BATTING TIPS

EYES UP!

Watch the ball. This is perhaps the most important tip for a batter. Always keep your eye on the ball, right up to the time it strikes the bat.

STEADY AHEAD

Try to keep your head as still as possible when the bowler is approaching and when delivering the ball. Be relaxed, balanced and comfortable in your stance, with your feet apart and the bat upright behind you, ready to hit the ball.

THE RIGHT CALL

When you’re about to run between wickets, you should call using only three words. ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Wait’. If the ball is hit in front of the wicket, the batter on strike should call. If the ball goes behind the wicket, the batter at the other end (the non-striker) should make the call.

GET TO THE PITCH

When playing a front foot shot (defence or attack), try to get your foot (left foot for right-hand batters and right foot for left-hand batters) as close as possible to where the ball hits the pitch. Play these shots with your bat as close to your front pad as possible.

ON THE BACK FOOT

Step back and across to give yourself time with back foot shots. When sweeping, pulling and hooking, try to roll your wrists to close the face of the bat as you hit the ball. This way, the ball will travel along the ground and you won’t get caught out. If you’re going fora six, don’t roll your wrists.

STRAIGHT BAT

Make sure you take the bat back straight behind you before your shot. This way, you’ll follow through correctly and present the full face of the bat when striking the ball. The shot should go where you intend it to go!

ELBOW UP!

When hitting the ball, the elbow of your left arm (right arm for lefthanders) should be nice and high. This will help you to avoid hitting the ball into the air and popping small catches to the bowler and close in fielders. If you’re not quite to the pitch of the ball, offer a dead bat. Let the ball come onto the bat rather than following through with the shot.

FAST ON YOUR FEET

Good, fast footwork is so important. You’ll probably be playing either a shot off your front foot or a shot off your back foot. Be quick and sure with your footwork at all times.

I’M STUCK!

Don’t get stuck while you’re batting. Always look for a quick single to put the pressure back on the fielding team. Batting is all about scoring runs and protecting your wicket. Look around the field and be aware of gaps and empty spaces where you might be able to score runs.

IT’S OKAY!

Scoring runs is so much fun, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Often you can play three, four or more games without scoring runs. Stay positive. Believe in yourself. Even the best batters in the world make ducks. Practise at home, in the nets, with friends, in the back garden, and remember that you’ll be in the runs again soon.

BOWLING TIPS

A FAST BOWLER’S CHECKLIST

Grip

Place your first two fingers on the seam with a finger’s width between. Your thumb should be on the seam on the under side of the ball.

Run-up

This should be smooth, even and balanced as you build up pace approaching the bowling crease.

Gather

This is your delivery stride, which should remain balanced. Your non-bowling arm should be high and bent at the elbow, acting as a sighter for your target.

Back-foot landing

Jump to land on a firm, stable back leg. This should give you good drive into your bowling delivery. Make sure that your body is in the upright position.

Delivery

Try not to rotate your hips and shoulders as you move into your stride. Transfer your weight smoothly onto your front foot as you’re about to deliver the ball.

Release

Again, be strong and upright as you release the ball. Keep your bowling arm nice and high, and try to keep it as close to your body as possible.

Follow

You’ll increase your pace and gain through better control if you maintain momentum through towards the batter, have good hip rotation and a full arm action.

GO SOLO!

If you’re really serious about improving your bowling technique, organise yourself a bucket of balls, a set of stumps and fi nd a cricket net to work in. You don’t need a batter. Just focus on your technique and where you’ll pitch the ball so you are better able to control the line and length of your deliveries.

BOWLING A SWINGER!

This is for bowling to a right- hand batter. Grip the ball so that the seam is angled slightly off line, towards fi ne leg and have the shiny side of the ball on the inside. Place your first two fingers down the seam, slightly apart with your thumb on the seam beneath the ball. As you release the ball, pull down hard with your fi ngers to get maximum effect on the ball. For an out-swinger, angle the ball towards first slip and
have the shiny side of the ball to the outside. For both, keep the seam of the ball as upright as possible for maximum swing.

SLOW IT DOWN!

Try to keep your delivery consistent so that the batter doesn’t know you’re about to go for a slower delivery. As you approach, slide your first finger down and away from the seam. Now you’re bowling more of an off-cutter. The ball should come out slower as you’re bowling across the seam. This one needs lots of practice so you can maintain control. You can try dropping the other finger, which would produce a leg- cutter!

SPIN IT!

A leg-spinner turns from the leg to the offside for a right- hand batter. Grip the ball firmly with your middle three fingers. Your thumb is there for back- up support. As you deliver the ball, try to produce maximum spin with your third or fourth finger. The ‘wrong- un’ or ‘googly’ is a variation: do everything the same, but release the ball with the back of your hand facing the batter.

NO MORE NO-BALLS!

All you’ll need is a measuring tape and a friend. Find a good patch of oval (not near the pitch or nets), and put down a marker at the start of your run. Close your eyes and pretend that you’re running into bowl. Jump into your delivery stride when it feels right. Have your partner mark where your front foot lands. Repeat – the more times the better. Now measure your run- up. This is your perfect and ideal running length. You’ll need to practise heaps so that it becomes instinct. Later, you can count the strides of your run- up so you know where to mark the start of your run- ups in games.

FIELDING TIPS

EYES ON THE BALL

It seems pretty obvious, but key to being a good fielder is to keep your eyes on the ball. This is especially important when you’re taking a catch or running in to pick up the ball.

OUT OF THE SKY

For a skied catch, get under the ball as quickly as you can. Set your feet so that you’re nicely balanced and catch the ball with soft, well-spread hands. Pretend that you’re catching an egg – you don’t want hard, rigid hands. For high balls above the chest, catch with fingers pointing up. Try to catch the ball around about eye level. Or you can softly ‘cup’ the ball into your hands for catches taken lower down.

