Cricket is a skill-orientated sport. It is a sport that all levels of ability may participate in, ranging from under 9’s who play simple games such as ‘Kwik – Cricket’ to a Test Match that can last up to 5 days of continuous play.
A game of cricket requires 22 players and two umpires. A game requires a variety of skills and certain players specialise in different areas. Although everyone should be able to bat, you have specialist batters who play high order, attacking batters who play middle orders, and the bowlers generally go lower down the order. With bowling not everyone is needed so this is a specific skill. Bowlers are trained and well practised to either, spin, seam or swing the ball. Another area of skill is wicket keeping. However all players must be competent fielders as it is a key factor of a successful game.
The batters aim is to score runs and stay ‘in’. However whilst doing this the fielding team is trying to stop them by stopping balls, and trying to get the batter ‘out’. In the laws of cricket it states 10 separate ways of getting out. These are:-
* Caught – a fielder must catch the ball from a direct hit off the bat before it hits the ground
* Bowled – a bowler’s delivery must get through a batters defence, and dislodge the bails from the stumps
* LBW – Leg before wicket. If the umpire believes that if the batter had not put their leg in the way they would have been bowled, it is given as LBW
* Stumped – if a batter is out their crease the wicket keeper may take the bails off with the ball
* Run out – a fielder takes the bails off before the batter reaches the crease wen running (same as run outs in rounders or baseball)
* Timed out – a batter has 3 minutes to get to the wicket. If he is not there he can be given out
* Handled ball – a batter may not pick up the ball. It is seen as very unsporting to appeal for this if the batter is helping the fielders by picking up the ball from their feet.
* Hit Wicket – in the process of play if the batter dislodges the bails with their bat or body it is given out but still credited to the bowler
* Double hit – if the batter intentionally hits the ball twice it can be given out.
* Obstructing the field – The umpire can give a batsman out if he feels that the batsman has intentionally obstructed a member of the fielding side as they attempt to take a catch or effect a run out.
The laws of cricket are complicated and complex, and often integrated with one another, however when batting the main objective is to score runs and stay ‘in’. Once the fielders have appealed and the umpire has given you out, you must walk.
There are many different shots in cricket. These range from attacking to defending. Each must be used at the correct time with the correct footwork to fulfil its potential. Examples of the main shots are:-
* Front foot drive – the front foot drive can be played off the off side or the leg side. It can be played through the covers or played straight. It is an attacking shot that can be ‘lofted’ over a fielder’s head. This attacking shot can be used to score anything between one and six runs.
* Back foot drive – this again is an attacking shot. It usually isn’t used for such high scoring as the front foot as the batter can’t get his/her arms as free as they can when moving forwards.
* Cut Shot – the cut shot is a wide back foot shot on the off side. It can be played square tot he batter or just behind square. It is an attacking shot that hits from high to low to keep the ball moving fast but low to the ground.
* Pull Shot – the pull shot is another back foot shot. It is played to a short high ball. The batter moves back and across his/her wickets and swings from high to low to keep the ball near the ground. Another variation of this shot is the hook shot. This is when the ball bounces above chest height. The shot is played the same way just at a greater height.
* Forward Defence – this is a front foot shot. The batter relaxes their hands and allows ball to hit bat. There is no follow through of the bat. Although this is a defensive shot it can be used to get singles, pushing the ball into the gaps within the field.
* Backward Defence – this is a back foot shot used to defend the stumps. Again the hands are relaxed. This can also be used to push for singles.
* Leave – this isn’t thought to be an important shot. However it is crucial to show composure. If a batter doesn’t leave any wider balls then he/she can become impatient and hit a ball into the air, therefore increasing their chances of getting out.
Fielding is something everyone on a team must take part in. There are many skills in fielding, each must be performed well to assist the bowlers. Examples of skills are:-
* Short catching – used in the slips
* High catching – used further out when a ball is hit high in the air. The hands must be above head level and are often reversed.
* One handed intercepts – an attacking move. The fielder intercepts the ball with one hand next to the same foot as their hand then step forward and throw to the wicket keeper or bowler.
