Pitchvision Academy


This week covers more cricket coaching topics. There is an article showing you the power of review and analysis, a way to play the shot Mark Garaway hates, and a way for spinners to get more spin.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Case Study: Easy Analysis in Club and School Cricket

This is a guest article from Waqas Zafar: video analyst, cricket enthusiast and computer scienctist based in Lahore. Read more of his work by clicking here.

Here's an example of some of the help an analyst can give to cricketers when they have access to the right information.


I’ve been provided with almost 16,000 deliveries from a club cricket team from the PitchVision software. I have decided to compare one bowler to one batsman, and see how they do against each other, and offer some advice based on my findings.

First, short balls. A total of four deliveries were banged in short and one run was scored. Here is the pitch map and view of the stumps.

PitchVision shows that the average bounce is 0.87 meaning the bounce is true to cut or pull. This batsman should look to attack more often than not when the bowler digs it in short

Next, good length balls. The bowler hit that good length 23 times and conceded two runs. Again the intent from the bowler would be to hit this length and keep it on around off-stump. If he is looking for some movement, then a touch fuller is a decent option but for that you need slip fielders in place.

Or if he is looking for an lbw or clean bowled, he should look to hit the stumps.

The above picture shows the balls that have been in the good length. Most of them are wide of off-stump. Only two deliveries are hitting the stumps, one being defended and the green one being tucked away for a single. Getting to the basics of batsmanship, rotation of strike is very critical in any form of the game.

There hasn’t been a lot of deviation to threaten Lucas from this length. Eight deliveries have deviated with two of them going down the leg side. One of the deliveries pitched 5.8m from the stumps and nipped back to finish on the fourth stump. Here is a closer look at all the balls that deviated from the good length

This hasn’t put this batsman in a spot of bother.

Now, fuller balls. A total of 25 deliveries have been in this region and 11 runs have been scored.

The balls that were put away for boundaries pitched on 4.8m and 4.2m from the stumps and both pitched on around 7th stump. A lot of room was provided to the batsman and he rightly cashed in on the opportunity to score runs. There hasn’t been deviation from the bowler. Only one delivery deviated around 0.9 degrees but it was the fullest ball pitching 3.2m from the stumps.

Interestingly, on the same line and fuller lengths, three more deliveries landed but they were not attacked. Here is the image to this.

A look at all the balls landing on the full length:

Again, the batsman should look to be a little more aggressive when it is pitched up. It is quite understandable that driving on the rise is a skill but out of the 24 balls, 18 have bounced around 0.52m which is a bit more manageable.

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The Cricket Shot I Hate Most... And How to Play It!

I don't have many 'pet-hates' but remarkably my biggest one concerns a cricket shot that gets warm applause when executed well

I hate this shot with a passion!

What is it? Read on.


Back in 2008, we decided to do some analysis on batsmen around the shots that they played, their shot-specific strike rate, average, frequency, runs per Shot, chance per shot and dismissal rate.

It was a brilliant process which resulted in some good subsequent coaching interventions for our own guys and more targeted planning around opposition batters.

What came out as the worst shot in cricket?

The shot that came out with the lowest SR, lowest Runs per shot (attempted) and worst average across the board was the late cut.

The late cut makes my SUDS rocket!

SUDS is an acronym for Subjective Units of Distress Scale. This scale runs from 0-10 and the late cut fires me up to a peaky 8.5 when one of our players tries another late cut.

And another dot is added to the scorebook!

On occasions, I have toyed with banning the shot all together.

Then I am reminded that I have been lucky enough to work with a few players - only a few mind - who have been excellent players of the shot and had completely different stats for the late cut.

Bell and Trescothick: Late cut legends

Ian Bell is by far the best late cutter I have seen at close quarters. Belly plays the shot very naturally and often took the ball out of the keepers gloves as he let the ball pass him before making contact.

Marcus Trescothick plays the shot with more of a straight bat rather than the horizontal bat of Ian Bell. He also makes contact with the ball very late and relies on having a very soft grip at point of contact to allow the ball to release off of the bat face and down to 3rd man.

This is a shot Marcus plays more against seamers than he does against spin bowlers.

In recent years, there have been two young professionals that I have worked with who both play the shot well and at the right times. So the first lesson here is to encourage people to get good at the shot before playing it in games.

How to practice the late-cut

Both Marcus and Belly are excellent trainers. They bat long and both focus hard on their drills.

A drill that can help a player to develop a late cut is to kneel down on the floor, get a mate to underarm feed the ball up from an appropriate length with the batter concentrating on their upper body, arms and hands to guide the ball past the keeper.

If you do this into a walled corner area (in a courtyard for example) then the ball will roll back to you or the feeder enabling cyclical practice.

Progressions for drill can be:

  1. The same kneeling drill with a bouncing ball thrown into the appropriate length.
  2. Standing in the contact position (reverse chaining) and concentrating on the contact against the moving ball.
  3. Getting someone to bowl as you move from stance into the end position and play the ball away (throwdowns).
  4. Targets can be introduced to add pressure, precision and points scoring.
  5. Finally, practice hard against bowlers to challenge you decision making, as well as execution skills. When you have layered up through these progressions and mastered the shot in nets then you are ready to go in a game.

