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I love fresh ways of looking at things, but I understand most people need some proof before trying out new things. It's healthy to be sceptical and open minded.

So, this week the team look at two areas of the game that are often passed-by; the pre-death batting phase and bowler's bounce. I urge you to experiment with these tactics because if they work for you they will give you a superb edge over the opposition. And that's what it's all about!

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Bounce: The Forgotten Part of Fast Bowling

How much bounce a bowler gets is often ignored in cricket, but it is a crucial factor to how you bowl and how you face different types of bowlers.

In this article Waqas Zafar - cricket analyst - looks at one particular club batsman against two bowlers, who have quite a difference between the bounce they extract from the same surface.


As a result, the batter has to face different kind of challenges.

Extracting extra bounce from the same length

Using PitchVision, we can see the key information. Here is the snapshot of the point of release of the two bowlers.


We can see the difference in the heights of the release points. The one with the higher release point (on the left) extracts extra bounce off the pitch.

So, when deliveries land on the same length (6.82m) from the stumps at a minimal pace difference, the bounce difference is 0.41m.

That's a large difference and changes the batsman's approach. In the image on the right, the batsman can come forward and push the ball through the off side but on the left, he can’t prop forward to the ball which is bouncing at around 1.11m. This image illustrates the point.

Now, let's break this down and analyse them length wise and look at some of the scoring options.

Short length

On the left, 14 balls have been bowled (18% of the bowler's deliveries), six of them straying down the leg side. A couple of them are on around top of off and on fourth stump and wider.

On the right, the bowler B hasn’t quite enjoyed the leverage of extra bounce due to height factor.

I don’t feel that he’ll be looking to bowl too short. He’s bowled a total of 33 deliveries out of which only 4 have been short (12%). Here, the batsman has been slightly more proactive because there isn’t a threat of the ball climbing up to him.

Good length

On the left, the batsman’s outcome has been dot balls despite the fact that bowler has gone down the leg side and provided width at number of times too. Dot balls on around top of off and on fourth stump are understandable as there isn’t enough room to free his arms and the bounce is close to 1.00m. The batter can be in a spot of bother if the ball is put at off stump and he lunges forward at this length with the extra bounce.

We can see that no balls are the hitting the stumps.

On the right, the batsman’s outcome has been slightly better. The batter has scored when the bowler strayed on the pads and down the leg side. The batter has also scored off the balls on fourth stump. This is because the batsman likes to score off the front foot and no longer has to worry about the extra bounce. Although he should be careful of the one that keeps a little lower.

Fuller length

On the left, only one delivery is hitting the stumps and that has been picked up for a run. Two of them are going down the leg side and three are well outside off.

On the right, five deliveries are hitting the stumps, so there is a chance of getting cleaned up or trapped right in front of the stumps. The batter has also missed out on a couple of drive balls too.


  • A bowler's height and release point make a difference to the amount of bounce they extract
  • Higher bounce reduces batsmen's scoring options
  • Lower bounce makes bowled and LBW more likely

As a result of these facts, some bowlers may feel they can adjust length depending on their tactics and the batsmen's skills. Better skilled batsmen may be challenged by higher bounce and slightly shorter length. Weaker batsmen may be challenged by fuller lengths and lower bounce. This is an areas where further analysis is needed.

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

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Tactics You Should be Using: Pre Death Batting

What if I told you you can add 50 runs to your first inning score with one tactical change?

It’s possible, because I have seen it happen.


I’m talking about the “pre-death” batting phase. And I’m going to show you how to exploit it in club and school cricket.

What is the pre-death?

We all know about the death: The last 10 or so overs of a limited overs match where you go all out to get a big score. Typically in club cricket this yields 50–80 runs.

The pre-death is the overs before the death. Sometime around over 30 (in a 50 over match), the field spreads, the batting tempo increases and more runs are picked up. This phase usually brings 30–60 runs.

The surprising thing is how much difference this makes to the final score.

Why is pre-death important?

At my own club this season, we have been tracking the rate of scoring to see what influence it has on the final score.

The phase that is most influential on the final score is overs 30–40. The pre-death.


I was.

Let’s look at the facts.

The team averaged 152 in 2016, winning 15 from 19 matches.

The average score in the pre-death was 41 runs. When the team scored more than than 47, the average final total rose to 197.

The more you get in the pre-death, the better you do overall, by almost 50 runs on average.

Pretty nifty!

This is by far the biggest single phase influence. The first 10 was next, bumping averages score to 174. The other middle overs had much less influence on the final score.

So, now we know the importance of the pre-death, how to we exploit its power?

How to have a better pre-death

We all know that batting at the death is about powerful hitting with scant regard for the risks. The result is more runs and more wickets.

But you can’t start throwing the bat at everything in the 30th over.

You will be all out before you get to the death. You only have to see how poorly some professional teams did during List A batting power plays. And that was five overs.

So, the art of pre-death hitting is about controlling the game by increasing the rate while keeping enough wickets in hand to go for broke later. Thriving with intent.

