Pitchvision Academy
PitchVision Cricket Technology Improve Your Mental Game Get Fit For Cricket

Hi there,

The cricketing world's attention turns to England this week for the World Twenty20. The tournament is set to be a tough battle with innovative methods used by the internationals. For that reason, we will be watching closely to see if we can pick up tips from the top to help you in your game.

That starts with our main article this week: a preview of the tournament and some guesses as to what we think might happen over the coming weeks.

It's not all Twenty20 though. There are also articles on selection, technical issues and Mark Atkinson explains to us what 'control the controllables' really means.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

World Twenty20 Lessons: Tournament Preview

This article is part of the World Twenty20 Lessons series on miCricketCoach. To see the rest of the series, click here. Scroll to the bottom of this article to add your comments.

As I write this, the World Twenty20 is yet to begin, although the fine weather in England has meant we have been able to get a sneak peak at some of the top teams in the warm up matches. What techniques and tactics will the top teams use, and how can you apply them to your own games?

Spin vs. pace

Spin has dominated domestic and club Twenty20 cricket. The slower pace makes it harder to hit the ball for boundaries. Yet in the last World event spin was less of an influence. More power-hitters with the bat could clear the boundaries on pitches that did not turn. It will be interesting to see how spin fares in this tournament.

Meanwhile, a lot of pre-tournament talk has been about genuine fast bowlers. Able to be used any time in the 20 overs, pace will always cause problems, although their pace may be used by the batsmen in the early overs to guide the ball rather than hit it.

So which will be more effective? It could be close in the internationals, but in club games spin and gentle medium pace will probably have the upper hand because it's harder to hit.

Hitting not slogging

Australia, in their warm up match against Bangladesh, stood out because of their big hitting. But this was no slogging. Proper cricket shots were the order of the day: Down the ground, cuts and pulls. Even when fine leg and third man were brought up into the circle, the hitters still picked their spots with a straight bat.

This is the best way to bat for club cricketers too. You have more chance of hitting the ball with 'proper' shots than trying to switch hit or reverse sweep.

Bowling line and length

Twenty20 has grown a number of theories about where to bowl and when. The usual idea is to bowl back of a length in the early overs and yorkers at the death. However, to be successful on flat wickets against aggressive batsmen bowlers need to mix things up as much as possible.

India tried bowling length at the end of one of their warm ups and got punished for it. However we are bound to see more new theories including a range of slower balls alongside more traditional methods.

Many club players, brought up on the mantra of 'the corridor of uncertainty' don't practice variations in pace, line and length for short formats. However, you can't try a slower ball for the first time in a game and expect it to work. Whatever tactic you decide, make sure you work on it in practice first.

Get the fielders right

In T20 every run seems to count for more. The best fielders need to be in places where the ball is going to make clean pickups, returns and catches under pressure. You may well see captains moving fielders around positions. This also protects the lesser fielders, such as making sure the opening bowler is at short third man rather than having to chase round from fine leg all the time.

As long as you can stay within time constraints then it makes sense to do the same in your games; particularly as there is a greater range of fielding abilities at club level.

What do you think?

There is certain to be plenty more ideas and methods as the tournament unfolds. What techniques do you use and what are you looking forward to seeing the top guys implement during the World Twenty20?

Leave a comment and let us know.


Discuss this article with other subscribers

A step-by-step guide to fixing your cricketing weaknesses
We all have our cricketing flaws.

Perhaps yours is a technical weakness stopping you from playing the ball off your legs. Maybe you go to pieces out in the middle or perhaps you find yourself exhausted after a short spell due to your fitness levels.

The combination of problems could be endless. It was not that long ago I found myself unfit, tearing myself up for every mistake I made and living an unhealthy lifestyle. I knew if I was to make the most of my own average talent as a cricketer I need to fix these problems. Its part of the reason I started this site in the first place: To help myself by helping you.

So I started on a journey to dissolve my weaknesses as much as I could. Three years later I realised I had discovered not only hundreds of tips for all kinds of ways to improve cricket performance but also a simple process for fixing problems.

It works. I know I have tried it with both myself and the case studies on the site. I have seen it be successful in:

  • Clearing up technical issues in bowlers and batsmen
  • Improving cricket specific fitness and reducing injury levels
  • Changing 'lifestyle' habits like getting sleep, staying hydrated and reducing stress
  • Improving mental toughness and reducing fair of failure

I'm sure with a bit of thought you could also apply it to other areas such as weight loss. As far as I can see the process is simple and universal.

1. Identify the problem and the cause

Most problems start with a simple problem. For example "I keep getting out LBW". However, it's not always as simple as it first seems.

Firstly, you have to check to see if the problem is real or not. In our LBW example you may think you have a problem because you have got out LBW a couple of times when in fact the real issue is something else.

So before you continue it's important to make sure you have the right problem. Our LBW man might go back through scorebooks to see if that dismissal is a trend. If he has access to a PitchVision system he may look how many appeals bowlers had against him (and if they were out or just poor umpiring).

Once you have the right problem you also need to find the root cause. This could be easy. If you are overweight you may be eating too much of the wrong food and not getting enough exercises. If it is a technical issue you might need the services of a good coach or trusted team mate to pin down the cause.

2. Work on the cause

Now is the time to direct your energies to fixing the cause you have identified. If it is a technical error you might go to the nets to do some drills. If it is a confidence issue perhaps your time is better spent improving your visualisation and imagery skills. Whatever you decide is the best method to fix the problem.

With most issues: technical, physical or mental, it takes 2-3 weeks to notice any difference. So perform your drills, or do your training for at least this time before taking the next step.

