Pitchvision Academy


We look at the skills and techniques or more big names in this newsletter. McGrath, Dravid and Irfan Pathan all come under the spotlight.

Plus Adam Kelly gives us the inside track on self-talk in the real world.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

How to Play Spin like Rahul Dravid


It's no secret that it's easy to struggle against spinners in the Sub-continent. England's batsmen have failed for decades.

Here is the inside guide to playing spin in slow, low turning conditions so you can coach your players to be a little more like Dravid.


Manage interception points

Sounds posh?

The concept is incredibly simple.

Either make contact with the ball as close to the bounce of the ball as possible or as far away from the bounce of the ball as possible!

This is the key difference between poor players of spin in the sub-continent and the real greats like Jayawardene, Dravid and Younis Khan.

In England and South Africa, batters can get away with leaden feet and making contact with the ball in and around the crease line whilst scoring at a normal rate. In India, if you play aggressively from the crease then your incidence of dismissal goes through the roof.

Statistically, the best player of spin in these conditions was Rahul Dravid.

Rahul was a master at reaching forward and playing both defensively and attackingly as close to the ball bounce as possible. Yet he also had a 'human spring' of a left Leg to push back onto his stumps to hit through the off-side with a back foot drive or clip through the on side with the minimum of fuss.

Hawkeye imagery backs this up.

The side on view of interception points show big numbers of balls being intercepted either very close to the bounce or way back (onto the stumps) from the point of bounce.

When you colour code the attacking shots from the defensive ones you note that Rahul rarely - if at all in some significant innings in India - attacked within small distances from the crease line.

The ball colours indicate a 95%+ defensive shot incidence within this area taken over a significant number of innings.

Contrast this to English players who have a far more balanced approach to attack and defend in the crease line area. They have poorer strike rate, runs per over and balls per dismissal ratios compared to Rahul.

So what does this mean to you as a Coach?

Armed with this information and with Andy Flower's words ringing in my ears, I have simplified the way in which I encourage batters at school level to practice and play against spin, whether it be in nets, against the Merlin Spin Bowling machine or out in the middle.

If I can help players to develop into being able to cope with the challenges of batting on Indian pitches against spin then surely that method is transferable to being successful on English pitches?

Measuring Progress

We video the crease line from sideways on (from outside the net or square leg umpire in middle practice) and we analyse each bucket of balls or set of 12 balls in the net against the "Interception Point" parameters and the player receives an Interception Point %.

Interception Point% formula is:

Number of Close to the Ball Bounce + Number of Far from the Ball Bounce ÷ Total Balls Faced x 100

We keep a note of the player's performance as he goes through his spin specific sessions and from this data we can create graphs that help us to monitor progress.

If you have time then the next formula to be applied is:

Number of Successful Close to the Ball Bounce + Number of Successful Far from the Ball Bounce ÷ Total Balls Faced x 100

You don’t have to do this often - I know that time is an issue - yet think how the follow up discussions with each player could challenge and shape the way that they implement their method against spin.

Now that is Coaching to Win!

Discuss this article with other subscribers

The McGrath Within: How to Bowl with Metronomic Accuracy

This is a guest article from Darren Talbot: professional coach, Managing Director of Darren Talbot Cricket Coaching and founder committee member of the Surrey ECB Coaches Association.

The Australian great Glenn McGrath built an amazing career on consistency.

He had pace and the ability to move the ball but it was his nagging line and length that wore down even a high-class batsman.

Since he retired in 2007, the Twenty20 game means that now even more the ability to hit particular lines and lengths is a necessity not a desire.

Behind the ability to do this lies a solid technique and repeatable action but over and above that there is an extra layer which has much an effect on accuracy as the technical side.

Having a Plan

If you don’t have a plan you are bowling with one-hand tied behind your back already.

Of course you can change your plan if you see the batsman move and can adjust, but generally you should have your game plan for every ball ready to go from the moment you set off.

In the amateur game we don’t always have the opportunity to build up information about the opposition in advance but there is merit in making notes about opposition batsmen after every game in preparation for the following fixture.

Identifying batsman strengths and weaknesses are critical in creating the perfect game plan. If you don’t have information from previous encounters to go on, you need to assess each batsman as quickly as possible in the match situation.

If you’re not an opening bowler you can do this from your fielding position. So not only are you concentrating and assuming every ball will come to you in the field, but you are also building up a mental database of shot selection.

