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Cricket Coaching Q&A by our readers and our Coach, Dec 2006

We have received the following Queries which have been answered by our Expert Coach M.R.Baig:

Dear sir,I am playing cricket for my office team as a keeper. I used to play cricket in my early age for school, college where I was a keeper.

But now you go on, age takes it toll.

The problem is that I am a little rusty now and I have been getting hit on my upper palm just below the fingers in my right hand as I am a righty which is quite painfull.

Please let me know the tips on receiving the ball technically in the palms and the follow through.

Piyush Kher


A. You must have proper inner gloves. Basically the palm should be covered with cotton package near the bed of the fingers. You shouldn’t catch the ball near the palm, you must receive the ball near the bed of the fingers.

Hi Mr Baig

My name is James Mitchell and i am 16 years old and a keen cricketer and i play for St.Helens Cricket Club in lancashire, England. i am the wicket keeper for my 3rds and 2nds team and i open the batting for the 3rds, i came across your Basic fundas of wicket keeping, chapter 3 and i found it very usefull. i have seen that you have shown 2 types of stance when keeping, on the toes and on the heels all this season i have used the stance on my toes, some of my coaches have advised me to carry on with this stance, but one of my coaches told me that the correct way is to be on your heels and showed me that most test keepers use this stance for example Gerient Jones and Kamran Akmal, but i have also seen that Adam Gilchrist is on his toes. Could you please give me advise on which you think is best and which technique can bring the best out of my potential, and any helpful tips to help me improve my batting would be great. Thanks a lot.
yours faithfully James.

A. You must follow the second stance – that is on the toes. On the heels, the weight goes on the back and it is difficult to have quick movements on either side of the wickets.

Hi im a wiket keeper for my club but i always drop dolly catches can you help [email protected]

A. When you are receiving the ball you must keep the eyes on the ball until it is in your hand. Many wicket keepers take away their eyes from the ball specially when they are keeping wickets for spinners.

HELLO,MY name is ZYED i am 17 years old from CALCUTTA,WEST BENGAL .IT WILL BE KING ENOUGH IF U PLEASE SOLVE MY PROBLEM. I had always dream of playing cricket in RANJI trophy or in domestic levels but due to some problems i could never join any cricket coaching or club AND even i have never played any under 13’s or under 16’s etc. but now i have no problem and wish to join cricket club ….BUT now i am 17..and my freinds says my age of playing cricket has gone..and if i join any cricket academy it will take many years to reach any higher level.. were as players of my age has already reached in that stage. IS IT TRUE ?…i am good player, and if i really play good cricket and practise hard is it not possible that i can play under 19 in 2 years…is my age not sufficient ?will any club will take me now?as boys play in the clubs since childhood. IS THERE ANY SCOPE FOR ME PLEASE REPLY !!



A. For learning anything, not only cricket , age is never a bar. And if you feel that you are starting the game at a very late age you have to work more hours to cover up for your lost time. You can definitely make it to higher level if you show the determination and dedication, you can get to the higher levels in just one year. So don’t get disheartened and work hard.

Dear SirAm Vinodh, 27, Bangalore. I keep reading on many coaching websites that one should never attempt to loft a over pitched delivery, why is that so? While i have succeeded many times, playing this shot, i have also got out. But, technically i could still not understand why such a premise is held. As such, when a batsman comes down the track, he does play the fall as if its over pitched (for a spinner).



A. When you are lifting the ball, the ball is not over pitched. The ball will be on a good length spot when you are playing the lofted shot which is why you get the timing and power. A ball which is under your head is a half volley and you cannot lift a half volley. So you cannot play lofted shot to that length.

Hi. My name is Owen Bidder and I help run a colts cricket team, Old Merchant Taylors Colts Cricket Club in Northwood, England.I read you articles on wicketkeeping with great interest. The colts we are with are 10 years old and are just starting to play matches and now we need a wicket keeper! What advice would you give me about starting my son, who is keen to be a keeper. Any advice or comments would be most welcome. I would like him, from the start, to get the correct basics and build on from there before he gets any bad habits!

Many thanks
Owen Bidder


A. You just go through our basic techniques of wicket keeping provided by us, the stances and receiving the ball.

i am a 20 year old boy from bhopal i started playing at the age of 14 but haven’t played since 3 years I want to joi an club now how should i prepare myself for it. do shadow & knocking really help? which one of these is better? aditya sehgal

A. First way of learning cricket is shadow practice. Second lesson is knocking, third lesson is net practice, fourth is match practice. Then you are ready for competitive cricket.

Hi,I came across your site and I must say that you are doing a great job. Congratulations! I am an opening batsman, 5′ 5″ tall and not very muscular. I have a couple of problems and am wondering if you could help me out:

1. If the ball is pitched up on the off-stump I do not have a problem playing the off-drive. But if it is pitched, say two stumps from the offstump, I have a problem getting forward AND across to play the cover drive. I get forward but usually fail to get across, and edge the ball. This despite taking a middle stump guard. I think I am not transferring my weight enough across. Do you have any drills or checklists to ensure that I transfer my weight across quicker?

2. I usually time the ball very well to hit ground shots, but my internal response goes awry when I try to drive over the top, and I end up spooning the ball weakly. Like I said, I am not very muscular, but my drives along the ground travel pretty quickly. And, I rely more on timing than power I think. Do you have any suggestions?

