Pitchvision Academy


More golden advice this week, and a new guest contributor.

We have articles on how to bowl well on a lifeless pitch and when to use the pull shot. We also examine powerlifting as a way of improving your cricket.

Plus for the drill obsessive, we combine a fielding drill with grooving batting technique.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Fielding Drills: Drives

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

Purpose: To practice fielding against drives as well as grooving batting drive technique.

Description: Players are split into teams of 6. The batting team are aiming to score as many runs as possible from a bobble feed from the coach.

The batsmen can be out if they don’t drive the ball past the stumps, are caught or run out with a direct hit.

The batsmen score 1 run by hitting the ball and running to the other end without getting run out. They score 4 if they get the ball pat the last fielder.

Once the batsman is out the next batsman continues until everyone is out and the teams change over.

Variation: Stick to one side of the wicket and work on just on or off drives.


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Grind It Out: How to Bowl Well on a Lifeless Pitch

Dead pitches make for very dull cricket: Unless you learn how to spice things up.

My club is a perfect example. Pitches that have no pace or bounce means batsmen have plenty of time to handle stock line and length bowling.

Slips have little chance of a catch carrying.

Draws are commonplace, as is boredom.

It’s why our bowlers have started working on variations that help on slower pitches when it’s a stalemate:

Wobble it

Swing bowling - especially with the older ball - is a key weapon. Ideally you will have enough control to vary the amount of swing and the way it goes.

The variety in movement means you don’t have to adjust your length at all to keep the batsman in 2 minds.

The ball may not be carrying but you can counter that by having the keeper standing up and placing catchers in front of the bat.  A good field includes:

Vary your pace

Another really simple tactic when you can’t get the ball to move is to hold the ball up a little or push it through a little while sticking to the same line and length as normal.

There is no need to make it a large change, just enough that the batsman can’t get used to the pace the ball is coming through.

For example if you bowl seam up, bowl with the same action but run your fingers down the seam as you release it to cut the ball so it comes out like a spinner. Spinners can do the opposite – holding the ball seam up so it goes with the arm.

With the keeper up, the impression is that it’s a bit faster than it looks when you push it through.

The number one thing to remember is not to change your action. If you look like you are firing it in the batsman gets an early warning and has a better chance of reacting early. And anyway, screwing up your face in a grimace doesn’t look good either.

Never get bored

When the ball doesn’t do much in the air or off the pitch it becomes frustrating as a bowler. Batsmen wait and wait then pounce on the bad ball.

However, you can take heart because although it’s hard to be bowled out on a slow pitch, it’s also hard to score runs.

That means you always have a fall back tactic, even when the ball never deviates with swing, seam or turn.

Bore the batsman out.

Set a squeeze field, bowl one side of the wicket, keep plopping the ball on the spot over and over.

It’s boring but it forces the batsman to do the work and if he has to play uncomfortable shots he is more likely to hit one up in the air or dance down the track and miss one.

In the battle of patience, the bowler usually wins. How many batsmen do you know who can play out a maiden comfortably? Big shots are never far away if you stay accurate.

Oh, and it helps to be lucky too. So keep the 4 leaf clover close to hand. You are in for a hard slog. 

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Cricket Show 121: The Life of a Cricket Club President

The show takes on a Presidential air this week as we hand it over to a full length interview with Ross Brooks.

Ross is the President of Watsonian CC in Edinburgh, our case study club. Like many clubs Watsonian face challenges both on and off the field and Ross is the guy who has to make things run as smoothly as possible.

We get an insight into how he does things this week, as well as find out how Watsonian are doing at the halfway stage in the season. 


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A Good Pull Shot Crushes Bowler's Spirits

This article is part of the “How to Improve Your Batting Shot Selection” series. To see the full list of shots click here.

In 2002 Michael Vaughan was in imperious form and it was a pull shot that set the tone.

How to Use Powerlifting to Become a Better Cricketer

Today’s article is a guest post from personal trainer Brian Wardle.

Cricket requires power: power to hit, power to bowl the ball with pace or with revolutions, power to sprint.

If there is one guy who knows about power its Louis Simmons.

He for decades he has got people powerful with a training methodology called the conjugate system.

It’s allowed his gym to produce powerlifters who regularly break records in the squat, deadlift and bench press.


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: 158
Date: 2011-07-08