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The World Twenty20 has finished the group stages and there has been plenty to learn from watching the top players biff sixes and knock over stumps. That's why this week we have gone Twenty20 mad with guides to batting and tactics making up the three main articles this week.

However, we have not forgotten the rest of the game. We have another Umpire's corner looking at the Laws and Spirit and the miCricketCoach show has another edition covering your questions.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

How to score quickly in Twenty20 cricket

To celebrate the World Twenty20, PitchVision Academy batting coach Gary Palmer has written his guide to getting maximum runs in minimum time. Gary has coached many players into county cricket over the years, If you would like coaching from Gary, check out CCM Academy.

The best and most consistent Twenty20 batters in international cricket generally play proper cricket shots.

They play down the ground with the full face of the bat as their preferred scoring option. This is because it is very difficult to succeed in Twenty20 without having the basics in place. The risks of failure are too high.

For you to follow the example of top players you also need to have a good basic batting technique from which to improvise and attach additional flair shots.

Maximise hitting zone

Because Twenty20 cricket requires you to score off more deliveries and more frequently it is of vital to maximise your hitting zone (the amount of the swing where the line of the bat and the ball are matched together). This is done by keeping he bat going through the line of the ball for the maximum amount of time with the full face of the bat at the ball.

In the picture below a long hitting zone is shown by the yellow line. You can see how much smaller the zone becomes if your bat does not come down straight, as the red line illustrates:


Playing straight along the yellow line will minimise your risks of making mistakes.

To consistently and effectively have a long hitting zone you need to be well balanced, well aligned to where you want to hit the ball and play with exaggerated finishing positions where you fully complete the shots with good technique. Some coaches call this 'good shape'.

Technically, this means the old fashioned coaching advice was right all along: Maintain a high leading elbow after the shot, especially when hitting down the ground. Dropping the elbow shortens the hitting zone and minimises the amount of deliveries you can hit down the ground in the v.

You can learn drills to improve your hitting zone for the Twenty20 cricket on PitchVision Academy

Build from the base

You would be highly successful in Twenty20 if you simply perfected the straight shots combined with cuts and pulls. However, once you have mastered these shots you can start to adapt further.

You can hit gaps in the field and manoeuvre the ball with use of high leading elbow when playing straight batted shots. Simply close the face on impact to hit specific areas. This means the bat will swing in a straight throughout the shot and the risks of getting out are minimised. Go for small changes of angle to hit gaps rather than wide angle changes.

However, left Handed hitting and reverse sweeps should be played in moderation. They are very high risks shots. These shots are more for showmanship rather than the team's benefit. Only use these shots as a last resort.

If you are going to improvise and play a shot of the highest risk make sure it's one that will get you a boundary, preferable a six. There is very little point doing it just to score 1 or 2 runs as you can do that with more conventional shots at a lower risk.

The longer you maintain the process of controlled hitting with good technique the more successful you will be when improvising in a Twenty20 run chase situation. Don't panic and get drawn into mindless slogging with poor technique as the risks are too high.

Safe improvisation: Clear the front leg

It is still possible to score quickly and hit boundaries while minimising risk.

You can score off almost any length ball with a large hitting zone by learning to clear the front leg.

Clearing the leg allows you to swing the bat in as straight a line as possible with the option of hooking cutting and pulling the ball when it is shorter, this can be done by stepping back and across towards off stump against pace bowlers thus giving you more time before you select what shot you want to play. This back and across movement looks like this:

From this position you are able to drive, cut, hook and pull as shown here:

The more you open your shoulders and clear the front leg the more options are open to you to hit down the ground with the full face of the bat.

If the ball is moving (either swing or spin) you can make the follow adaptations to the technique:

  • Ball moving away, leg side line. Try to step inside the line of the delivery aligning both feet straight and then look to hit on the leg side.
  • Ball moving away off side line. Look to back away slightly and hit on the offside. Backing away will help you to get your front foot across the line of the back foot thus helping you to turn your leading shoulder and putting you in a great position to hit on the off side. 
  • Ball moving in, off side line. Hit straight in the v.
  • Ball moving in, middle/leg side line. Look to step across the crease and get in line or inside the line of the delivery so that you can align you feet straight or open up the front leg towards the leg side to enable you to hit with the spin/swing.

All of the above methods allow you to swing the bat in a straight line to the target area, but remember to maintain a high leading elbow for efficiency and consistency of shot.

