I like to use the “pairs” format as a basic structure for SSGs — batters in pairs, facing a fixed number of deliveries, if you are “out” you lose runs, but carry on batting.

But the immediate penalty for getting out can make some batters overly cautious, and we do want them to still play their strokes.

So this week I tried out an alternative sanction – if you are out, you have to swap to using a thin/practice/technique bat!

Batters who get out using the thin bat do face a runs penalty (I went with 10 runs, the equivalent of getting out twice +2) but in compensation any runs scored are doubled.

The intention was to make the “penalty” for getting out more tangible. In a fast moving game “-4 for getting out” can soon be forgotten; being obliged to use the thin bat focuses the mind!

The batter has to play a little more carefully, perhaps, but the bonus runs on offer should encourage some positive intent.

I had hoped that the bowling team might also be presented with a new challenge – the opportunity to make good on the call “one brings two”, by bowling at the stumps of the “new” batter using the thin bat.

This didn’t really happen on Saturday, but I think the experiment is worth repeating.

In our game at the weekend, the only batter to be dismissed when using the thin bat was actually run out…which sparked a debate as to whether or not the 10 run penalty should be applied!

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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