Thursday, November 02, 2006

How to score at faster run rates

Don't Panic. If the bowling is good with a new ball and the openers don't tear away, stay calm. The solid opening partnership is still an excellent base to work from. When the bowlers are on top it's more important to graft and stay in than try and rattle along at a fast rate.

Set a target. Knowing the par score for a ground and set smaller goals along the way to make it easier to achieve. This way you are focussed on time constraints from the first ball rather than a slow rate followed by a mad dash in the last few overs.

Get the order right. Batsmen like to know where they are batting in the order so changing things around should be a low priority. However, sometimes the situation might need a certain style of player to go in. Good players will always be happy to move the order in the interests of the team.

Bat to 11. 9, 10 and Jack may not be very skilled with the bat, but they can learn how to stay in to save games and give the strike to the other end to keep the run rate ticking over. Even the lower order need to have discipline and awareness of the game situation.

Rotate the strike. When a team is bowling well there is nothing more annoying than having quick singles taken. In club games there are always places to score a sneaky run (like targeting a weak fielder). It keeps the scoreboard going and with a bad ball an over punished you could get the rate up to 6 easily.

Keep talking. When I see batsmen not talking between overs I know the fielding side are on top. Talking allows you to stay focused on the task, relaxed and discuss scoring areas. It's also helpful for outgoing batsmen to advise the incoming player as they cross.

Know team strengths. Every player has a different style. Everyone should know their place in the team: Blockers should be prepared to run well and give the strike, hitters and nurdlers need to understand each other's roles and players in form can take more of the strike.

I must admit, it's a tall order to ask the average club side to reach the levels of a well drilled international team. But any side can focus on the basics and drag their run rate up to a level where you will become a considerably better batting side. Then all you need to do is take 10 wickets!

by David Hinchliffe, ECB Cricket Coach.

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