How to win at cricket – what the skipper really needs to know

This summer (every summer, it seems), questions were raised about Alistair Cook’s performance as captain of England.

And around the country, I suspect that (almost) every Club captain has been criticised, at some time in the season, for changing the bowling at the wrong time, for not changing the bowling, for setting the wrong field, for getting the batting order wrong, for picking the wrong team, for the wicket, for the teas…

Get it right, and everyone will say – “what a good team”; get it wrong, and it will be “find a new captain”.

So is it any wonder that we sometimes struggle to find volunteers to fill these essential Club roles?

The challenge, as with most cricket skills, is that talent alone (assuming you have any…) will only take you so far as a skipper – to become truly competent you need to practice.  And that means putting up your hand at the next AGM, taking the reins, and taking on the captaincy.  And hoping that the criticism you receive won’t be so depressing that you give up after one season, vowing never to stand as skipper ever again. Continue reading How to win at cricket – what the skipper really needs to know

Development squads in League cricket, bringing on the youngsters – can it work?

Last Saturday, in an unscheduled break in our League programme, my home Club fielded a mixed XI against a “development team” from another local Club.

We had an enjoyable game.  At least, we enjoyed the day, and the result; hopefully, the opposition enjoyed the opportunity to play on a 1st XI square, and the running commentary from one of our senior players – it seemed to go down OK.

Most of the batsmen had the chance to bat, and the bowlers to bowl, and those who wanted to run around got to chase the ball around the outfield.

Football on the big screen in the clubhouse, afterwards (why not the Test match highlights?), and I think it was agreed that we had as good a day of gentle cricket as we could have hoped for.

But what is the point of a development squad, and should you play friendly or competitive games?

Continue reading Development squads in League cricket, bringing on the youngsters – can it work?

Over rates…get on with it!

“Get on with it!”

All too often, as the over rate drops and the game drags, you will hear this cry from the stands, or the lone fielder stationed out on the boundary.

I have railed against slow over-rates before, without ever setting out in any detail what I thought needed to be done. Shouting “get on with it”, whilst heart-felt, doesn’t actually help!

Fines for slow rates, or penalty runs, can really only be applied when the game is run by independent match officials.

So –  can anything be done by the players to speed up the game? Continue reading Over rates…get on with it!