It's a little known fact that most club cricket games are won and lost with spinners.
The reason is that most club batsmen tend to have a decent defence and not many shots while most club seamers tend to not be good enough to fire out the opposition.
Sometimes you just have to practice alone.
There is no one around to train with but you are eager improve your skills. A bowler can go to a net with a box of balls and practice hitting a target. Batsmen are not as lucky because they need someone or something to feed a ball.
Lighter nights, warmer days and flowers blooming everywhere.
When spring arrives around these parts pre-season training begins in earnest.
How can you make the most of this critical period in your preparation?
Cricket at every level has never been faster.
The influence of Twenty20 cricket now demands batsman who score fast, spinners who turn it miles and, most importantly, bowlers who can blast out the opposition.
How do you get your pace to bullet train levels?
International cricket grounds in England are dotted with brushed metal containers on the edge of the boundary advertising the energy drink Red Bull.
The drink claims in its advertising to "give you wings" and Englandâ€™s Kevin Pietersen is on record as drinking a can before going out to bat. It's big business for the companies that sell them, but do energy drinks really help your cricket?
"Oh, I've given up bowling leg spin," the talented youngster said to me during the first game of the cricket season on a bright April day.
"I took up bowling pace in the winter at University and my coach says Iâ€™m pretty good."
Players, coaches or spectators roped in to umpire club cricket matches all want the same thing: To keep mistakes to the minimum and let the players enjoy the match. But it's tricky if you are not a qualified umpire.
No wonder you are a little reluctant to do it.
The simple way to look at placing the field it is to put the fielders where you think the ball is most likely to go (not always just where it has gone).
How do you do that without resorting to the stock fields that everyone uses?
Researchers at the University of Brighton are developing computer programmes to help batsmen cope better with fast bowlers.
Footage of bowlers is projected onto life-size screens and batsmen's reactions are analysed to help them develop the ability to read the bowler's pre-release delivery kinematics, or body movements, in order to anticipate the type, direction and length of delivery.
Effective ground fielding is a hallmark of the fine fielder. Knowing when to aggressively seek the run out and when to be more circumspect will get you the results your captain and team mates expect from you. The benefits are clear...
If your cricket team is anything like mine, success means a great deal. They may be amateurs but they still want to do well personally and in the league.
But playing well means training well: especially for those of us who are not lucky to have the skill of Ponting.
Time restrictions might stop you practising as much as a pro, but you can still train the way the top guys do.
There is no sight more pleasing than your yorker taking out a batsman's stumps. Like a sniper you can use a single yet fatal blow to cause destruction.
And itâ€™s a skill that when done at pace is worth a fortune because it wins you Twenty20 games (and there is no faster way to make a fortune than to show you can win IPL matches).
A bad butcher with a sharp knife is still a bad butcher.
And for cricket coaches, technology is the same: A shiny tool can make you feel like you are going to make a difference to players. But in reality the best thing technology can do is add to good coaching, not make bad coaches better.
Does this sound familiar?
You have been practising your catching like always before play. You stroll onto the field focused and confident that today you will catch everything that comes your way.
That is, until it does.
It's an increasingly common sight across the cricket fields of the world: games without draws.
These games are a totally different way of playing with their own tactical challenges for cricketers, especially captains.
The essential difference between a limited overs and a declaration match is that you don't need to bowl the opposition out to win the former.
A batsman who can use their feet effectively is a spinner's nightmare.
Spin is all about rhythm. You can easily upset that if you are able to move down the track to drive or rock right back to cut or pull.
However, the risk of moving out of your crease is that you can be stumped.
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:
Ian Botham, it was often said, was England's 'go to' bowler. He made things happen. He took wickets. Famously he often did it without bowling as well as others.
Beefy just had that magical touch.
While it would be impossible to plan to bowl a rank long hop that gets hit straight to backward point, there are some elements we can take from great go to bowlers of the past: