Pitchvision Academy


Cricket is the best game in the world, but it doesn't mix well with rain.

Sometimes we have to put up with less than perfect conditions and I have written a 2 part guide to helping you through the tough times whether you bowl or bat.

Speaking of bowlers, I also show you how to get the most from your occasional bowling. You might be a skipper looking for tips or an occasional bowler trying to get on more often. Either way, the story of Dave is designed to inspire you to greater heights.

There is also a brand new fielding drill to make sure every skier from your occasional bowlers is held.

Have a great weekend.

David Hinchliffe

How to adjust your game to wet conditions (part 1: batting)

Being English, I'm used to playing cricket in most conditions. One of the worst is the wet and overcast day.

It's harder work for everyone. Cricket is much more fun when the rain stays away.

But let's say it's been raining before your game. The outfield is wet but playable, the light is poor and there is a risk of showers throughout.

What tactics do you adopt?

As a batsman you have to really be on your game. If there are showers you will be on and off, which makes it hard to build an innings with any fluency. When you are on the pitch, the ball may skid on, stop or grip the seam for lateral movement upsetting your timing.

Build an innings

Your basic tactics remain the same as any other day: Look to build an innings.

Depending on how much time you have, your first task is to get a feel for the pace and bounce of the pitch. In the wet the ball is more likely to keep lower but may behave in a number of different and difficult ways. The more you can get behind or leave early in your innings the better chance you have of success.

While you have to make a judgement based on the pitch you are on, it’s often safe to cut out the cross batted shots initially and look to get forward where possible (which is sensible batting in any conditions).

Overcast conditions mean the new ball could swing before it gets too wet. While this might only be for a couple of overs, if you are opening you still need to watch the ball carefully and avoid hitting through the line.

If you do go off for rain, make sure you restart your innings rather than looking to continue where you left off. Many batters mysteriously leave their confidence and timing in the pavilion and pay the price for not realising it.

Use the weather

There are few advantages to batting in poor weather. However there are a couple of tactics you can use to your advantage.

Bowlers will not be keen to slip and get injured. Seamers will be at a reduced pace and spinners will not feel there is any point in trying to spin the ball. Knowing this allows you to play with more confidence.

It's natural for fielding standards to be reduced. It's harder to see the ball, keep your footing and pick up/catch a slippery ball. Add in loss of confidence that many fielders have. You can watch for this and be ready to run tighter singles than you might normally try.

Many batsmen consider good innings in wet conditions as their best, which proves how hard it is. If you play sensibly, trust you technique and leave your aggressive tendencies to finer weather you are likely to have success.

Photo credit: diongillard

Discuss this article with other subscribers

How to adjust your game to wet conditions (part 2: bowling)

Yesterday we examined how batsmen can adjust to playing in wet weather. Today we talk about bowling in the rain.

As yesterday, the situation is the same: The outfield is wet but playable, the light is poor and there is a risk of showers. This time you are bowling.

The disadvantages of bowling in these conditions are many. The ball will get wet quickly, fielding is hard meaning you could leak runs easily and you can’t be sure of your footing.

For all bowlers, the condition of the ball is critical. There is no substitute for keeping the ball dry and clean. This might well be a losing battle, especially in drizzle. Nevertheless, the minimum you should be doing to keep the ball as dry as possible as long as possible is:

  1. Cleaning mud and dirt from the seam
  2. Wiping the moisture off the ball with a towel

Both these things are legal and, in fact, vital to bowling in these conditions. In addition, make sure there is sawdust around for putting into run ups and footholes.

Swing and seam

Lateral movement in the wet usually comes from seam movement if anything. However, as it is overcast you might find the ball swinging early on. If you do have the luck of swing then the best way to have made the most of it is to make sure you don’t waste it.

Make the batter play early in the innings by ensuring you have done enough bowling from your full run up before play (it reduces the chance of looseners). You will know individually how much that is.

Even if there is no swing early on, you can still get wickets. Bowling line and length will show you how the ball is behaving quickly. It might seam around. Depending on the wicket or how much rain there has been on the day you might see it skid on or stop.

