Pitchvision Academy


We love spin bowling, so this week there is a strong spin focus to encourage all the tweakers from Harbajan to beginners.

Plus Mark Garway gives us his advice for coaches wanting to improve T20 batting performances. It's a brilliant tribute to the World Twenty20.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

3 Twenty20 Tactics You Should be Coaching


With the World Twenty20 in full swing, I look at some new tactics that will be used in the tournament, and how you can copy them in your games.

1. Spinners in the powerplay

The difference in short format cricket now is the specific use of spin.

The IPL is the perfect example of spin being used as an economical and wicket-taking tactic.

In sub-continent style conditions there is significant evidence that the ball spinning away from the swing of the bat is more effective in the powerplay than the ball spinning into the bat.

So, smart bowling sides target the more dangerous opening batter and use spin that goes away. Just think of the key tussles in the 2012 World Twenty20:

  • Swann v Gayle
  • Yuvraj v Kieswetter
  • Narine v Warner

Other bowlers with this role are Pakistani pair Ajmal and Hafeez, Ireland’s youthful pairing of Dockrell and Stirling and the Bangladesh left-arm spinners Ahakib Al Hasan and Abdur Razzak.

It's mouth watering stuff, and food for thought for your Twenty20 matches.

2. Wicket taking in middle overs

Don’t be surprised if you see the strike bowlers working in the unfamiliar surroundings of middle 8 overs more frequently.

Taking wickets in the middle overs significantly reduces the number of runs that are scored in the last 6 overs of a game. potential run-rates and end of innings scores are decimated by mid-innings wickets. The likes of Dayle Steyn, Stephen Finn, Kemar Roach, Umar Gul and Morne Morkel are likely to be the key destroyers in this phase of the game.

These guys will use the boundary fielders as wicket taking options with slower balls, bouncers and other deceptive balls mixed in with their stock deliveries to keep the threat of losing wickets large.

the average difference between end total can be as large as 13 runs if you have 6 wickets instead of 4 wickets left going into the last 6 overs.

13 run wins are considered comfortable in T20 cricket. So wickets make a huge difference, the side that deploys their attacking bowlers during the middle 8 overs will come out on top.

3. Spread your killer-yorkers out

Fast bowlers only think about the yorker when the game gets into the last few overs. However, Lasith Malinga - by far the most effective seam bowler in recent IPL editions - deploys his yorker throughout his 24 ball spell.

Well trained and well executed yorkers bring wickets, reduce run rates and crucially, prevent batters from swinging through the rock hard cricket balls.

With this in mind, any side who possess a battery of faster bowlers - all of whom can all deliver killer yorkers throughout their 24 ball spell - will be favourites for any T20 tournment.

Pakistan bowlers like Tanvir, Gul, Arafat and Sami are the perfect example. But don’t forget to see how Malinga does it too!

4. Left-armers ahoy

Left arm seam has played a crucial role in the IPL over the first 5 editions and also helped England to win the World Twenty20 in 2010 with Ryan Sidebottom playing a prominent role. Australia made it to the final in 2010 with Southpaws Dirk Nannes and Mitchell Johnson spearheading their attack.

The angle creates issues for right handed batters meaning left hand strike rates and RpO are much lower than their right arm counterparts.

Bowlers such as Tanvir, Starc, Zaheer Khan and Lonwabo Tsotsobe will play their part.

Think how these tactics apply to your team, your players.

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The Harbajan Method: How to Bowl Off Spin in Twenty20

Harbhajan Singh returned to International stardom with 4-12 against England. He was supposed to be a fill-in bowler but he bamboozled English batters.

How did he do it?

He took two cricket clichés and turned them on their heads, using the mantras of accuracy and variety in 24 balls.

Harbhajan spent his time away from the India squad rebuilding his confidence in county cicket, and it showed. He was out of the spotlight and returned to his successful method.


Accuracy with a twist


The spinner was accurate, as yoyu can see from his pitchmap from the Twenty20 clash with England, but that's not all:

Accuracy is a skill all spinners need to possess because the more balls you put on the spot, the more the batsman has to work to score. He is the one feeling the pressure and having to pick a shot to get out of dot ball hell.

But the trouble with accuracy is that it is also predictable.

A good batsman will eventually find a way to score of he knows exactly what you are doing with the ball. He may come down the wicket and hit you straight, he may take a big risk and slog sweep. If you are lucky his gamble will fail.

But why rely on luck?

Harbhajan's return to form was more to do with how the ball arrived than where it landed.

He landed the ball on the same spot but varied:

  • pace (10kph difference between the fastest and slowest balls)
  • flight and dip

The meant that the batsman could not rely on the ball arriving in the same way every time. They had to be more careful, the pressure built because they had no sure-fire get out shot.

His time bowling to county batsmen has reminded him that a spinner is not just a slow bowler who spears the ball at the stumps.

The skills of spin are three dimensional and if you are not thinking about flight and dip, you are only using a third of your wicket-taking power.

This use of accuracy, flight, dip and turn works in every format, even in Twenty20. As soon as Harbhajan remembered that, he was back to his best.

So learn from India's most passionate spinner, and practice your flight and dip as much as your turn and accuracy.

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Cricket Show 181: Bowling the Carrom Ball

The Boss comes off the bench to replace Burners on the show for another week, but the podcast is still packed with practical cricket coaching advice.

We discuss the resurgence of Harbhajan Singh, bowling with personality bowling the carrom ball and how to dive in the field.

Finally, coach and player Nikhil Sharma joins us for the soapbox with a lesson he learned from a bad umpiring decision.

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If You Want to Be A 'Mystery' Spinner You Have to Be From India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka

Menno Gazendam is author of Spin Bowling Project. Get your free 8 week spin bowling course here. 

Spinners that fit into the "successful and unorthodox" or mystery spinner category are from countries who do not have much formalised coaching for juniors; India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Players like Murali are left to themselves in their junior years, untouched by sustained structured coaching, to develop their skills in combination with their weird action.

That's why England or Australia will never produce a Mendis.

4 Twenty20 Batting Tactics from the World T20 That You Can Coach

Never has a format of cricket provided more opportunity for tactical debate than Twenty20.

I love tactical thinking and these are a few batting tactics that play a part in this T20 World Cup.


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: 222
Date: 2012-09-28