Pitchvision Academy


There is a spin bowling focus to the newsletter this week with articles on R Ashwin's methods and Menno Gazendam's zen-like philosophy.

We also examine the role of the bouncer and a killer pair of exercises to improve your bowling pace.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

The Ashwin School of Modern Off Spin


Say what you like about Ravichandran Ashwin's Test credentials, but as a modern limited over bowler he has few peers.

His IPL economy rate is just over 6. No wonder he has a $800k contract. He has acheived this success at a time where off spin has become the black sheep of the spin family.

What can we learn from the young Chennai spinner to take to our own game?

The modern line

Limited over cricket tend to be played on bat-friendly pitches meaning to be effective you have to bowl at the stumps and set a leg side field.

Ashwin can do this well because of his variations. He can bowl a very effective carrom ball that he calls the Soduku ball from gully cricket. He bowls an arm ball and, of course, an orthodox off break. His high action prevents a doosra but he make up for it by getting more bounce.

That means a batsman will find it very hard to predict the delivery and so can't line him up to hit into the spin.

The key to this method is accuracy. Having variations only works if you can put most balls on a difficult length for the batsman. Ashwin is also excellent at maintaining a good length, forcing the batsman to play higher risk shots.


This may be Ashwin's key line and length, but he also has enough of a cricket brain to adapt to a turning pitch.

He is quite capable of adjusting his line - not his length - to bowl outside off stump, turning in. This is the classic off spin delivery mastered by Swann.

Although he does not have the same rip as Swann because of a less powerful action, this doesn't matter as much on a turning pitch where you can still get the ball through the gate.

Here variations are less about the way the ball turns and more about flight and dip. As Ashwin doesn't get as much dip as a big ripper of the ball, he will always see this line as a secondary option.

Nevertheless, he can bowl well with this line and it gives him a second option which is essentially another "variation".

What does all this mean for you?

It's important to decide what kind of bowling suits you best; the straighter, spin-both-ways method, or the big ripping, dipping and floating method.

Then, like Ashwin, work towards mastering the method that works for you.

It will take a lot of bowling in the nets, ideally away from batsmen who will try to wack every ball no matter how clever your variations. Ashwin did exactly this until he felt confident in his method and he has had grat success that you can emulate rather than copy.

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Cricket Show S4 Episode 3: Walking In

The team talk about wicketkeeper practice at nets and new ways to walk in as a fielder.

Plus, there is plenty of talk about the coldest day you have played cricket and how to keep things simple.

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This is episode 196.


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How Smart Captains and Fast Bowlers Can Stop the "Batsman's Game"

Most changes to ODI Rules are made to increase scoring opportunities for batters and teams to make the game more of a spectacle. The great thing about the latest rule changes is that captains and bowlers have the chance to hit back!

Here are a couple of options around one type of delivery, the short ball.


Make the most of 2 bouncers

The ability to bowl more bouncers gives the fast men the opportunity to test out a batter's technique and mental processes when "chin music" is being played.

It also means that 3rd man, fine leg and deep square become highly viable wicket taking positions. The types of fielders that are chosen for those roles will shift from the norm.

Here is an example of a field that could be deployed outside of Powerplay to compliment a bowler using the 2 bouncers on offer:

Precision preparation = precision performance

Fast men often neglect the quality and variation of their bouncer and its now the time for more specific practice of delivering this length of ball with precision.

Accuracy is important and being able to adjust your aim for batters of different heights is vital.

Setting up cones attached to the back of the net just as you would on the pitch itself for accuracy will become normal coaching practice over the coming months.

Master your changes in bouncer pace

The ability to be able to deliver balls into chin height with variation in pace will also become crucial.

We often mention that forcing the batter to make contact at different points against fuller balls is essential to disrupt their rhythm and this now extends to bouncers as well.

Stuart Broad in particular will be practicing thisover the coming months, looking to disrupt a batter and get him out spooning a ball into his 3 key deep men.

The 3 bouncers to master are:

  1. Fastest Bouncer
  2. 85-90% Bouncer
  3. Slower Ball Bouncer (away from the swing of the bat)


What if you can't bowl a bouncer?


Now, I know not all your seam bowlers can get the ball that high.

On pitches of lower bounce or of bowlers with less height and pace, you can adjust your field, bring it straighter and provide yourself with more wicket taking catchers.

But any bowler who gets the ball chest height with this field is in the game!

It will still work, with subtle adjustment.

Your deep square and deep fine leg move straighter and your square leg goes squarer.

They are now in the game to cover the ground and pick up those mistimed pulls and hooks, even though you’re not Brett Lee!

Now, no-one is going to bowl 60 short balls in a 10 over spell.

Yet having the option to attack/defend with the short ball for up to a third of deliveries in any game provides decent levels of deception.

Add to this, the skill to be able to deliver a variety of bouncers into targeted areas increases the distraction/deception further.

Who says ODI cricket is a batsman's game?

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The Zen of Spin Bowling

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

Sometimes, no matter what you do, things don't seem to go your way.

Exercises to Bowl Faster: Pullover Pair

One of the big issues with gm training for fast bowlers is the transfer from weights to the bowling action.

As Steff Jones says, there is a large river of difference between them unless you bridge the gap.

That's what this quick exercise combination from Steffan does really well, taking a "traditional" strength exercise and pairing it with a fast, powerful movement.

It makes sure you take the gym with you to the playing field.


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: 239
Date: 2013-01-25