Pitchvision Academy


This week we look at how to deal with a low scoring match. Just because you are below-par doesn't mean you are resigned to defeat!

Plus Garas manages expectations, we talk stats to improve your bowling, and remind you why coaches tell you not to try and hit it too hard.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

How to Win Low Scoring Cricket Matches

You have been bowled out for a frankly humiliating score.

All the opposition need to do is knock off the runs, doff their caps and shake hands while holding back a snigger.

In the changeover of innings the team atmosphere says it all. Everyone is wondering how to get out of the mess.

But it is possible.

Bowl them out
All you need to do is take 10 wickets.

Unlike some situations, winning a low scoring game will always go down to whether you can bowl them out. If you can't the runs are so easy to get you have no backup plan; no chance of a draw. If you can, you are going to win no matter how low a score you got.

Attack as a form of defence

Because you have to take wickets to win there is no point in setting your field back. They will just knock off the runs.

You might as well attack.

There's no law against having slips.

How much you attack will depend on the exact situation.

If you think your bowling is good enough to win in the conditions then get the star bowlers on as early as possible and set attacking fields with plenty of close catchers. If your judgement is correct wickets will tumble.

If you think the opposition have the batting to win easily you need to be a little cannier.

Logically you would assume the best tactic is to "squeeze" with limited over fields and get the team behind the rate. But playing this way forces the batting side to think they need a certain number of runs an over and actively look for quick singles to keep the score ticking over.

A sneakier way is take the approach of the tortoise from the 'tortoise and the hare' fable.

In that story the hare raced off, went to sleep thinking he had plenty of time while the tortoise plodded quietly to victory.

In your game it's amazing how a warm afternoon, a couple of slips and a gettable total can lull batting teams into thinking they have plenty of time too.

Keep three close catchers until desperation sets in. The rest of the field can be set to cut off the batter's favourite shots and the bowler's aim is to keep the maidens coming (the wickets will look after themselves).

Stay focused on the basics

For these tactics to work the team needs to be disciplined. One bad over can mean curtains for the match.

So everyone in the team needs to take responsibility for:

  • Bowling a tight line and length, giving nothing away and forgetting about the magic ball or spell.
  • Anticipating how a batsman is playing and fielding accordingly.
  • Making sure you field where you are put by the captain and stop others wandering from position.
  • Keeping an eye on the captain the whole game in case he needs to make quick adjustments.
  • Being confident that it is possible to win, even from a dire situation.

In situations like this it only needs one thing to go wrong.

Of course, that mean sometimes there will be nothing you can do. Even if you bowl well and field like demons a pair might do enough to get set and get the runs without much effort.

But as long as you have used every bowler, not given an inch in the field and kept your lines tight you can stand tall afterwards. You won't die wondering.

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Here's A Simple Way to Improve Your Bowling

Every bowler, whether they admit it or not, knows how many wickets they have taken.


It's human nature to want to know how your cricket is doing compared to other. Wickets is the easiest and best way to see how you're doing. There's no shame in knowing.

That said, cricket is also a bit more complex than how many wickets you took. If you want to get better, or you want to get the whole bowling unit better, you should also be on top of a few other things.

We all know about strike rates, averages, and runs per over. These are great to have at your fingertips too. They motivate, they provide a measurement to try and improve. They show who is bowling best. They show where you can improve.

And here is one more essential piece data to help you hone your training and tactics to squeeze out every drop of your talent.

Phase average

Your "phase" average is how well you do at different stages of the game.

A good death bowling performance looks very different from bowling in the first 10 overs of a fifty overs match. Yet, the overall averages lump everything together into one number. The good news is that it is pretty simple to find out this information.

For the team I coach, I look in the scorebook and split bowlers analysis into phases,

  • Opening overs (1-10)
  • Middle overs (11-30)
  • Pre-death (31-40)
  • Death (41-50)

In our scorebook it's just a matter of looking at the bowler number in the over-by-over section. Then I look at the runs and wickets for those overs for each bowler.

With these data I can easily see which bowlers take wickets and restrict runs at different times in the match. I feed back my analysis to the captain to give him a better picture of who is most likely to do well in any given situation.