Either way, you can set intelligent fields and wait for the batters to make mistakes.

Mistakes are most likely after an interruption for rain, so look for the batsman who thinks they can carry on where they left off and plot their demise.

There is probably not a great need for variations, as these types of games tend to be low scoring. However there are circumstances where yorkers and slower balls can be used, especially at the death of an innings.

Spinning in the rain

Wet weather means no spin most of the time. That said, spinners can still have a role. It’s not just about firing the ball in and acting as a slow medium pacer either. You can throw the ball up to tail-enders to induce failed big hits.

It’s hard to grip the ball when it’s wet so you may find yourself losing you accuracy as a spinner. If it gets so bad you are really struggling to bowl consider adjusting your grip and not tweaking the ball at all if it means you can control your line better.

As long as you are bowling straight, the pitch could do enough to get away with poor length, but poor line is easier to hit for any batter.

An exception is the drying wicket, or the old style sticky dog. If the wicket is uncovered (or poorly covered in the case of some club games) and it dries after heavy rain it will both turn and bounce with unreadable inconsistency. If you ever find yourself in one of these situations, get the ball as soon as you can and refuse to give it up.

Photo credit: asperse

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Are you ashamed of your occasional bowling?

The Third XI captain (Sundays) of my old club side was called Dave. He was a large man in his forties without pretention. He loved beer, cricket and Brighton and Hove Albion FC.

He called himself a batsman, but his real talent was his 'occasional bowling', which caused chaos.

As Sussex professional Robin Martin-Jenkins knows, the occasional bowler in club cricket is someone to be feared by batsmen, not ashamed of by captains. Especially if they have the uncanny knack of bowling bad balls that are straight:

"But what was most interesting to me was how hard most of us found it when faced with this sort of opponent. I was bowled twice by balls that nearly bounced twice, for example…

"I wonder, with that in mind, if there is more of a place for part-time bowlers in first-class cricket. Particularly when the wicket is flat and the game looks like it’s going nowhere."

What would Michael Vaughan have given for Dave on the last day of the 1st Test against South Africa?

Take pride in occasional bowling

Dave was the perfect bowler for making things happen in any situation. He could in equal measures (and almost randomly):

  • Take wickets
  • Tie batsmen down
  • Get smashed to all four corners

If you needed a bowler to break a partnership or give a team enough rope to hang themselves, Dave was your man. He could bowl on sticky dogs, flat tracks, dusty bowls and seamers green tops with equal success.

He could even clean up the tail. They just couldn’t resist having a swipe at his easy bowling. Usually straight up in the air.

How did he perform these miracles?

Dave was a slow bowler, not a spinner. He bowled off 2 paces allowing him to bowl long spells despite his girth, retiring to gulley or slip between overs. He lobbed the ball onto the spot at about 35mph (56kph) for ball after ball. His line was always immaculate and when he did stray in length his philosophy was: You miss, I hit.

He failed as often as he succeeded. There was no pattern to it, but the days it worked were celebrated with jugs of ale deep into the night.

The point is, he made things happen. He was never satisfied with a boring draw.

Dave showed us all that occasional bowling is nothing to be ashamed of.

Captain’s the world over should turn to their own Dave more often than they do. It’s only the shame stopping them. And we know pride comes before a fall.

Photo credit: PhillipC

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Why practice matches are better than nets

Pakistan warmed up for the World Cup by having a practice match between themselves. It's quite a change from the normal nets, nets and more nets.

Why did they do this?

As David Gower says in his autobiography, there is a world of difference between having a net without any of the pressure of a game and actually being out in the middle.

Fielding drills: High catching fitness

Purpose: To develop catching on the run and whilst tired.

Description: Player 1 has the job of catching as many high catches as possible. Player 2 starts by throwing or hitting a high catch to player 1 who runs and catches it and rolls it back. Player 3 then throws the ball so player 1 has to run and catch it again. Repeat for a set number then rotate the players.


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


(c) 2008 miSport

To unsubscribe eMail us with the subject "UNSUBSCRIBE (your email)"
Issue: 5
Date: 2008-07-25