DON’T LET IT SLIP!

If you’re fielding in the slips or gully, stand with your knees bent, low and comfortable, arms out and hands in the downward cup position. When the ball is heading your way, move your head to be in line with the ball. Don’t scrunch your hands up; instead, keep them wide and open for taking the catch.

DIRECT HIT

If you’re fielding in close, you might be called on to run out the batter by a direct hit. It’s very exciting when this happens. As always, keep your eyes on the ball. Time your attack at the ball so the opposite foot to your throwing hand is alongside the ball when you pick it up. You should be leaning forward, low to the ground. Try to release the ball (underarm) as quickly as possible, aiming at the stumps. It all needs to happen in one, fluent motion. Easy? Nope. You’ll need to practise this one . . . heaps!

STEADY AND SOLID

If you’re fielding in the outfield and the ball is hit in your direction, quickly get in line with the ball’s path. You may need to move in swiftly as it might not be travelling very fast. Create a block or barrier by putting your opposite knee to your throwing arm on the ground then use both hands, stretched out with fingers pointing down, to trap the ball. Your knee is like your second defence, in case your hands miss the ball.

TIPS FOR THE KEEPER

Stand nice and comfortable with your feet shoulder width apart. Have spread fingers and hands inside your gloves. Pretend you’re drinking water by scooping it out of a huge bowl. Go into your crouch and watch the bowler. As the ball pitches, slowly rise and then watch the ball all the way into the gloves. Again, use nice soft hands, and take the ball back into your body a little once you’ve caught it.

ANCHOR YOUR FOOT

It’s very important that the wicketkeeper keeps his/her inside foot (the foot closest to the stumps) stable and steady so that he/she is able to get to the stumps quickly for a possible stumping. So reach with your outside foot to trap wider deliveries. Try to have access to the stumps at all times.

PROTECT THE KEEPER AND KNOW
YOUR RULES!

A wicketkeeper should always wear a mouthguard and helmet while playing. It’s essential that the keeper knows important rules about stumpings and run-outs. If the batter’s feet are outside the crease, then he/she can be stumped. Also, the ball must be in the keeper’s gloves for a stumping or run-out to happen. Finally, if the bails have somehow already fallen off, then the keeper would need to pull a stump out of the ground to cause a run-out!

HOW TO THROW A CRICKET BALL

Stand side on and balanced with your opposite foot forward. Pull your arm holding the ball back and up, then swing your arm through with your elbow in front of your hand. Imagine that your elbow is leading your hand. Try to use your hips and shoulders to get more drive. As you follow through, feel your weight drive onto your front leg. Your back leg should then follow through with a step and finish in front of you.

I WANT THE BALL!

You’re going to spend around 80% of your time playing cricket in the field! That’s a long time. It really helps if you like fielding, want the ball to come to you and are confident in what you do. This is perhaps the most important tip of all. Get skilled with your throwing, catching and ground fielding so that you do have that confidence and DO want the ball to come to you all the time!

ALL-ROUNDER TIPS

GET FIT!

Being an all-rounder, you’ll be expected to do plenty of batting and bowling. That means lots of time at the crease. Great all-rounders are fit people, so work on your fitness to ensure you have the stamina to see out the game.

GOOD TECHNIQUE!

Your role as a batter might vary quite a bit, depending on the state of the game. So it’s important that you have a really solid batting technique. Good, sharp foot work is essential, and having a strong forward and back defence shot is great for you to build your game around.

GOOD MINDS!

As well as being physically fit, having a positive attitude is beneficial to your game. Thinking positively means that you’re more likely to perform well. Self-talk that is affirmative (I can, I will) is much better than self-talk that is tentative (I’ll try, I might, maybe I can . . .).

GET TO THE PITCH!

When playing a front foot shot (defence or attack), try to get your foot (left foot for right-hand batters and right foot for left-hand batters) as close as possible to where the ball hits the pitch. Play these shots with your bat as close to your front pad as possible.

PRACTISE!

There are so many different ways to practise. It’s always best if you’ve got others with you. Out on the pitch, in the field or in the nets – they are all valuable and you should treat each session as an occasion to learn. Ask your coach to watch your batting, bowling and fielding techniques and seek advice. Listen to their suggestions and apply them to your game.

FILM IT!

Get someone to film your batting and bowling, then sit down with a coach or experienced cricketer and carefully study your technique. When you view the footage, you’ll likely see plenty of things yourself that you’ll want to work on to improve your game.

WATCH YOUR RUN-UP!

You want to avoid bowling no balls at all times. Measure your run-up at training and be confident in the number of steps required. Use a marker to show the top of your run-up. Make sure you do a couple of run-throughs at full pace before you start your over.

HIGH IN THE ARMS!

Many all-rounders are medium-pace bowlers. Three helpful habits to have as a bowler are to be nicely side-on as you deliver the ball, to have a good high front arm action, and to have a balanced follow-through. Work on developing a really good technique and let the pace come later.

BE A MACHINE!

If you have access to a bowling machine, lock it in on a particular line and length so you can work on your front foot shots (forward defence and drives) and then your back foot shots (back defence, cutting and pulling). Throw downs (where another player throws a ball at you) are another good way to drill out those batting strokes. Get it right in the nets and it’ll be good in the game!

TIP ‘N’ RUN!

Rotating the strike is so important. At practice, work on tapping the ball close to your feet and then setting off for a run. If you only go halfway up the pitch or the cricket nets, it doesn’t matter. It’s handy to simulate the real game and bat even when you’re a bit puffed.