Sunday 31 August 2014


Ground : Neelambal Subramaniam HSS – Division : II

Bluestar CC 197 for 9 in 37 Overs (M.Shanmuganathan 60, Sivalingam 34)

Lost to

Maratha CC 201 for 5 in 36.1 Overs (N.Rajkumar 42, M.Riyaj 34, Sachin 30 notout)


Ground : Periyar University “A” – Division : III

Sunil CC 252 for 6 in 45 Overs (Jayachandran 67, Chakravarthi 35, Sivaprakash 32, John Joel Prathap Singh 25 notout)


Dirty Dozen CC 161 allout in 40 Overs (Ramesh 35, Gowtham 30, Ramesh 4 for 10)


Ground : Periyar University “B” – Division : IV

S.R.Prabhakar Memorial CC 239 for 7 in 45 Overs (R.Gowtham 56, M.Balaji Sankar 50, K.Gunasekaran 43)

Lost to

Universal CC 242 for 8 in 44.3 Overs (S.Kaliappan 55, P.Selvakumar 38, M.R.Abuthagir 33)



Friday 29 August 2014

COACHING : Unlock Your Coaches' Code to Boost Your Cricket

Has your coach ever said something to you that you don't quite get?

Don't you feel like you are missing out because you can't decode it?

You are not alone.


Cricket is full of crazy terms and - thanks to better coach education - the number of these terms is increasing every season. It's easy for a coach to use words that don't resonate with you and leave you confused. Naturally, a good coach will pick up on this and adapt her language, but if your coach is an average communicator you have to do the decoding.

So, to help you make sense of "coachspeak", here is a glossary that goes beyond the well established terms and into the new stuff you might here when you are at nets.

·                     Areas. Line and length combined, usually used to describe a spell. "The bowler hit good areas in his first 5 overs".

·                     Backloading or baseball shot. A new type of shot taken from baseball where you shift weight from back to front foot and attempt to strike the ball.

·                     Block or hit. A description of a batting style where the batsman either defends the ball or tries to hit it for a boundary. There is no effort at rotating the strike.

·                     Blocked off. A general term to mean one part of the body is preventing smooth movement of another body part or the bat. For bowlers this usual means the front leg blocks off the hip. For batsmen the front leg can block off the bat swing in a drive.

·                     Channel. Line, particularly referring to the line on or just outside the off stump.

·                     Curtain Railing. When batting, a poor position of your bat for a defensive shot, too far to the leg side. You attempt to adjust last minute by moving your hands sideways. This usually causes an edge.

·                     Dropzone. An area on the field close to the striking batsman that is undefended by a fielder, allowing the batter to play a defensive shot and score a single.

·                     Falling away. A fault in your bowling action that causes the head to be outside the line of your body. This can cause injury and reduce accuracy.

·                     Falling over. A fault in your batting technique when attempting to front foot drive straight on on side. Your head is too far to the off side cause you to be off balance (or sometimes literally fall over) and making your foot position obstruct the swing of your bat. See: Blocked off

·                     Filthy. A very wide or short ball, or a batsman playing a shot across the line to a straight ball.

·                     Flaw. An error in technique that reduces performance.

·                     Hard hands. 1. A batting method where you try to hit the ball firmly in defence. This can be a technical flaw or a tactical attempt to Rotate the strike. 2. Attempting a catch by moving your hands towards the ball rather than letting the ball hit your hands in a relaxed way. The opposite is soft hands.

·                     Hit on the up. Hitting the ball when the bat is on the upswing in the follow through of the shot, usually a drive to a ball that is not full enough. It carries a risk but has most success on true pitches with little lateral movement

·                     Hitting under the eyes. See Play late

·                     Middle practice. Practice that is undertaken on a cricket field rather than in nets. It is designed to provide more realistic match style practice.

·                     Nick off. Edge the ball to wicketkeeper or slip.

·                     Non-negotiable. A basic technical point that applies in all but the most extreme circumstances.

·                     Play late. The process of hitting the ball when batting as late as possible, sometimes called Hitting under the eyes

·                     Play properly. An appeal to bat by hitting the ball straight in the traditionally accept manner, rather than try to hit across the line.

·                     Ready position. A stationary pose when fielding, wicketkeeping and batting where your knees and hips are flexed to prepare for quick movement.

·                     Red inker. When not out a batsman is said to have a Red inker. Often this is associated with defensive batting, or selfish batting that does not account for the match situation.

·                     Rotate the strike. The batter's ability to hit the ball and score a single or two regularly, particularly against good bowling that is usually defended.

