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Who doesn’t love a good cricket controversy? The progressives against the purists is one such never-ending debate. This week we get right in the middle of it with an article from Darren Talbot.

I’ll let you read the article to find out more but beware, if you are a purist you will want to put your drink down or you might be spitting it all over your screen!

We also look at how a tin can causes so much hatred and look in depth at the tactics of spin bowling.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Why Hating a Tin Can Will Make You a Better Death Bowler

I keep an empty tin can in my cricket bag. I hate it but I keep it in there all the same.

Having that can makes me thrilled and terrified to be a death bowler; to find out why I need to tell you a story.

Two seasons ago I was my team’s reluctant death bowler. Frankly, I was poor. Despite leaking runs we didn’t have a good bowler to take my place. My team were stuck with me. I would stand at the top of my mark in the last few over dreading how my figures would look.

I was letting the team down by giving momentum to our opponents. If you have played cricket at any level you know how horrible a feeling that is.

I wanted to become an asset to my captain, not a disaster. Being a fast bowler, my role in the team was important. My first spell would be good with the new ball. I bowled with decent pace and swing. I took wickets.

Then I would let everyone down by giving away too many runs at the end.

My confidence was completely shaken.

How things turned around

I realised I had to do something. I couldn’t wait for the gods of form to bestow their gift on me. That may never happen.

I decided to watch videos of fast bowlers especially the ones who bowl at the end. I watched Lasith Malinga, Umar Gul, Dale Steyn, James Anderson and many other good bowlers. I noticed what they were doing.

I realised yorkers were a key weapon.

I went alone to practice and with my tin can as a target I would practice yorkers until the sun went down. Every spare moment I had was dedicated to hitting that can.

I started to hate the can.

I started to hate the batsmen who were making me do all this extra practice.

Halfway through my solitary vigil I would spend a few minutes working on my slower ball. It wasn’t a clever ball; I just ran my fingers down the seam to turn an away swinger into an off cutter. I didn’t practice it as much as yorkers but it broke up the painful monotony. I knew all I really had to do was get it straight.

I thought perhaps my plan was too simple. A yorker and a slower ball are hardly world-class.

I still carried on playing but something was happening.

Every week I noticed I was getting better. The boundaries were dropping and the wickets were increasing. I was bowling to a field. I wasn’t giving width.

It wasn’t all perfection but I was feeling better about being a death bowler.

Then it happened.

I had been practicing hard for weeks and results were alright if unspectacular. I came on to bowl at the death with the opposition 6 down. I bowled 3 overs, took 3 wickets and went for just 7 runs, sending the number 11’s stump flying backwards with a pinpoint yorker even Malinga would have liked. It was pure hatred.

We celebrated well that night.

Later, when I got home I pulled that tin can out of my cricket bag and whispered a word of thanks. I still hate it, but I know what it represents.

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

For more tips, techniques and drills to become a better death bowler get Beating the Odds: How to Succeed As a Twenty20 Fast Bowler, the online coaching course from Ian Pont. 

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Are You Inspiring Young Cricketers With the Twenty20 Revolution?

Today’s article is a guest post from Darren Talbot; Professional coach, Managing Director of Darren Talbot Cricket Coaching and founder committee member of the Surrey ECB Coaches Association.

Twenty20 has undoubtedly transformed cricket over the past few years. Its effects can be seen in club cricket too.

A decade ago it would be rare to see batsmen teeing off from the start of their inning and thrashing the ball to all parts of the ground. Back then you would have seen more of an ‘all day game’ approach: Batsmen playing themselves in, pushing the ball into gaps and punishing the bad ball. 

Not anymore! 

Twenty20 cricket has revolutionised the way we play the game at club level.

Yet it continues to amaze me how our junior cricketers don’t relate it to professional Twenty20 cricket matches they see on the television or at their local ground. Boys and girls are playing 20 over cricket from the age of 10 but it’s a different game from the T20 razamatazz.

Why is this? 

You could argue that not everyone can watch cricket on television. A large chunk of the population here in England hardly gets to see televised cricket. Certainly in my experience of coaching in primary schools in affluent Surrey, only around 20% of pupils seem to have access to televised cricket at home. This is disappointing.

For me the real problem is even closer to home that what TV channel the cricket is on.

Branding failure

The problem is that we are not branding these 20 over matches as Twenty20 Cricket. 

Just the name ‘Twenty20’ itself conjures up amazing images for any cricket fan.

Matthew Hayden smashing sixes with his Mongoose.

Zaheer Khan spearing in yorkers at the death of an innings. 

It’s exciting, it’s modern, and it’s putting the stuffy image of cricket to death.

Your keen young cricketers will have seen this.  They may have been to a domestic or International Twenty20 match. It could have fired their imagination and passion to play.

How many of those same youngsters associate that form of the game with their Sunday morning matches of the same length?

Very few.

How to make junior cricket more exciting

So what do we do to link the games together?
What about coloured balls? Why not? 

That’s what they use in the professional game. It’s what they use in senior club Twenty20 tournaments. Why not youth cricket? We’re trying to enthuse young players to play the game and improve and we’re turning up to our matches with a cheap red cricket ball when we could be there with a pink or orange ball. Much more exciting!

And yes I’m going to go there: Coloured clothing!

You purists might be spitting your beverage but this is what limited overs cricket is now. Let’s embrace it. It’s not going to change back. 

How many of our youngsters wear their favourite team’s football shirt proudly throughout the year?

How many now turn up at cricket training with their local teams one day shirt on?

Around here it’s the Surrey Lions. Maybe where you are it’s the Rajasthan Royals or Bushrangers.  It doesn’t really matter; the point is that it inspires pride and makes the game exciting.

Let’s start to move with the times and make cricket come alive for the next generation of club cricketers.

Darren Talbot Cricket Coaching works across the UK in more than 150 clubs and schools. If you want to know more about how to take the pain out of planning and running a colts section then enrol on the Club Colts Training Programme online course now. 

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Cricket Show 109: How to Get More Turn

Burrners and David are getting excited about the start of their seasons, but find time to talk through some of the big issues in cricket.

Burners turns his full wrath on the ICC for preventing our friends in the Irish team from the chance to compete in the 2015 World Cup and we marvel at the hitting power of Shane Watson before answering your coaching questions. The questions were about how to get your turn back as a finger spinner and how to prevent a choking grip on the bat.

Also we feature two interviews.

Gary Palmer gives his tips on coaching batters. Plus we have a chat with Watsonian captain Craig Wright about captaining a team of ambitious amateur players. With the season starting soon, we find out what he is looking for in the preseason and where the team strengths and weaknesses lie.

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How to Plan a Spin Bowling Spell

Good spinners are like chess grandmasters. You probe your opponent for weaknesses and plan ahead while staying focused on the next move.

How to Adapt to the 4 Types of Attacking Batsmen

Sometimes your bowling spell doesn't go to plan and the batsman is the one on the attack.

Now it's time to adapt our plan to take into account how and where the batsman is hitting the ball.

One option is to move a fielder or two around to cut off his favourite shot, and try and force him to play a shot he isn't so comfortable with. This will often lead to his dismissal.


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: 146
Date: 2011-04-15