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Captaincy is the focus in this newsletter as Mark Garaway talks us through how to plan "something completely different". Plus we examine some emergency measures that are so crazy, they might just work.

The Cricket Show steers towards spin bowling with an epic 4 way discussion on changing a leg spin action, alongside tips on batting against spin. It turns out to be a totally different skill set from playing seamers!

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

The Art of "What If" Captaincy


When things are not going as planned, the great captains often have a proposal to resolve the situation.

Brian Ashton calls this "and now for something completely different" or "what if" planning.

Brian is one of the world's leading Rugby Union coaches, an incredible thinker and I am lucky to count him as a mentor. He has spoken to me about how great leaders find a way to create order out of chaos.

What does he mean by this?

Imagine you are playing a one day game where your plan is to bowl seamers through powerplay 1. However, the opposition score freely at 9 an over.

You think quickly and change to a spinner with a pre-planned field, key people in key positions and this plan practiced - both physically and mentally - in sessions leading into the match.

And this is not just for when you are in the field. One of the teams that I coached last year had a lower order batter who was excellent at batting against spin. We had a rule that when the spinner warmed up then he would get his pads on and go in next wicket down. He had a free rein and the existing batter knew that they would get off strike to maximize the impact of the "floating" batter.

It's important to note here: Any plan that is not pre-planned and communicated can have devastating impact. The batter who is pushed into action might not be prepared; the batter waiting to go in who is usurped in the order becomes demotivated and loses focus.

Quick thinking takes preparation

If you want to develop your own "what if" plans, then run through them in practice and in team meetings.

This enables you to test their effectiveness and communicate widely. In my experience, this gives the plan the best chance of leading to a successful outcome.

BUt remember, it is not just down to the captain to make these plans.

Andrew Strauss, as England skipper, found this personally tricky so he would use Stuart Broad as the author of the teams "what if" planning. Use what you have available!

What are your "what if" plans?

Leave a comment in the box and let us know what scenarios you have put a plan into action. It would be great to hear of your own examples of successful "what if" planning where you or your captain has created order out of chaos.

Brian Ashton's website is here.

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Free Poster Reveals How to Create a Positive Cricket Culture

Creating a positive culture in cricket is tough because it's an idea that needs complete buy in. How do you make it easy for cricketers to understand the key elements?

Simple, you print out this poster and pin it up.

It's totally free for you to use and has been produced in association with Ryan Maron's Cape Town International Cricket Academy. You can find out more about how the Academy can help you gain the cricket experience of a lifetime by clicking here.

Using a simple mnemonic and hand signals, nobody can have the excuse that they didn't know the fundamentals of a positive culture of cricket. It's certain to give you the culture you desire where you play.

Here is that poster (click to enlarge):


Click here to download the pdf version.

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Cricket Show S4 Episode 44: How to Play Spin

The cricket discussion flows again as the team are joined by Roy Davie to form an awesome roundtable.

This time we look at how your memory is not as good as you think, how to fix a bowling action and, of course, playing spin.

It's a topic on which we had to hold Garas back!

Download the show and listen to find out more.




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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.


This is show number 237.

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Don't Panic: The Cricket Captain's Emergency Guide to Desperate Tactics

We have all been there: You stand in the field as everything falls apart around you. Your well laid plan is being laid to waste by rampaging batsmen. You look around the field for a change of bowling and realise you have already tried everyone.

What do you do next?

Is it Time to Stop Being Afraid of Bowling Around the Wicket?

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

The last few decades spin bowlers - especially off-spinners - have been trained to bowl over the wicket. They are very rarely were told to go around the wicket.


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: 280
Date: 2013-11-08