Hitting against the swing/spin when the ball is moving in to you causes you to be closed off and therefore cramped up. It also causes you to hit across the line which is of high risk.

image credit: irishcricketphotos

If you want to learn everything there is to know about technique, check out Gary Palmer's interactive coaching courses. Gary is a coach with over 20 years experience teaching players to become first class cricketers. For the first time he has put his drills online, only at PitchVision Academy.


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World Twenty20 Lessons: Group Stages

As I write this the group stages of the World Twenty20 2009 have just finished. What lessons can club players take from the tournament so far?

It's certainly been dramatic: The last ball thrilling opener, Australia crashing out, amazing batting and spinner's domination. Among the chaos of six hitting and stumps flying there have been some lessons all cricketers who play the shorter format to follow.

New shots

The spectacular shot of the tournament so far has to be Tillakaratne Dilshan's "genuflector", flicking the ball over his shoulder for a boundary into an unprotected area. It's a work of genius to go alongside the switch hit and multiple sweep variations.

Earlier in the tournament Chris Gayle biffed 88 in 50 balls, including the biggest six I have ever seen, without a reverse sweep in sight. He drove, pulled and cut his way to a winning platform.

While both men are rare talents, it's Gayle who young cricketers would do best to follow. He plays straight cricket shots with extreme power. He punishes the short ball. Despite playing in an orthodox way you can't set a field to him. That is, until they allow fielders on the top of the Oval pavilion to catch his 100m strikes.

Rise of the minnows

Scotland ran New Zealand close, Ireland beat Bangladesh and, most dramatically, Holland beat England in a last ball thriller at Lords in the opening match. It shows that Twenty20 levels teams more than any other format.

This gives you hope if you have a weaker side playing in a short format. The key for me is that you stay in the game as long as you can. The Dutch were particularly strong against England, keeping them down to a reasonable score then keeping up with the rate until the dramatic last over when anything could happen (and did).

We have discussed how a lesser team can beat a stronger one previously here.

However, the really good sides like South Africa showed how a strong side can crush a weaker one. The difference was that they made fewer mistakes when the pressure was on. Instead of letting the weaker team back in with indifferent batting and fielding they put their foot on the throat of Scotland and didn't let go until they had bowled them out 130 runs short.

Even when they struggled in the dead rubber against New Zealand they still had the mental strength to get over the line, a task that is all the harder when you know the result has no bearing on the tournament.

So the lesson is; if you have a strong team against a weaker side don't relax until you have finished them off.

Set a target or chase?

The trend in Twenty20 is to chase a total down. Nobody knows what a good score is when the bat is so dominant so teams are more comfortable with a set target in mind.

While this is sensible, there is an obvious exception: Sri Lanka. They have a very strong bowling line up, including two spinners with an economy rate under 6.3 and one of the best death bowlers in the world. So while the batsmen are no slouches, they would be better defending a target than chasing one.

That means the default option in very short games is to chase, but before you decide to bowl automatically upon winning the toss, take a look at your bowling line up. If it is much stronger than your batsmen then you might want to follow the Sri Lankan example.

What have you noticed?

I have not managed to watch every game of the tournament, so I'm interested in finding out thing things I have missed. What are your thoughts on the tournament so far? Will you be adopting any tactics in your own games?

Leave a comment and let us know.


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Improve your Twenty20 tactics in 5 minutes

Improve your T20 Tactics PresentationIn my opinion, the formula for winning a T20 or 50 over game is the same for most cricket teams (i.e. everyone playing below the 1st Class level).

At the very top, I think we are looking at extremely gifted athletes who can make changes to their techniques. The rest of us should really be trying to alter our mindsets rather than our techniques.

To help illustrate this I have prepared a short presentation on some of the tactics and mindsets I coach players in Twenty20 cricket. The topics I cover include:

  • 5 Things Successful One Day Sides Do Well
  • Batting Strategies
  • Running Between the Wickets
  • Efficiency of Fielding

Click here to view the Twenty20 presentation in your browser. Its 5 minutes long.

By the way, this is an small experiment to see how popular an interactive presentation is compared to our more traditional articles. Please leave a comment and let us know what you think of the format.


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Umpires Corner: Runners not allowed and bad light stopped play

This edition of Umpires Corner in association with the International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring covers some more tricky questions of the Laws.


Cricket Show 32: Cricket magazines, fast bowling tips and off season training

There are plenty of guests on the show this week as Ian Pont is back to answer a fast bowling question and Duncan Steer, editor of SPIN, talks to us about cricket magazines and why he thinks Tony Greig is not cut out for podcasting.

On the show we also discuss


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: 50
Date: 2009-06-12