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A lot of people know a lot about cricket. Many are willing to tell you everything they know. But does their advice work or is it a nice theory?

You never have to consider that question in this newsletter. Everything contained in it – from Twenty20 tactics to batting psychology – are all tested in the field and have been proven to work: some of it at the very highest level (and all of it at club and Academy level).

So you know you can put this advice into practice safe in the knowledge it really works.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Keys to Twenty20 Glory: 4 Tactics that Really Work

In this new series on coaching Twenty20 cricket, I reveal the successful concepts that I have used with numerous teams over the years; from Internationals to club level.

Part three is for captains and coaches as tactical leaders.

1. Build a tactical relationship with the keeper

In T20, captains often find themselves on the boundary or in a position that slows field judgement and decision making.

This is where the keeper becomes the key man.

Captains who build a relationship with their keeper, share their views openly and then trust the keeper to put those plans into action create thinking time; that vital commodity of which I mentioned before.

Paul Collingwood developed this with Craig Kieswetter during the victorious 2010 Twenty20 World Cup.  

This allowed ‘Colly’ to chat with bowlers, plan the next over or reflect on what had just happened in the game. England were always creating time and as a result made better decisions under pressure.

So coach your captain and keeper to work as a leadership team.

2. Turn American - Work on your call plays

Part of Somerset's success in the T20 in 2005 was that we had ‘call plays’ for different strategies or set piece moments.

Fielders used to know when the slower ball was coming and shift their position in the field, know when a bouncer was coming which led to a subtle shift in position of our square of the wicket fielders, when to hold the edge of the circle and when to hunt down the ball and stop that single.

Against Gloucestershire in a must-win final group game, Somerset picked up 3 wickets off of slower deliveries because the fielders walked to a different deep fielding position as the bowler was running in and took catches 25 yards from conventional field positioning.

Call plays are a huge part of Rugby and American Football; make them part of your tactical armoury too.

3. Know your home ground history

Make the scorer an integral part of your coaching team

Each ground has a statistical history that tells you how to win games of cricket. Most teams have a scorer, but how many Coaches use the scorer as a member of their support staff?

Important questions that can reveal tactical advantages are:

  • What is the average winning score batting 1st?
  • What score guarantees you a win batting first?
  • How many boundaries are scored per 20 overs?
  • What number of boundaries per innings guarantee me a win?
  • What is the scoring ball% that gives me a 80% chance of winning T20 on my ground?
  • Which bowler types are most effective on my ground?

The list is endless, yet the answers should inform your strategy in selection, deployment of bowlers, batting orders and roles within the team.

After all, you do play half your games at home so it's vital that you know how to win there!

You will be amazed at how confidence rises when your home ground is a fortress. The cricket being played increases in quality and the smell of silverware brings the best out of your cricketers!

4. Use short boundaries and wind assisted hitting

How many times do we watch players getting caught out 5 yards in from the longest boundary or holing out into a game force wind?

Too often if you ask me!

It's vital to play the conditions and to use the elements to your best advantage. In the warm up matches to the 2010 T20 World Cup, I watched Ireland lose to New Zealand by 40 runs.

New Zealand won at a canter by maximising the impact of the elements. Kiwi batters hit as many balls as possible downwind and Daniel Vettori asked his bowlers to ensure that Ireland hit as many balls as possible into the howling wind.

It was basic cricket at its basic best yet ensured a comfortable NZ win against a side that are more than capable of an upset.

Similarly, Somerset played all 4 home group matches in the 2005 T20 Cup On the same pitch with a 60 yard boundary on one side and a 110 yard boundary on the other.

The aim was to hit to the 3 shortest sides of the ground when batting, and make the opposition hit to the long boundary as much as possible when bowling.

Our fastest fielders patrolled the long boundaries and we squeezed the opposition into submission. Ian Blackwell - the competitions highest wicket taker that year - bowled all his home overs from one end into the 110 yard boundary.

Somerset qualified for the quarter-finals based on their home performances and ended up winning the trophy later that summer.

These simple tips can turn games: streetwise winning cricket at its best. 

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Confident Batting Starts Long Before you Walk Out to Bat

You’ve scored an unbeaten ton in your last 3 innings.

You’re batting well, you feel good and most importantly, you look good!

You can carry as much form as you like coming into your next game, but unless the opposition study and follow your scorecard closely, they are unlikely to know your recent success.

But, they can sense it.  They know something special is coming out to bat when you walk out. It’s almost an aura.

First impressions count.  You do it yourself to other batsmen.

Think about the “league legend” that everyone knows. We try to judge the mood he is in by his body language.

When he strides out with his bat over his shoulder, almost whistling a happy tune you steel yourself for a lot of leather chasing.

But what if you are not a league legend and you have not come off the back of several big scores. Can you still produce the same aura?


This is why you should begin to bat, before you’ve started your walk out to the middle.

By that I mean be conscious of your actions whilst waiting to bat; you are not invisible to the opposition or your team mates just because you aren’t on the field.

Now, I’m not saying act the big shot, you still have to be comfortable with yourself, but imagine the difference your attitude and manner has on your surrounding team mates and the opposition.

If the opposition see you giving off negativity and doubt they are more than likely to feel confident against you.

In your own style you need to give off a cool, controlled attitude to settle the rest of your team and give the message that the opposition are in for a grind. 

Look to up the tempo by jogging out to the middle playing big shadow shots, sending out a message to the fielding side that they are in the firing line.

Sure, there is an element of “faking it until you make it” but you have to start somewhere. Why wait until you are 120 not out to give it a strut?

Right from the moment you arrive at the ground, be conscious of your visible signs of preparation and the effect they have on others. 

Visible preparation will allow you to embrace the mind-set that you wish to achieve. You actions speak loudly. 

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Cricket Show 142: Reporting from ECB Loughborough Performance Centre

Mark Garaway takes time out from choosing a new head of MCCU Loughborough to give his normal simple yet effective advice and insight.

We don’t just talk about what is happening at the ECB performance centre though. Burner’s and David chat with Garas about 2 day batting camps, fitness for fast bowlers and switching to spin aged 25.

Burners gets on his soap box with a vengeance too (stay tuned right until the end to hear a bonus rant).

Sadly due to technical difficulties we are unable to bring you an interview this week, but there is still plenty for you to enjoy in the half hour. 


How to Get in Touch With the Show

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2 Little-Known Factors That Affect Your League Position

Imagine you scored 220 of your 50 overs and you now have the opposition 185-8 with 5 overs left.

You’ve bought your openers back on to finish the job, and rudely the last few batsmen are defending like their life depended on it.

You can stick with the strike bowlers and hope the batsmen get bored or the bowlers are fast enough to blast them out.

The game will end in a draw and your hopes of a strong league position fade a little more.

Or you can bring on your more occasional spin bowler.

Ask the Readers: Help with Hayden's School Project

Hayden is a year 8 student on New Zealand’s North Island. For his assignment he has been asked to do on a seminar on a career of our choice. He chose a cricket player.

But to make it work he needs some more information. So I thought the community of cricket nuts at PitchVision Academy could help.


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: 181
Date: 2011-12-16