How many times have you played a club game where the scores are something like 227/3 dec. and 158/5 at stumps.
Totally one sided and totally dull?
Dull draws are avoided when the captain knows what he is doing and has the confidence to control the game.
So if you are a captain or bored player and want to know how to dodge draws and not waste your weekend afternoons blocking out, then read these top tips:
Decide your philosophy
Some teams want to avoid defeat first then go for the win second. You have to have an exceptional team (especially bowling) to do this.
If you don't you will draw more games.
The other approach is to go for the win and risk losing in the process. This way will see more exciting games and a lot less draws.
Although you should never bat first automatically, if conditions allow batting first gives you control because you can declare then put your opponents under pressure with attacking bowling and fields.
Don't pile on the runs
In Test cricket you rack up 400+ runs batting first.
This is great for first class players who have the time and bowling talent to get the batsmen out. In club cricket it's rare to have that skill level of bowler.
This means you need to set a target that is close enough to make the batters go for it but far enough away to give you room to bowl them out: A delicate but essential balance.
Whether you bowl first or second (especially second), your aim is to get 10 wickets. This means attacking as much as possible as long as possible.
Lots of close catchers, switched on fielding and bowlers who know they can sacrifice a few runs initially for the sake of wickets.
If wickets are not coming, mix things up.
Change bowlers, field placings and angles of attack: Be creative and keep thinking.
If runs are being scored and you are not taking wickets, make sure you defend to slow the scoring rate and frustrate set players.
Whatever you do, don't let it drift: Always attack new batsmen when you get a wicket.
Don't always go for the kill
If you are fielding first your aim is to take 10 wickets as quickly as possible at all times (which means going for the kill at all times).
However, fielding second means you need to strike a balance to keep the batting team in the game while they lose wickets.
If wickets fall too quickly they will go for the draw unless you have the confidence to keep them interested (and if your philosophy is to risk losing in order to win you should have).
Ideally the innings should finish with a couple of decent spinners. This is because spin is most effective later in the game and tail-enders can’t resist slower bowling.
Think like a bowler
All batters have limitations. If someone is getting a few runs examine his technique, cut off his favourite shot areas, work on a hunch as soon as someone comes in.
The worst that can happen is you are wrong and get hit for a 4.
At best you will be hailed a genius.
Know who is winning
At any stage in the 2nd innings, one team will be ahead. You need to know who is ahead so you can control things whether you are fielding or batting.
If you start the last 20 overs with 5 wickets and 80 runs to get and the sides are even, things are going to be close.
You know who your best players are. Plan around them but be prepared to throw your plans away if the situation changes.
Stay ahead of the game just as a chess grandmaster would do.
Ask yourself what you need to do to make things happen and what the other team will do to influence things their way.
Stick to these tips and you will be playing fun and exciting games at the weekend. And that’s what it’s all about.
by David Hinchliffe, PitchVision Academy
© 2011 miSport Ltd