3. Review your progress

After about 2-3 weeks of work you can go back and check to see if it has made any difference. Going back to our LBW problem, you could have another session on the PitchVision system or get a coach to watch you in the nets for the technical error. If your goal is weight loss then you could measure success by body fat reduction.

Even after a short period you should notice some positive changes: Perhaps a loss of a couple of pounds in weight, a more positive outlook on the pitch or suddenly hitting a run of form. These changes may be small but it's important to record them.

4. Adjust your methods

If you are seeing positive changes the answer is simple: Keep doing what you are doing.

However, not every method works for every person. In order to find out what works for you, you may need to try a few different things. Perhaps your initial identification was wrong, or perhaps you respond differently than everyone else.

Record the changes you make and head back to step 2 to try again.

When you crack a problem in a systematic way there is nowhere for it to hide. While you may have to have a few runs at a your issue, they key is to keep watching and tracking progress until you find what works.

Everyone is different, so the same question often requires a different answer.


Discuss this article with other subscribers

How to select a winning club cricket team

A good cricket team is made up of different personalities and skills. Helping make the right blend of these elements starts with the captain and the team he or she selects.

Selection at club or school level is different from the top tiers. There is very little concern about picking the extra batsman and the like. In fact for many captains the only selection issue is whether you can raise 10 other players!

The other main consideration not seen at the top level is to give everyone a game. As captain of a recreational side its part of your job to give your players the best opportunity to enjoy the games they play for you, even if you are serious about winning. A good captain can find a balance between the opposite stools.

Those differences mean you can't learn selection tactics by copying the ideas of your local first class team. It's a different game and requires a different approach.

The basic template

There are many options available to you but at club level a good general template is:

  • 5 batsman capable of scoring 50 or more
  • 5 bowlers (including 2 spinners) capable of taking wickets and bowling a decent number of overs.
  • 1 wicketkeeper

This gives your side a balance to allow you to adapt to almost any situation.

It's possible and sometimes necessary to break from this template. However, before choosing to go in with just 4 decent bowlers consider what would happen if one of them pulled a hamstring in the first over and another bowled badly. You might have to make do with 2 good bowlers and some rather average fill in bowling.

The spinners are most important for games with a possible draw. Good spinners are vital at club level for getting weaker batsmen out. You can still use 2 spinners in limited over format games but they have a different job.

5 bowlers allow you to operate with 2 spinners without having to over-bowl them. There is always the risk that a spinner can be punished against a set batsman and they can't be as well protected if they are part of a 4 player attack.

A common problem with this selection is there are more all-rounders (of variable quality) at club level than first class. Often this means your 5 good batters and 5 good bowlers are the same people. This can cause problems: Bowlers do not get enough overs or batsmen are forced down the order.

Selection is the time to carefully consider such situations. Avoid them where possible. That said, you can still give people a game with some thought. For example, weaker batsman can be pushed up the order above your star players. They may be out first ball or they may rise to the challenge. Either way they will feel they have had a game and you will have probably lost nothing.

Specific tactics

Selection is also the time to consider specific tactics for the coming match.

Take some time to find out some information about the game: the layout of the ground, the strengths and tactics of the opposition (local paper reports and last year's scorebook can help with this), the way the wicket might play and the weather forecast. Each element can make a difference.

For example, on a well known true batting pitch with the weather set fair. Will you really need 6 or 7 top quality batters or will a bigger choice of bowling be more important?

Whatever tactics you decide on the day, choosing a team is more than just picking the best 11 players. You have to strike a balance. This balance is not restricted to batsman, a wicketkeeper and bowlers. Your team needs to reflect closely the tactics you have for winning the match. That's where roles come in.

The role of roles

One of the joys of cricket is the diversity of its roles within the team. From tall bowlers to short batters and everything in between there is a role for everyone. There are tactical roles too. You may have a bowler whose role it is to bowl defensively and hold up an end while expensive strike bowlers operate at the other end. It may also be an experienced opening batsman who may score slowly, but always gets you off to a good start in a longer match.

Shane Warne and ex-England international turned sport psychologist Jeremy Snape are big advocates of ensuring you and your players are clear in their roles. It gives the players confidence to go out and do exactly what is asked of them.

It's equally important to match your player's skills and personalities to the roles you want filled. A hitter may struggle to graft out runs for example. A wild fast bowler may never be able to fill the stock containing role. Be cautious when you define these roles, especially if you are changing something that someone has always done. Talent may restrict you, as will the ego of the player if he feels he has been slighted in some way.

What if things change?

We all know how quickly selection ideas are lost in the middle as the game shifts. You can't account for that in selection but you can communicate to the players when your ideas have shifted. As long as players are aware what your plan is supposed to be and that you may change it any time there will be no surprises.

Image credit: Gary_T_W


Want to be a better captain? Learn from the best with the interactive online course Cricket Captaincy by Mike Brearley.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

What does 'control the controllables' mean?

We often hear the phrase 'control the controllables' from top coaches. Coach Mark Atkinson looks at the term in greater detail.

Every time we step onto the field our strategy, skills, thinking, fitness and technique are tested. Additionally, (and if this was not enough), we also face uncertain and rapidly changing elements that influence our performances such as the weather, ground and pitch conditions, umpires and opponents.

Cricket Show 31: The fast bowling coach

David is celebrating another low scoring win at the weekend and announcing some exclusive news to show listeners. Kevin has a new found backlift and love of the IPL. The 5 questions section is back with Ian Pont in the chair telling us about his latest secret developments in fast bowling (including Atul Sharma).

We also answer your questions on:


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.


Take a tour
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: 49
Date: 2009-06-05