox every week.

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Cricket Show 108: How to Bosh It

More cricket coaching fun this week as we take a detailed look at batting.

Gary Palmer talks to us about a simple way for batsmen to self-analyse their technique. We answer questions from listeners on how to hit a ball 100 metres and how to adapt to opening the batting in Twenty20 games.

Plus we catch up with our adopted club; Watsonian CC.

This week we talk about challenges of running a large youth section with volunteer coaches. We discuss how to keep youngsters interested in cricket and how to stop the older ones dropping out when the time comes to move to adult games.

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.

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How to Listen to the Show

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Is Laptop Coaching Taking the Drama Out of Cricket?

A new phrase is creeping in to cricket: Laptop coaching. And it’s not seen as a good thing.

It’s all pervasive in professional cricket: Analysts record every ball of matches and coaches pour over the stats looking for trends. Innings and bowling spells are recorded and catalogued for later analysis. Critics say the approach is responsible for creating robotic cricketers with no life skills beyond the ability to ‘hit the right areas’.

Are Your Knees Killing Your Cricket?

Cricket hurts.

I’m not talking about a fast bowler putting one into your ribs, or even turning an ankle over. That can happen at any age.

I’m talking about the chronic build up of aches and pains of a career. The ones where you get up in the morning and think:

“Man, I hurt so bad, surely no game is worth this much pain”.

If you are cricket tragic you put up with it.


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: 145
Date: 2011-04-08