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It's a time of transition for most club players around the world. The UK and Europe are ending their seasons while most other countries are beginning matches again. Either way, the switch can be used as trigger to start planning for success.

At miCricketCoach we want to help you achieve your goals too, so this week we have a range of articles to assist you. We look at the psychology of winning, some technical batting pointers (from Gary Palmer) and a few tactics for seam bowlers. The miCricketCoach show focuses on fielding and wicketkeeping to make it a clean sweep.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

Do you make Ian Bell's batting mistakes?

PitchVision Academy Batting Coach, Gary Palmer, continues his series analysing English batsmen's technique. This time Ian Bell comes under the spotlight. If you want coaching from Gary, visit CCM Academy.

Many people say Ian Bell has a good basic technique but I think that poor alignment causes the Englishman problems.

When you see him from the side view it looks very good. He fully completes his straight batted shots with high hands and leading elbow whilst maintaining a good diamond shape with his forearms, like so:

However, if you look at him from the front view he is not always aligned well. His alignment is at its worst when the left arm pace bowler swings the ball back in to him on middle and leg stump line where he tends to get 'closed off' and hits around his front pad while hitting across the line slightly:

During the 3rd Ashes Test of 2009 he did this on a number of occasions to Mitchell Johnson and therefore was vulnerable to being out LBW. We saw him get away with an LBW decision but get out later after being struck in front.

If he keeps the same technique and alignment the chances are that the same thing could happen again.

Ian's performance could benefit from the following changes when playing against the left arm pace bowler:

1. Open stance

Opening his feet and shoulders will allow his head and initial alignment to face the bowler this will minimise the amount he steps across the crease and gets closed off. With a more open set up he will be better balanced and his head can now lead towards the initial line of the ball for the maximum amount of time thus improving his overall alignment and balance:

2. Revised target area

With a better set up and head position Ian can now look to score straighter. He can also play through mid on and midwicket with the full face of the bat going through the line of the ball for as long as possible. This minimises the chances of him getting out LBW.

3. Feet positioning

Keeping the back foot sideways makes it difficult to score straight down the ground; especially when you are trying to play straight and through mid on against a left arm pace bowler.

It's preferable to have both front and back foot pointing up the wicket when playing the shot. This will contribute to Ian being well balanced and aligned with the ability to place the ball with minimum risk to his target areas.You can see that position here.

I believe these changes would lead to consistency and could turn Ian Bell into the player we all know that he is capable of being: Consistently churning out big hundreds and becoming a match winner.



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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Classic bowling dismissals: Seam

This article is part of the 'Classic bowling dismissals' series. To go to the start, click here.

It's ironic that that best English-style seamer of modern times has been an Australian: Glen McGrath. As a model to copy, there are few better examples of a classic seamer than 'Pigeon'.

How did he do it, and how can new seamers emulate his performances to take stacks of wickets?

Line and length

In a world of twenty20 bowling variations it's been forgotten that really good seamers trade in a different currency: accuracy.

At club and school level there is no need to have a huge number of variations. Most batsmen will get themselves out if the bowler puts the ball on a nagging length on or just outside the off stump:


The length, as you can see, can vary between 10-13m (33-46 ft) from the bowler's end. The fuller balls have the aim of hitting the stumps, the back-of-a-length balls are looking for the edge.

Either way, the seamer is relying on the ball and the pitch to help him as much as possible. With the seam upright at the point of release he is giving himself the best chance of the ball hitting the seam and deviating enough to catch the edge or bowl the batsman through the gate.

A "scrambled" seam also works well as a subtle variation here. Most bowler's do it by accident when trying to keep the seam up. When it happens he seam doesn't stay perfectly upright after release (it appears to be "wobbling" as the ball goes down). It might then hit the shiny part and skid on, or the seam and bite. This variation in bounce and movement is very hard for the batsman to read.

Extra bounce

Good seamers are tall and they release the ball from as high as possible. If you imagine the arm position at release to be like a clock face, the ideal position is 12 o'clock but to get good bounce it should never drop earlier than 11:

This, combined with the ball hitting the pitch with the seam, creates an extra bounce that no batsman finds comfortable. The ball can hit the edge or splice and go to waiting slips or short legs. It also stops the batsman being able to get on the front foot and drive through the line meaning they could end up playing a rash shot after being tied down.


The seamer rarely has express pace on his side. It's also rare that he will get perfect seaming conditions to be able to fire out a team. That means he needs to keep going and bowling that nagging line and length until the batsman makes a mistake.

Sometimes that can take a while, so the seamer needs to be fit. Not just gym fit (which is a good place to start) but also bowling fit. Seamers need to be able to bowl with the same pace and accuracy in their 20th over as they do their first.


As you know, there is not much need for variety with a good seamer. They let natural variations in movement and bounce does all the work for them.

That said, there are times when on flat wickets or in very short games where some variety can upset the batsman's rhythm. Some options are:

  • Bouncer aimed at the ribs
  • Slower ball
  • Yorker

You can read more about these variations in this article.

image credit: The Waterboy


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Laws of Cricket: Non striker out of his ground and encroachment

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

Many times on the pitch (and after the game) we have come to discuss whether a controversial situation should be allowed or not. There are precious few players with a deep enough understanding of the laws for our arguments to be resolved, but many times it's the players who also act as umpires. Now we can consult a team of expert experienced umpires for the answers to those tricky questions.

You can submit your own questions to the umpires here.

Non-striker - out of his ground?


"The wicket-keeper was not best pleased as a result of the following incident. The batsman hit the ball and set off on what looked like a suicidal single. The non-striker practically flew down the pitch, just made his ground, and then fell backwards onto the pitch to avoid being hit by the ball, which was being thrown in. The ’keeper took the ball, whipped off the bails and appealed for a Run out. The non-striker was well out of his ground at that moment. Why was the appeal turned down?"”


The appeal failed because, according to your description of events, the non-striker had already made his ground. The only reason he had left his ground after that was to take evasive action to avoid being struck by the ball.

Law 38.2 Run out (Open Learning Manual Page 115)

What does encroachment by the wicketkeeper mean?


"It’'s so unusual to hear an umpire at square leg call 'No ball' that we spectators sat up with a start when it happened in a match recently. Yet there weren’t more than two fielders behind the popping crease on the leg side, and it certainly didn’t seem as if the bowler had thrown the ball. When they came off for tea I heard fielders talking about the wicket-keeper ‘encroaching’. What did they mean by this?"


The umpire at striker’s end called and signalled No ball because some part of the wicket-keeper’s person or equipment was not completely behind the wicket when the ball came into play. The wicket-keeper must remain wholly behind ‘his’ wicket until either the striker touches the ball with his bat or person, or it passes the wicket, or the striker attempts a run.

Law 40.3 The wicketkeeper (Open Learning Manual Page 121)


Want more tips on how to umpire? Get instant access to The Umpiring Survival Guide on PitchVision Academy. Now with a free bonus 91 page quizbook.



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How a step up in intensity can win you the league

Cricket is a game of the mind as much as the body. Emotions have a direct effect on your game. If you know how to tap into the right intensity you could end up winning the league with your team like mine did this season.

It was the last game of the season. We were top of the table by the smallest margin. We needed a win to be sure of gaining the league title. The team in second were unbeaten and unlikely to cave in at this late stage.

Cricket Show 45: Fielding and wicketkeeping

In a subject close to David's heart, this week's show is about fielding and wicketkeeping. Ian Pont answers a fast bowling question and David tells us about his Championship winning match.

Questions this week include:


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: 63
Date: 2009-09-11