* Long barrier – this is a ‘long stop’. The fielder kneels down with their body behind the ball so that if they miss the ball with their hands it hits their body.
* Crow hop – this is the name of the movement when gaining momentum for a long over arm throw.
* Over arm throw – the elbow of the arm with the ball must be above shoulder height , while the other elbow points at the target. This is a baseball throwing technique and it avoids injury to the shoulder such as dislocating.
* Dives – when diving as a wicket keeper you must dive across and backwards. You then pull the ball close to your body and roll so as not to drop it. As a fielder for quick effective diving that assists a fast throw you must turn and dive landing on your forearms. This allows you to then quickly push up onto your knees so you can throw the ball in to the wicket keeper.
There are different types of bowling, fast, swing, seam, spin, and within these categories there are different types again; for example, off spin or away swing.
For my analysis I’m going to look at away swing bowling.
Away swing means that the ball will curve away from the batter towards the slips. The ball is held with the seam at an angle towards the slips with the thumb at the bottom on its side rather than flat. There are various different skills that make the finished action of bowling and in each one we are looking for specific things.
What is looked for
Run up (approach)
Rhythmic, steady run up. Professional cricketers are so precise about their run ups they use tape measures to measure the lengths, so as not to miss a cm out. One professional once asked BBC radio to record his footsteps in his run up. If he was ever bowling badly he would take out the tape at lunch/tea time and listen to them to get the rhythm
Bound must be upward rather than leaning backwards. Legs must be in position to land with feet either facing forwards, sideways or 45ï¿½. The body must be facing the same way as feet with arm ready to load.
The load of the ball must be a swift action that is tight to the body to decrease amount of time and space for error.
The point of release must be high above the body. It is after the feet have landed. The body/feet must not be twisted and the arm must be as high above the body as possible without forcing the head to fall out of the action.
This must go with the natural flow of momentum. It must go straight over the front foot with a straight head to make sure the bowler does not pull down the side of the seam so the seam stays upright.
For my assessment I’m going to analysis myself.
Name: Lizzie Gilthorpe
Position: All Rounder
Length of time played: 7 years
Achievements: U11, 12, 13, 15 Northumberland Boys County.
U15, Ladies Durham County
England U19 Trials 03
Team: South Northumberland U18
A good bowler
A good bowler should have the ability and accuracy to be consistent and controlled in their bowling. They should have the awareness to pick up on a batters weakness and use this to their advantage. A bowler should know the field placing they want. This relies on both the bowler and the batter so the bowler must be confident within their bowling and observant of the way a batter plays. The communication between the bowler and the captain should continue throughout a bowler’s innings making adjustments throughout the field as their ‘spell’ goes on.
Assessing my bowling
90% of the time this is correct however sometimes the rhythm is lost. Occasionally I step out and back in the run up, making a slight curve. This throws off the balance and creates an awkward ‘bouncy’ run.
The coil is a strong part of the action and is demonstrated well. Occasionally (mainly when tired or trying to hard) I can fall out of the coil therefore making the load, release etc difficult to complete successfully.
The load again is a strong part of the action. Although it isn’t as tight under the chin as it could be, it doesn’t fall out or throw the action backwards. On the whole it is very good. It could be made slightly tighter, but even without this it’s fine.
The release is one of the causes of back trouble. When landing from the coil going into release I can fall out putting strain on the lower back. This tends to push the ball down leg side rather than keeping it straight.
If the rest of the action is successful then in general so is the follow through. Sometimes I can twist on my front foot, again causing stress on the lower back but the majority of the time as long as the head is forward this is fine.
Majority of the time straight with away swing, occasionally slips down leg.