·                     Soft hands. See Hard hands

·                     Squared up. When you attempt to play a shot while batting and your balance is incorrect, your hip and back leg can come through to bring you face on the to bowler.

·                     Uppish. A shot played that does not go on the ground, but also remains low at about knee or shin height.

·                     Weight shift. The process of moving your centre of gravity, usually forwards. For bowlers this happens between the back foot landing and release of the ball, for batsman this happens in every shot and is particularly noted in front foot driving.



Wednesday 27 August 2014

COACHING : 3 Delightfully Simple Ways to Spice Up Net Practice

There no worse practice than when a set of bowlers practice one element of the game; and the batters try to work on another element entirely. 

Disjointed net sessions are counterproductive because nobody gets what they want: least of all you as the coach.

But you can turn your bog standard net session into a fun, competitive, specific and highly functional practice

Just make these 3 simple changes to your practice approach.

1. Give it a name

Rather than just have a practice session, make sure everyone knows what the theme for the day is by giving it a name.

This can be in relation to a certain game format (T20 for example), a section of the game (playing of spin or Death Cricket) or a way of shifting an approach or mind-set within you team (Innovation Net – Batters experimenting with shots and bowlers trying new slower balls of angles on the crease).

  • It gets people thinking rather than just doing.
  • It allows you to be targeted at practice.

The result is lots of conversation, talking of plans, working things out and helps to keep a discipline to longer sessions.

2. Bat in pairs

Admit it, in your sessions not everyone gets a bat.

This is deftly avoided by batting in pairs, just as you do in a match. You can get through a whole squad in a 2 hour session by pairing up players.

Rotate the strike every 3rd ball by making the pair run a 3 or a quick single and with that you incorporate many functional elements of the game:

  • The effect of fatigue on decision making and an opportunity to work on coping strategies for fatigue
  • Bowlers bowling at a different batter who may require a different line, length or plan of attack
  • You can either bat people in the order that they bat on a weekend or a good idea is to occasionally pair up a top order batter with lower order players and you find that the lower order player learns by watching his partner up close.

A great tool for this method is BATEX.

3. 10 Point net sessions

Each batter starts with 10 points and can gain a point for performing a task well and loses a point for making an error. The batting session ends when the points run out and he/she reaches 0.

This puts a price on someone’s wicket, provides competition between players and means that a player has the opportunity to bat long if they are disciplined.


Plus Points:

  • Using feet to spin and hitting the ball cleanly past/over the bowlers head in a coned out area
  • Performing a well-executed drop and run single (Batter sprints 10 yards and then returns to the crease)
  • Hitting a boundary on the floor with a good connection

Minus Points:

  • Play and Miss
  • Hit on the pad
  • Dismissal (-3)


Lower the starting number as batters get better and better at managing the task or if time is limited for the session. Increase the difficulty to keep the net fresh and competition high

Play the 10 point game with a pair of batters to build partnerships that go on to work well in matches.

Make up your own plus and minus points based on areas of the game that you want the team to develop.

I once used this when Somerset were developing their spin play on turning pitches and a well-connected and controlled sweep was worth +2 points.

So now there is no need to have a dull net in the future.

They will all be competitive, challenging and enjoyable net practices that bring improved performances and better results come match day. 



COACHING : The Introvert's Guide to Thriving in Cricket

Do you recognise this in yourself, Mr/Miss Introverted Cricketer?

You want to be left alone to get on with your role. As a result you tend to be slightly apart from the team. You're not especially interested in the social side of the game, you prefer the challenge set to you by trying to score runs or take wickets.

And as for contributing to the team overall tactics or culture, you have deep and well-considered opinions that you keep very quiet about. Team meetings are a chore and you avoid them at all costs.

You thrive under your own steam.

This can come across - especially to the more socially minded players - as uptight, over-serious or maybe even rude: Think the classic accusation that "he only plays for his average".

You know it's just the way you are wired. So here are some ways to keep the social secretary happy whilst also contributing to the side as a team player and an individual.


Find your space

You play best alone, and get easily stressed in larger groups. That can a problem at a cricket match with 21 other players alongside spectators, umpires, coaches and the rest. The solution is to make some space for yourself that doesn't impact on others.

So, both before and after the match, put aside time for yourself. Read your book, go for a walk, or do whatever it is that relaxes you. If you try to go straight from a high energy situation to the game, you're going to have a hard time keeping your levels up. Equally, if you have something quiet to look forward to after the match, you are more likely to burn all your "social" energy up during the game.

You'll seem less aloof and more invloved in the team, even if you pass on the post-game party into the night after a win.

