Pitchvision Academy


The classic mantra in one day cricket is "bowl dots". Does it work? This week we find out.

Plus there are articles on batting tactics, deciding whether to train or play and tips on playing spin.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Does the "Bowl Dots" Cricket Tactic Really Work?

Our captain, the canny character, has a saying. "Just bowl dots". Does this tactic really work?


It's based on the theory of building pressure in one day cricket: The longer you can go squeezing a team, the more likely they are to try something unusual and get out. I've heard it for years and seen it work at every level of the game from villiage to professional cricket.

But I wanted to test it out more scientifically.

So, this season I have come up with a new metric for the team I coach: I call it Pressure Rate (PR)

Pressure rate

The PR is based on the general idea I first heard from Micheal Vaughan's TV commentary: You bowl two maidens and something always happens.

It's a great sound bite. Is it true?

So, I asked myself, how many dots do we need to bowl before "something" happens?

We analyse every game, so we can be very clear about the "something". In this case, it means a wicket falling, a catch dropped or a stumping missed. In other words, a chance taken or missed.

(NB: If you don't keep a note of missed chances, you can still do this, just use the scorebook to count the dots and count the "something" as a wicket falling. It's not quite as accurate but it gives you a good enough figure to show the team.)

Instead of Strike Rate - worked out by number of balls it takes to get a wicket - we end up with Pressure Rate (PR). That is to say, the number of dot balls it takes to create a chance for a wicket.

For example, in 50 over limited over cricket in 2017 so far my team has played eight games, bowled 1417 balls (71% of them dots) and taken 59 wickets (excluding run outs).

The average number of dots it takes to create a chance is 12.39.

Pretty much bang on Vaughany.

I knew he was brilliant.

Measure pressure

Of course, numbers and spreadsheets are not much use unless you can put them into practical action.

So what does it mean to players in the heat of battle?

First, it means that our team now know we are, on average, only 12 dots from a chance. And as we bowl about 4 dots an over, that's two or three overs just by "sitting in" and doing the basics well.

Second, it also gives players a reason to try and bowl dots.

You always get the cricketer who is against dot ball bowling because he wants to strike. They don't mind buying some wickets because they get so many. But if your team's limited over plan is to bowl dots and let the wickets look after themselves, you can show any dissenter a clear link: The best bowlers bowl dots and create chances.

From my primative research, bowlers who keep it tight will give a PR around 10.00-15.00. Below 10.00 and you are buying wickets. Above 15.00 and you are not creating chances. It's a balance based on your best method.

You can combine Pressure Rate with Dot Ball%, Strike Rate, Average and Runs per Over to get a complete picture of the way each bowler (and the whole team) gets wickets.

In my team's case, the bowlers are trying to bowl dots to build pressure. We know it's working because we can point to a PR between 10-15 and a DB% above 70%. It proves the point.

And if it didn't work?

Time to try another plan!

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Old Skool Batting Values are Back

I would not call myself particularly old fashioned in my approach to coaching batting yet I have really enjoyed the purist first week of the ICC Champions Trophy.


We fully expected sides to score 300+ totals in this ICC Event but it has been the way in which the 300+ scores have been compiled which has been so refreshingly "retro".

England have made the biggest shift in batting approach since the last World Cup. They needed to!

As a result, England have passed 300 in five out of their seven ODI innings this current summer, winning all five games in the process.

So how have they set up these fantastic 300+ totals?

See England’s 10 over split table in their 300+ scores this summer. Its interesting reading.

Say No to gun-ho

England have done this by batting with an appropriate tempo in the 1st 10 overs ensuring that they are no more than 1 wicket down at the end of Power Play 1. Their average PP1 score in their last 5 300+ innings is 49/1.

Certainly nothing sensational in the scoring rate by modern day standards, yet a good platform to build upon.

In fact, England only rank 4th in the first 10 overs for run rate since the end of the ICC World Cup in 2015.

Depth matters

England bat deep. In some games down to 10. Mo Ali (seven) and Chris Woakes (eight) are proper batters in their own right. Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett are more than useful batters at any level.

This depth does two things for me.

  1. It galvanises confidence within the top order allowing them to bat freely knowing that an early wicket or two would not necessarily be terminal. It also allows the middle order to keep pushing hard from 30 overs onwards.
  2. However, for me, the biggest positive is that when you bat deep is that it allows selectors to pick exciting bowlers like Adil Rashid (ICC ODI rank of 20) and Liam Plunkett (ICC ODI rank of 16).