Strengths and Weaknesses
When tired tend to ‘dip-out’ of run up
Tight coil position with high take off jump
On landing, head can tend to fall out of action
Good load position
Front foot doesn’t always ‘snap’ down
Good 45 feet and body position
Without this snap it can twist rather than going straight
Accurate end result
When trying hard ball pushes down leg
Good variation of in and away swing
This needs to be rehearsed to be improved. The rhythm is lost for a number of reasons
1. Stride pattern and speed
2. Not keeping to straight lines
3. Awkward rhythm
To solve all three of these things the same drills can be done. Within the run up length cones are set out for each stride. This is the correct stride pattern and gives the bowler a guide as to where they should be speeding up. Having the cones in place means the bowler cant ‘duck out’ of the run up, therefore keeping it straight. The stride pattern generally helps to keep the rhythm right but if it doesn’t fully correct it the bowler should concentrate on keeping their head going forward
This picture shows a good high coil positioning. The jump is a good height above the stumps allowing a greater force when coming down. This will be correct as long as the rest of the action is correct. If the action goes wrong the head will have a tendency to fall out and the front foot to twist. This will aggravate back problems and make keeping the ball straight and swinging away difficult.
This picture shows the load. The load can tend to stray away from the body. It needs to be close into the body close to the chin. This stops the action slipping out. It also tends to stop the head falling out of position if the load is correct. This can be practised with simple repetitions of the action making sure the load is the correct place from walk throughs up to full speed.
These pictures demonstrate the point of release. Picture one shows the point of release in the wrong place. It shows the arm too far over the head causing the head to fall out and the back to arch. This has a knock on effect to the landing and the follow through and makes keeping the ball straight very difficult. The second shows an improved version of the release point. It is higher above the head, therefore straighter. This puts less pressure on the base of the spine and allows a smoother follow through. The way to practice this so it is correct is the same as the run up, if you keep the head straight it make getting the rest of the action correct easier. The same drill can be used for the practising as the approach, using cones on the head as a measure of how level the head is. This helps to keep the arm in the correct place therefore bringing it over to the correct point of release.
These pictures demonstrate the follow through.
Picture one shows a bad attempt at the follow through. It shows rotation over the front foot, which leads to falling out and back injury. This means the follow through isn’t straight and causes the ball to either go wide on the off side or to be pushed down leg.
Picture shows a more accurate attempt. It shows less rotation over the front foot and a smoother follow through. It allows a straighter follow through which means the ball goes straighter when released. The follow through is a vital element towards this as if it is left uncorrected it can cause a great deal of injury by falling out. The further the bowler falls out the more they will push the ball down leg side. To correct this error the bowler practices stamping their front foot down in walks throughs, then pulling it back slightly so that all the body weight goes over the top of the foot and the weight goes in a straight line, keeping the head upright.
Practice Session One
* Concentrating on the load, release and follow through of the ball, do walk throughs for a full session. Run up should not consist of more than a couple of paces.
* To start with the action should be slowly walked through, though it can then be developed to a very slow jog.
* Concentrating on the key points is essential. The load must be tight to the body, the head must be straight and the hand high to allow a good release and the front foot must be snapped down to stop rotation over the front foot.
* Take each part of the skill and concentrate on it individually, using a video camera to be able to assess the outcome.
* When concentrating on a level head cones can be used to measure this.
* Do the first walk through with one cone balanced on the top of the head. If this is completed successfully another cone can be added. Take this drill up to about 5 or 6 cones. Once it can be completed with non falling off video the action without the cones and note if there are any differences.
* Then try the action in a jog through. If the head dips out of the action then do the same drill only jogging rather than walking.
* When concentrating on the follow through first concentrate on the snap down of the front foot. This can be done through visualisation and allows practising the snap within walk throughs.
* It must be practised by stamping the front foot down then sliding it back slightly to allow the weight to go over the front foot in a straight line.
* This is then co-ordinated into a drill for a straight follow through. Setting cones down in a straight line up to for about 4 yards from the stumps, about 1 yard out, does this. This means that when following through you can’t fall out as you’d trip over the cones. It consciously keeps the bowler within the straight lines.
Stability and Strength Work
* Core stability is a key factor to progression. This will improve bowling especially as it will protect the back from injuries by strengthening the inner stomach muscles.
* These stability muscles are quickly progressed as they strengthen quickly.
* Lie on your