Another way of practising is to become your team's "nick man" for slip catching practice. If you can run the ball to slips in catching practice at will and then you can run the ball into gaps past the keeper in matches too!

You help your mates get better at catching whilst developing your own game!

Sharpening decision making

We often see the frequency in late cut attempts increase as pressure rises against spin.

Often, this comes when the field that is set does not lend itself to the shot being played at all.

At this point effective decision making has gone out the window. The shot is often a reaction to pressure rather than an educated and well practice option being played appropriately.

Encourage your players to identify when the shot is on from the sidelines. For example, when there is no slip in place and there is only one person behind point on the offside.

Going back to Ian Bell, he was great at getting these shots away for two or more, which then led to the opposition captain moving an on side fielder into the short third man position to bolster the behind square defences on the off side.

Those sideline conversations have a huge impact upon match play decision making.

When 'Belly' moved that fielder you would often see him target the square leg or fine leg position that had just been vacated. That is brilliantly appropriate thinking.

Now how not to do it.

In contrast I see many young players trying to late cut spin when their is either a slip and a backward point in place or even worse, when there are two men behind square on the off side.

Dot ball city!

There were a few examples of this at the brilliant Bunbury Under 15 Regional Cricket Festival this week at the beautiful Radley College. It will be interesting to see if those same players have either learnt to play the late-cut better or smarter when I next see many of them play at the ECB Super 4s Regional Festival in a couple of years.

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Want to Spin the Ball More? Brace Your Leg: Here's Proof

This is a guest article from Max Andrews

How many coaches do you hear saying to "not fall over", "get side on", or "your arm is pulling away"?


Too many I reckon.

Have any coaches taught you how to utilise your legs effectively? I would be willing to bet they haven’t.

But, why listen to me when coaches have been using conventional wisdom for years?

Let's talk science.

A study called, How do our ‘Quicks’ Generate Pace? A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Cricket Australia Pace Pathway revealed that a faster run-up had the potential to generate higher front foot braking forces by maintaining a strong front leg at front foot landing. In other words, bowlers who could transfer more momentum into their front leg and then stabilise and extended the front leg before release achieved greater ball speeds. This movement is also called bracing of the front leg.

Two others studies, one conducted at University of Sydney and the other at Johns Hopkins University confirmed that driving and braking forces in the legs of an athlete converted to greater energy transferred to the ball. The results from the first study said,

“the leg-spin bowlers measured significantly greater vertical and horizontal braking forces. Greater force during this phase of the action potentially allows for a larger transfer of energy to the hand. This may partially explain the larger spin rate of the leg-spin group.”

Findings of the second study supported the discoveries of the previous study,

“the athletes were found to generate shear forces of 0.35 body weight in the direction of the delivery with the rear leg.”

In order to achieve this, the bowler must align their force vector in a linear direction. Succeeding this production of force, it was found,

“the bowler must be able to resist forces of 0.72 body weight with the front leg. Landing vertical forces are gradually built up after foot contact to approximately 1.5 body weight, peaking just before ball release. Wrist velocity was found to correlate highly with increased leg drive.”

To put this in layman's terms, the bowlers who applied more force into the ground had greater potential to bowl and spin the ball faster.

Aligning the direction of force in the back leg towards the target enabled bowlers to produce greater force at front foot contact. In order to maximise this force production, the bowler must stabilise their front leg before extending it, this is why the forces are said to be gradually built up.

If this is executed correctly, the bowler will bowl off a braced front leg and all the force generated from the ground is transferred into the upper body and ultimately into the ball.

In a previous article, of mine, I spoke about hip to shoulder separation. I said that bowlers generate their energy from their legs, and then the energy is transferred to their hips, which rotate first followed by their shoulders. This movement has the potential to create a huge amount of core torque, think of it as pulling on a rubber band. The hips are being pulled in the opposite direction to the shoulders, thus when the shoulders begin to rotate, it is essentially the same as the rubber band being unleashed and all the force is then transferred into the ball.


  • E. Phillips, M. Portus, K. Davids, N. Brown and I. Renshaw, "How do our ‘Quicks’ Generate Pace? A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Cricket Australia Pace Pathway", Conference of Science, Medicine & Coaching in Cricket 2010, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 119, 2010.
  • A. Beach, R. Ferdinands and P. Sinclair, "The kinematic differences between off-spin and leg-spin bowling in cricket", Sports Biomechanics, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 295-313, 2016.
  • B. MacWilliams, T. Choi, M. Perezous, E. Chao and E. McFarland, "Characteristic Ground-Reaction Forces in Baseball Pitching", The American Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 66, 68, 70, 1998.

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Chance to Play: Working with Parents who Don't Want you to be a Cricketer

The nightmare has happened: Despite your boundless passion for cricket, you have been told you have no future in the game.

Most likely it is your parents who have put up the barrier.

Cricket Show S7 Episode 26: Rotate the Strike

Trio of cricket coaches; Sam Lavery, Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe chat cricket from a unique perspective. The first point of order is how to rotate the strike. If you feel you are leaving runs behind, have a listen.

Then there are questions about bracing the front leg while bowling and batting for four hour training sessions. As you can imagine, the team think that might be a lot!


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: 421
Date: 2016-07-22