Check in, don't meet

As you don't like to pipe up when the group is large, your voice tend not to be heard in the team. However, you have opinions like everyone else. The way to get them across is one to one; that means"checking in" with people for informal chats over bombastic pre-game team talks or all-hands formal meetings.

Luckily in the game you have plenty of time to do this: Walk round the boundary with a couple of people when the team is batting. Stand at slip and chat to the keeper. Get to the ground early and speak with the coach before anyone else arrives.

You thrive in these moments and your thought-through gems are often gladly accepted by more spontaneous types.

Become the team thinker

And that brings us to the last point. You can improve your team-man reputation, and your team's performance by becoming the "go to" guy for thought out ideas and tactics.

Say the captain is an extrovert who loves flying by the seat of his pants. He may miss something obvious that you see clearly, but you don't have the confidence to get the word out. You can use the time between games to think your idea through, come up with compelling evidence through analysis and quietly present the idea to him before play next week.

As Bill Gates once said:

"If you’re clever you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert, which might be, say, being willing to go off for a few days and think about a tough problem, read everything you can, push yourself very hard to think out on the edge of that area."

It won't take long for the coach and captain to see you as the go to guy for planning and strategy ideas that are out of the box and based in common sense. In fact, your thoughtful, mindful nature makes you an excellent leader with tactical skills and great one-to-one interpersonal ability. You would be an excellent captain.

It's about playing to your strengths and understanding how your personality is just as important as your technical ability. If you can do that you are a long way further down the road to becoming an exceptional cricketer.



Monday 25 August 2014

SDCA LEAGUE SCORES Week #2 - 24.08.2014

Ground : Neelambal Subramaniam HSS – Division : II

Parks XI 170 allout in 39 Overs (Rahman 89, Mubarak 3 for 35)

Lost to

Maratha CC 174 for 6 in 35.3 Overs (Gopi 38, Riyaj 34)


Ground : Periyar University “A” – Division : III

Salvo CC 211 for 9 in 45 Overs (R.Govindan 51, R.Udhay Prakash 50, T.Sakthivel 43, Pradeep 3 for 30, Vasanthraj 3 for 37)


Pioneer CC 134 allout in 45 Overs (T.Sakthivel 3 for 40, K.Paramasivam 3 for 18)


Ground : Periyar University “B” – Division : V

Luckystar CC 135 allout in 45 Overs (N.N.Lalithkumar 34, K.Sakthivel 3 for 25)


Chemplast RC 83 allout in 45 Overs (K.Sakthivel 27, K.Dineshkumar 5 for 41, J.Kathiravan 3 for 15)


Saturday 23 August 2014

2014-15 : SDCA LEAGUE SCORES - 17.08.2014

Ground : Neelambal Subramaniam HSS – Division : III

Power CC 71 allout in 42 Overs (S.Kannan 4 for 8, Uday Shankar 3 for 13)

Lost to

Prime CC 75 for 4 in 9.3 Overs (N.Rathnagiri 28, J.Saravanan 3 for 21)


Ground : Periyar University “A” – Division : IV

Raj Friends CC 113 allout in 45 Overs (M.Kumar 55 notout, S.Krishnan 8 for 28)

Lost to

JSW RC 114 for 7 in 24 Overs (A.Mahendran 3 for 14)


Ground : Periyar University “B” – Division : V

Luckystar CC 171 allout in 45 Overs (S.Santhosh Kumar 68, V.Chakravarthi 3 for 26, L.Suresh Kumar 4 for 14)


S.K.Murugan CC 150 allout in 45 Overs (M.Ganesan 32, J.Kathiravan 4 for 30)



Wednesday 6 August 2014

COACHING : How to Improve Mental Toughness?

A recent study has looked at mental toughness through the eyes of cricketers and their coaches. The conclusions have given hope to millions of players.

The work comes from Junaid Iqbal at Leeds University, who researched the latest findings from sport psychology and combined them with experiences from coaches and players at all levels of the game.

His dissertation concluded that mental toughness underpins cricket ability at all levels, and it can be improved in anyone.

Once you know that, you are a step ahead of others still focused on technique alone.

So what does that mean from a practical standpoint?

Good players and coaches understand their game

Firstly, no matter how you define mental toughness, it's clear that the better you understand yourself, or the players you coach, the better a cricketer you will be.

Mental toughness is difficult to get a handle on because it changes between people. Some players are highly committed but lack confidence. Others have excellent concentration skills but are poor at dealing with failure. We all have a unique personality make up that goes far beyond the ability to "man up".

Add to this that some mental toughness traits can change over time: You gain or lose confidence, and you become more or less committed depending on your motivation.