As an opening bowler you need to think on your feet. Set up a demanding line and length early on and see how they cope. Watch how their feet move, how their bat comes down. Speak to the wicketkeeper and slips between overs if you can. See what they’ve noticed. Make sure they’re looking for you! They are an important part of your bowling armoury.


So you have your plan. Your technique is good. You have a strong repeatable action but you can’t hit line and length.

It’s probably pure and simply down to concentration and focus.

What are you looking at when you run it to bowl? The batsman?

The stumps?

Where you want the ball to end up?

You need to focus hard on the spot you want the ball to land.

With practice you can do this quite subconsciously but as you’re learning your trade you may need to be more visual about it.

Focus on the area of the pitch that is your target. Is there a different shade of grass maybe? Or a slight crack? Or a mark on the astroturf? That is your spot. That’s what needs to be in your mind when you run up and bowl.

Hit the spot!

Practicing for Accuracy

I’m afraid the age old adage "Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail" is true. You need to practice. And this may well mean on your own outside of organised training sessions.

Bowling accuracy can be worked on alone.

You don’t need a batsman or keeper you just need a pitch, some balls and a net. If you can persuade someone to collect balls for you all the better but if not you can build some fitness and stamina work into your practice.

Set up a target on your stock delivery line and length. The target can be as large or small as you would like.

An international would be looking to hit a target as small as a coin, so use that as a guide and work backwards. A handkerchief is a good size for an aspiring young player or club cricketer.

Bowl 6 balls and see how many times you hit the target. Award yourself points for accuracy. Maybe 10 for a hit, 9 for a very near miss, etc. Have a break after 6 balls to collect your thoughts (and maybe the balls) and start again.

Don’t overwork yourself on this especially if you are a fast bowler.

Factor in how many overs you would typically bowl in a spell in a game and don’t go over that.

Preparation is more than just technical, it is physical too.

Practise hard and prepare well and you too could be as accurate as McGrath.

Learn more about developing a cricket club to make the most of your young cricketers with Darren Talbot's 12 Week Coaching Plans

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Cricket Show 186: Weighted Cricket Balls

Mark Garaway goes into more detail about the latest research into watching the ball and how you can apply it as a coach or player.

And the team discuss weighted balls for bowling faster, left arm wrist spin and cricket badgers.


How to Send in Your Questions

If you want to win a cricket coaching prize, you need to send in your burning questions to the show. If your question is the best one we give you a free online cricket coaching course!

Send in your questions via:

Or you can call and leave your question on the Academy voice mail:

UK +44 (0) 208 816 7691

AUST: +61 (02) 8005 7925

USA: +1 347 722 1981

How to Listen to the Show

Just click the "play" button at the top of the article.

Or, the show comes out every Friday and you can listen to it on your computer, mp3 player, smart phone, iPad or other tablet every week automatically.

Download in iTunes

Click here to subscribe to the weekly show in iTunes


RSS Feed

If you don't use iTunes, you can get the show from the RSS feed. Click here


You can also download this show onto your computer by clicking the play button at the top of the article, or clicking on the mp3 to download.


Discuss this article with other subscribers

Talk Yourself into Runs and Wickets

This is a guest article from coach and PhD candidate Adam Kelly

We all talk to ourselves.

Being aware allows you to control your self-talk; once we control our self-talk it has a positive effect on performance.

I have researched self-talk as a cricket skill during my dissertation, where I analysed the self-talk of international and county fast bowlers.

The results show the power of talking to yourself in cricket.

Self-talk enhances:

Irfan Pathan's Top Tips for Cricket Mastery in Record Time

One of the myths that surround talent is that of the "natural"; the player who is brilliant from the moment they pick up a bat or ball.

For example, Irfan Pathan. The Indian seamer made his International debut as a 19 year old as a natural batsman and bowler.

In fact - like every natural player - he spent an extraordinary amount of time learning his craft.


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.



Want Coaching?

Send to a Friend

Do you have a friend or team mate who would be interested in this newsletter? Just hit "forward" in your email program and send it on.

If you received this email from a friend and would like to get subsequent issues, you can subscribe here.


PitchVision Academy

irresistable force vs. immovable object

Thank you for subscribing to PitchVision Academy.
Read more at www.pitchvision.com


To unsubscribe eMail us with the subject "UNSUBSCRIBE (your email)"
Issue: 227
Date: 2012-11-02