Jailbreak Cricket v2.0

Interesting tweet from Phil Kearney yesterday:

For me, the key line from the quote was “…as much of the game as the players can successfully manage…”

Which made me think of how my favourite practice game, Jailbreak Cricket can, sometimes, break down – we have been doing it wrong, all along!

Jailbreak Cricket vs 1.0 &1 1.1

I have posted several times on how Jailbreak (or Pavilion) cricket provides game-like challenges in a controlled (and constrained) environment.

We have played with “dynamic” jailbreak zones, and, more recently, with a “soft hands” zone for players who want to try playing a defensive stroke to release their jailed team mates.

And when it works, the batters really have to think about what they are doing, not just try to hit the ball as far as they can.

Break down

But the game has never really accommodated players who are less able to hit the JBZ with any degree of consistency.

Because we have been asking them to perform skills that they haven’t yet begun to have any confidence in.

Not fair on them, not conducive of “lots of goes, lots of variation”…just a lot of time in jail, for some of them, with no-one really able to spring them!

Jailbreak Cricket v2.0

So – Jailbreak Cricket v2.0 will utilise multiple JBZs, but in line.

Put the new JBZ (nJBZ) much closer to the batter (perhaps just 3-4m away) but perhaps make it smaller; do not allow fielders in front of nJBZ.  If the ball is played through nJBZ, just one player is released from jail.

Perhaps allow the batter to face another ball, as well, as a ball hit only just through nJBZ might well see them run out, and on their way to jail!

We do apply the “sacrifice” rule – a hit through JBZ that is caught by the fielding team will release any inmates but also sees the batter dismissed (and sent to jail).  A valuable learning opportunity for a batter who can consistently hit the ball but hits in the air; maybe not appropriate for batters who have been constrained to play more circumspectly, and are then dismissed for doing what they have been asked to do.

Retain the original JBZ, on the same line as nJBZ but 20m or more from the batter; allow a batter to release all of his jailed team mates with a single stroke.

Now, the less confident players can still achieve a jailbreak  by hitting the ball through a much closer target zone.  Our game now includes “…[only] as much of the game as the players can successfully manage…”

More able players might even choose to free a single team-mate in this way (so perhaps allow only one nJBZ hit in any one visit to the wicket, before the really smart ones work out that they can free a team single-handed by gently rolling the ball through nJBZ time and again).


I’m not sure when I will get the chance to test Jailbreak Cricket v2.0 (I am not working with any appropriate groups of players this term, so it might well have to wait until after Easter), but the intention is to introduce differentiation and more tactical challenges by the addition of two more cones…

If you get the chance to try Jailbreak Cricket v2.0, please do post the outcomes in Comments, below.


Published by Andrew Beaven

Cricket coach, fascinated by the possibilities offered by the game. More formally - ECB level 2 cricket coach; ECB National Programmes (All Stars & Dynamos Cricket) Activator Tutor; Chance to Shine & Team Up (cricket) deliverer; ECB ACO umpire.

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