Both lads are wicket takers rather than economical bowlers. England have always struggled to take wickets in the middle overs of games, but they can now select their most potent wicket taking options because they have learnt how to construct ODI innings as a batting unit.

Rashid in particular is able to bowl in his attacking way when bowling first or second knowing that his team mates have already set a daunting target or have the batting personnel to knock off huge ODI totals batting second.

Well set at 40

You will note that England average 97 for 1 in the last 10.

97 is heck of a lot runs in 10 overs. However, the surprising number is in the wicket column!

England are becoming a great finishing side because they understand the concept of taking well-set batters into the 40th over. The difference in last 10 over run rates is massive between teams who consistently take one or two well-set players into the 40th over and those who have two new batters at the crease.

This summer, the likes of Stokes, Morgan and Buttler have been England’s established batters at the crease as they reach 40th over. As a result, they have been able to continue to increase their rate of scoring in the early part of the last 10 rather than having to build an innings gradually from scratch.

India applied the same approach in their recent game against Pakistan. Here are their 10 (8) over splits for their 319 in 48 overs.

India scored 106 runs in their last 48 balls!

This came about because they had two established batters at the crease with 15 runs from 14 balls (Yuvi) and 34 off 45 balls (Virat) as they entered the 40th over.

Both were able to accelerate having already assessed the conditions in the preceding overs.

They then took 7, 9, 8, 12, 5, 17 & 21 off the next 7 overs before Hardik Pandya hit 3 successive maximums in the 48th and last over.

It’s pretty old school, as I say, but downright effective!

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Train or Play: The Club Cricketer's Good Choice to Have

"Do you want a game on Wednesday?" The midweek Twenty20 captain asks you after your Saturday match.

You can play, but it's a busy week and Wednesday is your only free time for training too. So you have a choice.

What do you do?


Play by default?

In my experience - as a coach and captain at club level for many years - most people default to playing.

The season is short, games can be called off. Take every chance you can to play actual cricket. You could "play yourself into form" if you do things right.

Besides, no training session - no matter how well run - can reflect the pressure and fitness demands of a game of cricket. So, enjoy yourself with some T20 and feel more ready for the big weekend games.

Is is default thinking correct?

The down side of playing

It often is, but there are pitfalls.

In a game you have to do what is required. You can't easily manufacture a specific part of your game to work on (like you can in training). This is fine if you get to do something that will help you, but you can't be sure you will.

Plus, you only get one chance when you play. This might be handy for learning how you respond to pressure, but it's not good for experimenting with new methods or honing existing ones.

You might walk away from a game having not batted or bowled and barley touching the ball in the field. It's hard to learn and grow from that position!

The benefits of cricket training

The other option is to go to training and work on something specific. You can be more systematic here and more in control of what skills you are developing.

You can use video to record your play, tie it in to PitchVision's pitch maps and pace readings to work out what you do when you do things well.

You can create a feedback loop where you play, test, adjust and retest. This is the fastest way to learn any cricket skill. It's impossible to do in any single match.

So, if you want to develop your cricket, take a moment longer to consider training instead. It might be better for you, depending on your goals.

Reflect (with either option)

Whatever way you go, make sure you take time to properly reflect on the game or session.

I cannot stress how crucial reflection time is if you want to get better at playing cricket.

Most players finish the match, go home and only think about it if they have done well or poorly to wallow in pride or pity. Don't be that person. Take five minutes and reflect on what happened without the emotional highs or lows.

With video, coach or peer comments, and even honest memory there is plenty of data to use in your quest to improve your skills, form, mental strength and fitness.

You just need to take the time to analyse it. It doesn't take long so don't skip it (even when you lost because of a mistake you made, feel the pain and reflect on everything, not just the error).

What are your experiences of choosing playing over training or vice-versa?

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Cricket Show S8 Episode 21: Overseas Pro

Mark Garaway, Sam Lavery and David Hinchliffe join forces to talk cricket. This show discusses how to bat on poor pitches, being an overseas professional in league cricket and bowling machine recommendations.

Playing Spin Is a Basic Skill so Treat it Differently

The basics of batting against spin are different to the basics of batting.


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.


Want Coaching?

Send to a Friend

Do you have a friend or team mate who would be interested in this newsletter? Just hit "forward" in your email program and send it on.

If you received this email from a friend and would like to get subsequent issues, you can subscribe here.


PitchVision Academy

irresistable force vs. immovable object

Thank you for subscribing to PitchVision Academy.
Read more at www.pitchvision.com


To unsubscribe eMail us with the subject "UNSUBSCRIBE (your email)"
Issue: 466
Date: 2017-06-09