For example, we have one seam bowler who does poorly opening and bowling at the death, but is very good at breaking partnerships in the middle overs. Deploying him in the last 20 overs will likely lead to more opposition runs, so we use him earlier ahead of other, better, bowlers because we know when he is at his best.

We are also able to use PitchVision to track performance in game scenarios at training to better help him learn how to bowl at different times, turning his strengths into super strengths and giving him tools he can use if he does have to bowl at a later stage of the match.

Sure, it takes someone to do a little work in front of a scorebook and spreadsheet, but if it leads to a better awareness of the right time to bowl and the right things to train for, it's got to be worth the little bit of effort!


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Keep Players Motivated with In Season Reviews

A third of the way through the season is a time to review.


Batsmen are looking at their performance stats, relating their present numbers to their projected ones within their goal setting frameworks and seeing if the opportunities that are being created for them to score runs is sufficient.

This is the “mover and shaker” time of the year as batting orders change and players are promoted; which means that others are dropped and pre-season goals are adjusted.

For players who have had a “gun” start to the season - like one of our lads at school - it’s sensible that they review and then challenge themselves and see if the performance goalposts can shift again.

Player A has already notched up three centuries for the school (which was his goal for our short season) so he has now added one more century to the goal list and wants that to be a big one!

Player A’s total runs goal has been elevated to in order to give him something else to focus on over the coming weeks before we break up at the end of June.

Player A is a bright boy: He’s a goal setter and he understands that motivational goals for the next few weeks and months are important if he is to keep improving through June, July, August and into September.

Can’t buy a run

Conversely, some players may find themselves in a position where their initial season targets may seem a million miles away.

Rather than accepting defeat and giving up, there is no harm in bringing he bar down a little and setting some more realistic runs and centuries goals for the remainder of the season.

Player B has done exactly that. He has scored a ton but has been getting out between 0–17 in other innings.

When we sat down last week and I heard a lot of “limited belief” statements in our conversation.

  • “I should be getting a hundred every week at this level”
  • “If I am serious about being a professional player then I have to completely dominate school cricket”
  • “How can I get so many ducks? Great players don’t get ducks!”

My first question was;

“Is this level of Cricket appropriate for you and your development?”

Player B: Yes, I think it is.

Me: Well in that case, what % of your innings should be 50+?

Player B: 75%?

Coach: That sounds very high from a statistical perspective. Sachin Tendulkar scored 50+ scores in only 32.1% of his ODI innings. Jaques Kallis has the best ever 50+ percentage ever with 32.8%. What do you think now?

Player B: That I set my expectations unrealistically high?

Coach: OK, what about your comment on the number of ducks you have picked up so far?

Player B: I have two now.

Coach: How many last year?

Player B: one last year.

Coach: Right, so that’s 3 ducks from approximately 45 innings, a Duck% of 6.6%. Younis Khan has a ODI Duck% of 8.6% and Steve Waugh has a Test Duck% of nearly 9%. How good are those guys? Would you be happy having their careers or records when you hang your boots up?

Player B: If course. They are legends.

Coach: Cool, so can you start by aiming for their kind of stats rather than completely unrealistic ones!

Player B: Absolutely, should take some pressure off me too. Shall I adjust my season goal targets too?

Only time will tell if Player B has a more successful time of things over the next few months by having more realistic expectations and more appropriate goals.

It’s important to review your initial season goals at two monthly intervals. There is no harm in shifting your numbers to keep you motivated whether it be to turn a good season into a great one or rescue a shocking start into a decent six months.

And if you have the odd limited belief about what you should be doing statistically then have a look at the stats of the worlds best players before you come up with your own hairbrained ones!

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Why Do Cricket Coaches Tell You Not to Hit the Ball Too Hard?

“You tried to hit that one too hard” The coach says from behind the bowling machine. “You lost your shape”.

But wait, isn’t cricket about hitting the ball hard enough to get some runs?

Cricket Show S8 Episode 20: It's A Trap!

David Hinchliffe is with Mark Garaway, Director of Cricket at Millfield School. The pair discuss the best way to bowl bouncers for club and school cricketers, and how to deal with inconsistent form as a batsman. It's a fact and fun filled discussion.

Remember to follow PitchVision Academy for free bonus content.

Listen for the details.


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: 465
Date: 2017-06-02