Here are some things you can do,

  • Set a target. When you get to over 30, talk to your partner and work out how many you think will get you ahead in the next few overs. In my teams case, aiming for 50 runs is both possible yet challenging. Just be careful about either restricting yourself or overstretching. Be prepared to revise as you go.
  • Get off strike. One of the most simple ways to score more is turning dots into singles. Most club sides face 65% or more dot balls. So, get up the other end more often. It doesn’t take technical changes, it does take a better awareness. The sweep and roll and drive and single are brilliant controlled ways to score at fives with very little risk taking.
  • Send in a hitter. If a wicket falls at the right time, you can send in a pre-death specialist: A batsman who can play with controlled agression. The ideal player for this is someone capable of scoring a fifty in 20 overs at a good strike rate, yet is happy to wait to be called in at a certain time rather than a fixed number in the order.
  • Pick a target. Not runs this time, but moments to up the rate. You could target a bowler, a ball in the over or even an area to hit into. This is a good way to score, but requires skill in picking the moment correctly. Practice it if you plan on trying this method.

We tend to lump overs 30–40 as part of the “middle overs” before blasting off at the end. However - as we have seen - the reality is that this phase has an unnaturally strong influence on the game. It’s time to take advantage.

Treat the pre-death as a different stage of the match and target ways to score more.

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How to Set a Record-Breaking Total with the Bat

England recently smashed the world record for a first-inning score in ODI cricket. England’s score of 444/3 at Trent Bridge was truly fantastic.

What can we learn from the world record holders and How do you go about amassing such an unbelievable record-breaking totals?


Team batting style

England’s simple plan (and therefore selection) is based around 3 elements:

  1. A top 3 who can dominate the opposition with hard hit conventional cricket shots as well as being able to change it up as their innings progresses (Roy/Hales/Root).
  2. Having a flexible 4-7 batting order who are all different types of player with a left and right handed mix (Morgan/Stokes/Buttler/Ali/Bairstow)
  3. A hard hitting lower order batting line up. All Batters can clear the ropes and have a history of finishing innings strongly. Some of them are proven Domestic short format top order batters in their own right. (Options: Dawson/Rashid/Plunkett/Jordan/Willey)

This simple batting plan gives England significant batting depth.

Batting depth is crucial when it comes to batters making decisions out in the middle.

An example of this is that Roy and Hales can play in the way that they do at the top of the order because they know that 7 to 11 in the order are excellent practitioners in their own right.

The decision when faced with a thought of “shall I take this bowler down?” is now an easy one to take.

They can go for it with conviction because they trust themselves, understand that their team mates will be on side with their decision making and that there are players in the hutch who will jump at the chance to be a lower order hero if you don’t come off.

Batting role clarity

This depth helps batters to have real clarity about their roles. Clarity helps in the following ways:

  • Decision making is much easier when you have a clear role.
  • Your practice plans become very simple. You only have to cover your own bases. That’s a great help when preparation time is limited.
  • Role clarity takes away the worry of “what will the coach or captain think if I take this option and mess it up?”.

Reading the conditions

England had a good idea that Trent Bridge was going to favour brave shot-making before they even got to the ground.

The ground's stats gave them a good indicator that conditions would be good for batting. Do you know your home ground history?

Lastly, the feel of the day is something that influences decision making:

  • The look/feel of the pitch as it was being rolled.
  • How the new balls reacted through the air during the fast bowler bowl-thrus ahead of the game.
  • Outfield speed would have been assessed in warm up also. The Trent Bridge outfield generally runs. It was a dry day.

All of these factors were taken into consideration by the England think tank.

Once the game starts, the role of the top 3 batters is vital when laying down a big total. Communication between each other in the middle and then back into the changing room is valuable.

I encourage the sides I work with to do this so that we have an appreciation of the conditions before the middle order stride into bat.

Batting order flexibility

Do you know how your players react to being promoted in certain situations when your setting a target?

England do!

Jos Buttler is their go-to man at four when a foundation has been set by the top three. Buttler averages 38 in ODI’s and presently 106 when he comes in at four. England know he likes being promoted when the time is right. Do you know your batting position stats?

Eion Morgan slips down to 5 and they unleash England’s “not so secret” weapon into the fray.

At 281/2, it was an easy decision for England to make. But I’m sure that Jos had been promoted to at 4 for a long time before that.

Could this help you reach even higher team scores in the future?

Could these simple tips turn your team into 1st innings batting record breakers?

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Cricket Show S7 Episode 34: Reverse Swing

David Hinchliffe talks with Millfield School Director of Cricket Coaching, Mark Garaway. The discussion ranges from how to bowl reverse swing, through to restructuring to improve standards.

Plus, Garas talks in more detail about the idea of batting by "hitting on the downswing" and how to apply the advice when you are going over the top.

Beat This Practice Paradox to Become a Cricketer

The best way to become a better cricketer is to train in an way that is comfortable, but also challenges you to improve.

Is it possible to achieve both these aims at the same time?


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: 429
Date: 2016-09-16