Pitchvision Academy


We take a purist approach this week, with no “support” articles and nothing but technical or tactical advice – real cricket tips if you like.

In the batting world we examine leaving the ball (it’s more important than you first think), a simple formula to batting decision-making and targeting bowlers to hit them out of the attack. Bowling-wise we give the humble medium-pacer a few tips to be as successful as the more exciting fast men.

Have a great weekend, 

David Hinchliffe

The Art of the Target: How to Smash a Bowler Out of the Attack

My cricket club has a big game this Saturday.

We are up against the top of the league; a side with an impressive bowling attack. We are still in the hunt for promotion so a result is crucial.

I hope no one form the opposition reads this because I’m going to give the game away as to how we are going to win...

Our main batting strategy is to target their weaker bowling so we can either put up or chase down a score.

There. I said it.

But I’m not worried because it’s a tactic of which the bowlers have very little control.

And with big bats and long batting line-ups, it works.

Let’s look in more detail at how we plan to do it so you can see if it’s a technique that your team could follow.

Using targeting to score more runs

Targeting is a simple idea; you pick a bowler or two who you are going to go after consciously. You don’t wait for them to bowl a bad ball: you make runs happen.

With a bit of confidence and freedom to your batting you can:

Essentially, you are looking to score quickly against that bowler like you would in a Twenty20 match no matter what stage of the game they bowl.

So, your target bowler may come on as early as the 15th over in a 50 over match. You still look to hit him while playing the percentages.

In other words, you don’t slog. It’s not that easy.

Who to target

Before you start targeting in the middle the whole batting unit has to agree who to go for. This is to make sure that no batsman is left in the cold if he gets it wrong when attacking the target.

So no cavaliers when you are in the middle, this is a precision, pre-planned attack.

So, who do you target?
You have 2 options:
  • See off the better bowlers then go for the second string later in the innings.
  • Pick a star bowler to go after to get him out of the attack. This tends to be a spinner.

In my own team’s case we are going for option 1.

We are picking two solid, steady batsmen to open the innings. They can score relatively slowly in the first 20 overs of our 50 over match, “seeing off” the better bowlers at around 3 an over.

They still put away the bad balls in an orthodox way, but we don’t worry too much if we fall a little behind the rate.

Our usual attacking opener drops down the order to come in when the bowling is friendlier and the field is set further back.

We have our target bowler and depending on the wicket and the score we can look to score safely at 6-8 an over against anyone bowling in the middle overs.

Then we can continue to attack in the last 10 against the better bowlers.

In my mind, targeting is a superb tactic. It frees up a batsman mentally so much because he doesn’t have to worry if he is bogged down against a better player. It also gives stroke-makers an excuse to free their arms even in longer games.

I’ll let you know how we do on Saturday, but don’t be afraid to try targeting yourself, it’s a solid tactic in the right circumstances. 

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What Your Leave Says About Your Batting

We often consider the leave to be the absence of a shot. The bowler bowls; the batsman leaves; nothing happens.

In fact, it’s far more important than nothing because it tells you a great deal about your approach to batting.

When the ball is left, the bowler feels she is not doing her job; to make the batsman play. So she straightens her line and the ball can be worked easily into the leg side.

You have created a risk free way of scoring runs simply by not playing the ball.

Sure, it looks good if you middle a ball on the up through extra cover instead of leaving it. Your teammates all applaud you for your Sehwag-like approach to biffing runs with abandon.

But when the ball swings late, and slip pouches you for 8 when you are supposed to make a big score you don’t look so clever.

In modern parlance, leaving allows you to play the percentages.

You are able to make a big score based on that leave.

Leaving with intent

But leaving is not just about when you leave: it’s just as important to look at how you leave.

Most batsmen leave the ball and look like they are never interested in playing it. They are the ones who look a little silly when the ball pops back with your bat in the air.

The batsman who leaves with intent is looking to play on the front or back foot, only deciding to leave at the last moment.

You look for a boundary from the moment the ball leaves the hand. You want to score quickly. However, the bowler is not giving you the right ball, so you leave it.

You are showing the bowler you are in complete control, even when the ball is misbehaving.

And the leave takes on a whole new symbol in the bowler’s mind: one where you are on top and there is little that can be done about it.

Work on leaving well and with intent and you will see the benefits. 

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Cricket Show 125: Powerlifting, Spin Bowling Success and Burners on Tour

With Burners and the Boss away, the show is packed with interviews instead.

Menno Gazendam talks about how it feels to be a successful spinner and resisting the temptation to become a seam bowler.

PitchVision Academy contributor Brian Wardle talks us through his experiences with powerlifting and playing cricket. You can see more about the training system he uses here and here

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The Secrets of Getting Wickets When You Are Military Medium

Bowling is exciting when there is pace and power around, but the real work in the club game is done by the medium pace bowler.

Here’s a Simple Formula for Batting Success

This is a guest article from club cricketer AB, simplifying the decision making process when you bat.

The batsman sits glumly on the grass, still in his pads even though he is out.

His captain tries to offer some condolences; "it was the right shot to play, you just didn't execute it correctly" or maybe he says "you picked the wrong ball to play that shot".


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: 162
Date: 2011-08-05