At the very least you need to understand your own levels of:

  • Confidence: How do feel you can perform, even under pressure?
  • Commitment: How much effort are you putting in to improve?
  • Self-control: Can you stay calm and do "the right thing" on and off the field?
  • Concentration: How do you block out distractions and stay focused on your short and long term goals?

Mental toughness is integrated into training

That said, your personality is not a paper exercise. To become mentally tough as a cricketer you need to take your understanding and apply it in training.

We already know - through research - that focused work on developing mental strength will result in improved performance. Junaid found that coaches apply this through scenario training:

"Coaches must recognise the significance of pressure on performance and create adverse situations within training to ensure players are prepared for competition. Players must also engage and exert effort within these environments to overcome such scenarios. Strategies of mental toughness development are more effective, if applied in a cricketing context. Therefore coaches must... integrate it with technique. Consequently players can understand the applicability of the strategy and develop both technically and mentally to maximise performance."

Also, coaches in the study looked to the power of physical fitness:

"A coach believed physical factors impact mental toughness as quoted 'being super fit makes you think clearer' in pressure situations supporting Weisensteinner (2009) of physical fitness being positive to handling pressure."

However, there is no template as the reasons you play cricket, the level you play and the time you have must be taken into account when training.

There are simple "tricks"

So far, the picture of mental toughness is a complex one: It is about evolving player personality and motivations, and the ability of the coach to understand and serve each player individually.

The good news is that Junaid discovered there are still some simple tricks, or hacks, that can work right out of the box.

Players respond well to visualisation, repetition drills, and goal setting; all of which have increased mental toughness. You can put them into your game right away and start getting results quickly and consistently.

While these are great it's important not to think that they are the key to mental toughness. To conclude I'll let Junaid explain:

"Effective coaching practice is being able to and taking time in understanding personalities and which components of mental toughness must be targeted opposed to generalised strategies."



Friday 1 August 2014

FIELDING : How Moving House Reminds Me of Great Fielding Plans

I'm moving house. While I was chucking out all sorts of rubbish in preparation, I stumbled across a fielding outline document.

The file underpinned England's fielding team at the 2007 World Cup. I put it together with key fielders within that group which included Paul Nixon, Paul Collingwood and Jimmy Anderson.

It's a good read and may be something that you could think about doing with your team.

We started with a Goal or a Mission statement:

"To make an aggressive statement every time the ball comes to you; to save runs and put the batsman under pressure, always!"

We then listed the characteristics that we would like to adopt as a group:

  • Hunter
  • Predator
  • Athletic
  • Explosive
  • Focused

3 sections of the game

The group decided that we should split the 50 over game into 3 sections: Powerplays, the Accumulation phase and Death. Each section would require subtly different though processes, focuses and behaviours.

We aimed to keep this as simple as possible so everyone - even Ravi Bopara who is prone to lapses in concentration when fielding - could remember the key points.

We wanted this to happen so it would the plan would come to life out on the field.

Powerplay overs

  1. Always have a commitment to dive in the inner circle
  2. Have a huge desire to catch the ball. If we take a half chance in the first 15 overs then it saves us heaps of runs in the last 10
  3. Hunt for run outs. Especially after 2 or more dot balls. We discussed that running indecision is most likely to occur when the field is most tightly packed; so the incidence of a run out is high. Any run out in this phase of the game saves us runs in the final 10 overs.
  4. Hunt the man and Hunt the ball - let the batter feel your presence individually and collectively. A great example of this within the 2007 World Cup were the pairings of Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood for England and Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds of Australia. Rarely were these pairings far from each other. They hunted as a pair always and put pressure on every batting partnership.
  5. Every man has a role every ball. Get mobile.

Accumulation Phase

  1. Stay focused: Every run is a premium. If someone is sleeping then it is your responsibility to wake them!
  2. Boundary riders save 2 in this phase unless Vaughan (captain) says otherwise. This was important in the West Indies as the outfields are big and the grass is coarse, causing the ball to hold up.
  3. Keep making statements: every throw, every dive, every decision
  4. Two men chases for every ball
  5. Look for work (backing up/fielding in pairs/congratulating team mates)


  1. Key men in high traffic boundary riding positions (Anderson, Flintoff, Collingwood, Pietersen, Plunkett, Broad)
  2. Be aware of the batter on strike and what impact that has on your position
  3. Support the bowler and keep him focussed
  4. Hold the rope on the boundary unless Vaughan tells you otherwise

These statements were really simple yet really effective.

As a team we narrowly missed out on a semi final. Statistically (stump hits, run outs, catching %, runs saved) we came second in the competition behind World Champions, Australia.

This outline gave us focus, could a similar exercise start something special for your team?