How To Take Wickets In One-Day Cricket

Mohammad Shami celebrates the dismissal of Kevin O'Brien
Mohammad Shami has worked out how to take wickets in one-day cricket, but how can you do it this season?
©REUTERS / Action Images

These days, the funky advice is that you need to take wickets to win limited over games. Although this is not a new idea, it is one that has become a meme during the 2015 World Cup.

New batsmen need time to increase their scoring rate. So, while the one day format is about reducing scoring rate, the best way to do it is to have two new batsman at the crease. Plus at some point in the batting order, the quality of batsman is going to drop making it more difficult for them to score at the right rate.

Of course, attacking is also risky. If you don’t take those wickets you end up with two well set players smashing it all over.

So, how do you take wickets without taking too many risks?

Taking wickets in the opening overs

The first few overs present a problem. On one hand, with the ball fresh in your hand and the batsman at their most nervous you have a golden chance to take wickets. On the other hand, attacking too much can see the opposition gets off to a flyer.

Most teams take the route of cautious attack. With the ball pitched up, hitting the top of off stump. They have a couple of close catchers, maybe at slip. Everyone else is in the ring.

The bowler who gets some movement in the air or off the pitch could bowl a great opening spell and end up with 2 or 3 wickets. In swing and seam bowlers may prefer a short midwicket or square leg instead of second slip. Away swing bowlers could move point to gulley.

However, it’s important to be careful. If a batsman gets some shots away, look to defend the scoring quickly.

If fielding restrictions allow, a good tactic is get spin on early. Unlike the professional game, a club or school level player will be reluctant to go for all-out attack. This gives the spinner more confidence and you can frustrate the batsman into an error.

That thought brings us nicely onto the key to taking wickets in limited overs games.

Born of frustration: Taking wickets in the middle overs

Eventually your early advantage will run out and we enter the middle portion of the game. If cautious attack was the plan initially, defence is the key consideration from now on.

Remember your aim is to restrict the opposition to a low score, rather than bowl them out. The latter is nice, but former is essential. That means three methods of taking wickets:

  1. Luck. You are playing in conditions that are so friendly to your team you will easily outscore the opposition.
  2. Skill. You bowl a series of 'magic' balls that blow the opposition away.
  3. Frustration. You stop the opposition from scoring through defensive tactics and frustrate them into mistakes.

Most teams rarely are in a position to exploit the first two methods. However, almost all sides can use the third tactic.

This starts with what the professionals call the 'squeeze' field. It is so called because you are trying to squeeze the batsman's scoring rate by cutting off all their shots. There are no singles to be had and they have to be very precise to thread the ball through the small gaps in the field.

Most fielders are in the ring, with strategically placed boundary runners.

You will find good batsmen will try and hit over the top to get out of trouble. This carries a risk and could get you wickets. If someone is having success hitting over the top you can place a boundary fielder in their scoring area. Most club players are limited to where they can hit over the top so you should not need many players out.

Spin tactics

Spinners are excellent in limited over conditions because they have to be hit that much harder to go for runs. The batsman is forced to play more attacking shots and more likely to make a mistake. That said, if a player does get hold of spin bowling you can be hit to all parts.

This means the squeeze field for spinners has more men on the boundary but the tactic is the same: cut off the runs.

The key to this is to bowl on one side of the wicket and protect that area. Club batsmen are not good enough in most cases to hit both sides of the wicket effectively.

Dealing with the long handle: Taking wickets at the death

Bowling at the end of an innings is the least difficult time to take wickets. It's also the most likely time to get hit so many bowlers don't like it.

The tradition at the top level is to use the faster bowlers at the end. This is fine at lower levels as long as the bowler is accurate. Spinners can also be used if they are doing a good job. That is to say, hitting the target area (yorkers are always good) with confidence and accuracy (and not being afraid of going for a few).

It’s a good idea too.

© 2015 Pitchvision Academy

For more coaching tips, videos and courses, please visit the PitchVision Academy website

Chris Gayle Academy

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