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Animated Fielding Drills Get Fit For Cricket


We love tradition, but not when it gets in the way of playing better cricket. So this week Gary Palmer takes a detailed look at the myth that batting is all about being sideways. Turns out it's all a rumour.

But the standards don't let up. We also have some video fielding drills from the legendary Derek Randall and a look behind the curtain of the Indian team with Shayamal Vallabhjee.

If that wasn't enough name-dropping we have Andy Caddick on the miCricketCoach show and more umpiring tips with the IICUS.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

Why cricket isn't a sideways game after all

Gary Palmer, the PitchVision Academy batting coach, talks about the coaching idea that batting is a sideways game. If you would like coaching from Gary, check out CCM Academy.

We have all heard the coaching mantra: Cricket is a sideways game.

Good bowlers get side on in their action. Batsmen stand sideways at the crease.

Or do they?

It's certainly not true for batting. The only time a batter needs to get into a good sideways position is when the lines of delivery are on or outside the line of off stump.

On this line the shoulder closes towards the off side and the front foot will land across the line of the back foot so that the bat can swing towards the target area for the maximum amount of time:

However, when the ball is straight or on leg stump line, being sideways is a problem.

If you are too sideways in your initial stance with your shoulder directly under your chin rather than below your left ear (for right handed batters) then you could end up tipping to the off side and playing around your front pad. This will make you hit across the line:


Also, your backswing goes back over middle and leg stump area.

From this position the only areas you can play strokes efficiently is on the off side any other shot you play you will also be hitting across the line.

Good bowlers who bowl straight and on a good length will be able to tie you down and set fields to stop you scoring while having a good chance of getting you out bowled or LBW.

But even worse, fast bowler will exploit batters who are in this sideways position because it is difficult to play the short ball aimed at the body.

With your hands initially hidden behind the body, they have to swing around the in a golf swing action to get at the ball. This takes longer to get the bat at the ball and the whole body is rotating to allow this to happen making it difficult to control the shot:

The better way: Open position

When playing straight and through mid on the feet should be in line with each other so that the bat swings in a straight line to the ball. To do that you can't be sideways on.

I always think if a player can hit the middle and leg stump line delivery through mid on (both back and front foot) then they are well balanced and well aligned:


These types of players rarely tip to the offside and rarely play across the line and they have good basic technique.

That's why they get a lot of runs.

Players such as Tendulkar and Sir Vivian Richards execute the more open body position. This gives them good sight of the ball, good balance and good alignment to play the shot.

An open shoulder position allows the hands to move in a straight line to the ball while the body remains still. The hands also need less time to get into position.

The back foot should turn in slightly prior to playing the shoot as the shoulder begin to open when playing the ball on straight and middle stump line, both front and back foot:

Still not convinced? Look at Twenty20.

Twenty20 players tend to clear the front leg when improvising. This puts them in to a more open position from which they can play a wide range of attacking shots.

If they were too sideways their scoring options would be considerable limited but their risk of getting out would be greatly increased.

Critics will say if you are slightly open then you will miss out on the off side.

They are wrong. 

From an open position it is easy to push you head towards the ball on the offside line delivery, the shoulder and foot will follow and the shot can be played consistently well.

The other plus point is that you make your decision earlier when you want to leave the ball outside off stump. From to sideways you can get dragged across the crease thus chasing wide deliveries.

Chanderpaul proves that if you stand open you can still leave the ball well and also get in a good position to play through the off side.

I am not suggesting that you stand as open as Chanderpaul, but just open the shoulders slightly so both eyes are parallel and looking straight back up the pitch towards the bowler.

Batting practice tips

When practicing front and back foot drives against a bowling machine put the machine in the position in the crease where a left arm over would bowl at you

From and set the machine to swing the ball in at middle and leg.

Set some cones out in front of you so the 'V' area you are looking to drive the ball is between very straight mid on mid wicket. Try to hit balls through the target area first from the more open body position I have been talking about and then try it being too sideways.

See which is the easier.

Finish the session with the machine over the wicket swinging the ball away on off stump line to make sure you remember the correct position for the off drives.

Remember now to turn your front shoulder to get in to the more sideways position for the off /cover drives. 

So the take home point is simple:

Being too sideways to straight and leg side is a non-negotiable: It restricts you considerably both surviving and attacking.

Never stand with your front foot further across to the off side than your back foot; it's impossible to be a successful batter playing this way because you are too sideways.


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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The Sachin Tendulkar guide to being a winner

For twenty years Sachin has been the epitome of a winning cricketer. Out of the hundreds of games and dozens of tournaments the little master has played in, the 2003 World Cup was perhaps the closest he has got to winning a global event.

Pipped only in the final, it was Sachin who was the star of the tournament scoring 673 runs in 11 innings. By his side the whole way was the team analyst Shayamal Vallabhjee.

In this online presentation by Shayamal goes through the 5 critical tasks all winners need to attend to. Do these 5 things and you can make the most of your cricketing talent the way Sachin has done, and continues to do even after 20 years at the top.

Click here to view "How to Become a Winner" by Shayamal Vallabhjee.

If you prefer you can download the presentation as a pdf file.

image credit: alister667

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Laws of Cricket: Helmets and runs and bowlers front landing
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.

Helmets and runs


"The batsman played at and missed a fast delivery. The ball kept low, and the wicketkeeper couldn’t take it cleanly. The ball hit a helmet on the ground behind the ‘keeper and shot off towards third man. The batsmen had started to run, when third man fielded the ball and threw down the stumps with a direct hit. The umpire gave the batsman Run out, and then awarded five Penalty runs for the ball hitting the helmet. Was this right?”


I feel sorry for this batsman. The umpire was right to award the five Penalty runs for the ball hitting the helmet, but wrong to give the batsman out! The instant it hit the helmet it automatically became a Dead ball. Anything that happened after that was irrelevant.

Law 23.1 Dead ball (Open Learning Manual Page 73)

Law 41.3 The fielder (Open Learning Manual Page 123)

Bowler’s front landing


"Our quick bowler was very annoyed to be no-balled five times during his spell. The umpire explained that he was ‘overstepping’ with his front foot. I watched the bowler very carefully, and noticed that the umpire called him even when his heel landed on the white line of the popping crease. Did the umpire get it wrong?"


No, his decisions were spot-on. The umpire must be satisfied that, in the bowler’s delivery stride, some part of his front foot, whether grounded or raised, lands behind the popping crease – not just on it - for that delivery to be considered fair. Many people confuse the crease with the crease marking – that’s the white line. The crease itself is the back edge of that white line – the edge nearest the stumps at that end.

Law 24.5 No ball (Open Learning Manual Page 76)

Remember you can submit your own umpiring and scoring questions here.






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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Cricket fielding drills from Derek Randall

It's said that during his time at Nottinghamshire and England, Derek Randall would regularly save 20 runs a day from his fielding.

Cricket Show 56: Andy Caddick

Andy Caddick gives us a sneak peak of his new bowling coaching course this week. We are also joined by Gary Palmer and Menno Gazendam for more batting and spin bowling tips.


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: 74
Date: 2009-11-27