Great job, and many thanks.

Dileepan Narayanan


A. As an opener you have a short height, you must know the length of your stretch on the offside and mark a line and if the ball is away from that line leave that ball on its own. Play the strokes to balls which are within your reach and within that line. Whether you take a legstump or a middle stump guard, it doesn’t make any difference, you must know your stretch of your height. For transferring your weight quickly you need to practice regularly shadowing and knocking of that particular shot.

All the shots in not only cricket or any sport depends on timing not strength. So if your not muscular you need not worry about developing your muscles. Correct your technique of playing the lofted shots. You many not be middling the ball.

Evening. I have recently been voted vice-captain of my team. I read your piece and it was excellent. I have been wondering about field placements… how and when to apply different formations… I wondered if you can offer any advice on that?

A. The cricket field is divided into two halves – one is off side and the other is onside. All the bowlers have to be instructed or advised to bowl on the offside then if the ball is overpitched on the off stump , a cover fielder is placed. If the ball is good length on the offstump batsman will play defensively. If the ball is short pitched around off stump batsman play on the backfoot, a cover fielder is placed. If the bowler bowls a long hop in the off stump region, batsman plays the square cuts, a point and a thirdman are placed. So a captain or a bowler has to arrange four fielders atleast in the offside. So the captain and the bowler have five fielders for the bad balls which are down the legs. And most of the world bowlers are having their field on the offside and feeding the batsmen on their pads, a captain cannot arrange the field for the bad balls. I hope this game plan will make you a successful captain.

This is Ganeshpandi. Could you please give me some tips about the in, out and reverse swing in the bowling?Thanks in Advance,



A. You have to make sure that whether you are an inswing bowler or an outswing bowler and perfect in that art. Second thing is you have to bowl to your field which is an economical bowling. If you try to follow these two bowling techniques you can play upto test level. Reverse swing is an art wich you can learn at any later stages of your game. Try to learn and perfect one direction of swing.

Hello. My name is Alex and I’m 14 years old. I was reading the article on the batting basics but there are a few questions I have concerning some of the points you have said.

I am always looking for things I can add to my batting technique to make it more efficient. I read about the special ‘rotary’ technique that Sir Donald Bradman used, where for his backlift he would use his top hand to lever the bat up (using the bottom hand as a fulcrum) in the direction of gully, rather than the elbow bend over off-stump that you have recommended. From there he would use the wrists to move the bat towards him, in a smooth arc, until it was over off-stump, before bringing the bat down.

My first question is this – is this Bradman-style backlift method better or worse than the orthodox one that you have been talking about? Some websites I have found suggest that this “rotary” technique that Bradman used enhanced his bat-speed, balance etc. Do you think this is true? I do not think that any amount of natural talent could have made Bradman twice as good as the greatest modern batsmen, so there must have been something in his technique that made him better as well. And I find it hard to believe that the greatest batsman of all time could have had a faulty technique, so is it worth using this technique myself?My next question is about the batting grips. You have said that one should use the V grip when playing straight, and the O grip when playing horizontal-bat strokes for more power. Why would it be bad to use the O grip for straight-bat shots? As long as you have the proper technique, you would be able to hit the ball as hard as you liked for it to reach the boundary. How is it better to use the V grip when it can’t hit the ball with as much power?


Thanks very much.

A. See Bradman is a genius and we will advice any good cricketers not to follow the techniques of the genius. Our technique is a simple one which improves your game quicker and easy to follow and very comfortable through the natural movements. If you try to follow the techniques of genius, you can’t even learn one shot in 25 years.

For horizontal shots you require more power so u have to use the ‘O’ grip and for vertical bat shots, it requires more timing, you use the ‘V’ grip. It is more natural to grip the bat in the v shape and o shape depending on the length of the ball.

hello sir,
i am 19 old boy from Hyderabad .Sir my reaction time while batting and fielding in slips is very slow ,what should i need to eat and what kind of exersice should i do to improve. [email protected]

A. There are many agility exercises to improve the reflex actions for fielding and batting. If you follow the exercises sincerely, your reflex actions will improve. No medicines, no change of the food habits will improve reflex actions.

How to practice catches? I only ask some one to hit the ball towards me from 10 to 12 steps. Is there any other way that we can practice?

MR Baig : Practice on the wall with a tennis ball without your keeping gloves or use the catching gadgets.

Hi Mr BaigYou mentioned using catching gadgets for catching practise.could you be more specific what they are and under what name they are available from market.

Many thanks



A. We just have to find our ways to make catching gadgets, like u can some one to throw the ball on the pitch rollers, wooden cradles.

Hi,My name is Najam and I am writing to you from U.S.A.

My question is that if a fulltoss ball hit the top of the bails can it be called a ‘No Ball’ (if the umpire judges it to be above the waist height).?

Also, does the same rule applies for spinners?



A. Yes it is a noball for a pace bowler but not for a spinner. The rules applied are different for pace bowlers to save the batsmen from injuries as it is unfair to face beamers at a high speed. But if it is a slower delivery from pacers or a flighted delivery from spinners then it is not a no ball as it dips down and depending on whether the batsman could have got hurt to that.