Use The Front Arm Well to Give Consistency and Pace

buy Lyrica online cheap uk Pull Yourself a Pint on us…

Condoning drinking in an article that is aimed at increasing the performance of young and impressionable cricketers..? Well, it sounds like it, and indeed the connotations are there, however, this is intended as a visual representation to assist with performance, so don’t panic parents!

The sight of a row of bar pumps takes me right back to my very early days with my first cricket club and in particular the post-match visit to the village pub with my dad. The old wooden bar with the tall pumps and the beautifully illustrated ale labels fascinated me as a nine year old. My association with these strange handles that the cricketers gathered around discussing the days play were intrinsically linked to cricket, as it was always the way that the pub followed the cricket.

What can these pump handles possibly have to do with coaching cricket? It is a visualisation technique that I use with selected age groups to give the bowlers an idea of the front arm action. In the England v Australia 2nd Ladies Ashes ODI at Leicester on 4th July 2019, Dominic Cork identified a slight issue with Elise Perry’s front arm in delivery and I immediately thought of the bar pump! Cork noticed that Perry’s front arm was not pulling straight down the line of off stump and as a result, she was slightly falling away in her delivery. Therefore, there was enough loss of control of the ball to lose pace and any swing with the ever so slightly poor position at the point of delivery.

As we discussed in an earlier coaching article (still available on bowling is about straight lines, and getting the movement of all of the body parts, as near as possible, moving up and down a straight line towards the intended target. As soon as one part of the action deviates from this straight line, other parts of the action need to compensate, and quickly there is a loss of control of the ball, making consistency almost impossible.

Thinking about cricket – Wesley Durston and Patrick Latham

It was with regret that neither of us were able to attend HQ last Saturday (25 th May) for the Royal London One Day Cup Final between Somerset and Hampshire. With Somerset playing such a large part in our lives it would have been fantastic to be able to be there to watch this talented group of players lift the last One Day Cup trophy at Lord’s.


To give yourself a good chance as a bowler, if you can get the front arm working correctly, as with the head in batting, everything else pretty much follows suit and works down the same line. With young bowlers, I am very interested in what they do with their front arm, and how much they pull back past the hip, which is where the beer pump imagery comes in.

I ask the bowler to imagine that the off stump is the pump handle, and as the front arm bursts out from under the nose towards the target, imagine grabbing this handle and pulling back on it hard, bringing the elbow back past the hip, straight down the line as if the bowler is pulling a pint. The effect of the front arm working efficiently, and with effort, has a positive effect on the speed and direction at which the bowling arm comes over the top. The bowlers head is also very important here, working down the same line of the stumps, but with a good front arm action, the head position will be assisted. If the bowling arm is high and the fingers are strong behind the ball, the seam will stay upright which in turn will give the ball the best chance of swinging. When you have mastered this and you have worked out how much the ball is swinging in or out, you will need to adjust where your imaginary bar pump is at the batters end in order to set the ball off on a suitable line that it will end up hitting off stump at the far end.

Although this mental imagery is aimed at seam bowlers, it can also be useful for the spinners who, from time to time forget that a good pull back with the front arm can assist rotation and therefore help to impart more spin on the ball.

Good luck!

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Cricket: A Leading Edge for Captains is available as a paperback (£12.99) and eBook (£3.99) from Books are also from Walkers Bookshops in Oakham and Stamford, and from CM Cricket in Stoughton, Leicester.


England Are World Champions, Now It’s Our Turn 14.7.2019
What a day.. What an event.. What a game! Old Father Time, looking down from his lofty perch above the score box had never seen or heard the like at his old ground – I like to think that he secretly celebrated with the best of them last night in NW8!

These were truly monumental efforts by both teams, and whatever side you were on you could not escape the tension, the drama and the excitement of the whole occasion. For New Zealand, heartbreak – so near and yet so far. All efforts in vain in an incredibly close contest in which the main game, and the ‘mini game’ after were both tied on runs. Put aside the rulings on wickets lost, the controversy over runs being awarded correctly or incorrectly, decisions made right or wrong, number of boundaries hit and you have here a game of cricket that will surely never be replicated in any tournament, series or competition ever again. Those at the ground, those watching on TV or listening on radio will never forget the efforts of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes in England’s middle order in a game that looked all but lost, due to the incredible consistency and skill of the New Zealand bowlers making run scoring almost impossible. They will never forget the Trent Boult catch and subsequent treading on the boundary not long after the same player had dived millimetres away from the boundary at the other end to save a crucial 2 runs. The Jofra Archer first ball wide in the Super Over – what must have gone through his mind at that moment!? It literally had it all.

Above all I will remember the game for those examples of supreme skill execution by all players throughout the day. The ability for all the players to be able to stay calm under the most intense pressure the game can possibly put them under. How Buttler and Stokes did not panic after Eoin Morgan and Joe Root had both struggled against the immaculate line, length and control of de Grandehomme and co, but came up with a plan that they clearly believed in. T the majority of onlookers, it will have looked like the batters were falling further and further behind leaving the title ever more likely out of reach. Not so, and fast forward an hour or so and a high pressure pick up and throw to Jos Buttler waiting at the pavilion end saw a run out and the World Cup won by only a couple of yards of the Lord’s turf.

Incredible drama all round, and the legacy for cricket in the UK will last a generation at least. It is up to us, the current custodians of the game to assist the clubs and counties, schools and colleges to facilitate ad give opportunities for our population, young and old – boys and girls, to play and enjoy the game. Allow them to recreate those scenes on our playing fields and cricket grounds this summer and beyond. They will want to come and be Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jimmy Neesham, Tom Latham and Kane Williamson. Help them to create, recreate and experience, in their own imaginations, these scenarios. Encourage them to pick up a bat or a ball and have a go. This is the moment to capitalise on the interest. They are drawn in, and those who are not already hooked will be with both the upcoming women’s and men’s Ashes – not to mention the T20 Blast and County Championship conclusion!

It’s their time to get into the great game and we all have to help them and give them opportunity to experience it and encourage them when they pick up the equipment!

Good luck

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Cricket: A Leading Edge for Captains is available as a paperback (£12.99) and eBook (£3.99) from Books are also from Walkers Bookshops in Oakham and Stamford, and from CM Cricket in Stoughton, Leicester.

A Leading Edge XI vs The West Norfolk Cricket Club

A beautiful sunny afternoon at the start of the summer holidays and we find ourselves at the beautifully scenic Oakham Town CC in the heart of Rutland for the first ever A Leading Edge team to take to a cricket field. Our guests are the West Norfolk Cricket Club, run by and featuring members of the Stanton family on a short tour to the area.

The day was a great opportunity for like minded, mostly horribly out of form cricketers, to get together and shake the dust off a few jazz hats (featuring Felsted, Greshams, Oakham, Ipswich, Kimbolton amongst others).

The result, largely irrelevant, went in favour of the hosts by 3 wickets with just an over to go, but much enjoyment was had by all and the grounding for a new team was created for years to come.



3.7.19 was the date that A Leading Edge was fielded for the first time, and plans are now in place to put together teams of cricket coaches to play in a select fixture list of four or five fixtures over the summer of 2020. The qualification to play for A Leading Edge will be if you are an official cricket coach in school, college or university cricket. Both men and women will be very welcome to play for the side!

If you would like to register an interest to either play, umpire or score for A Leading Edge or if you would like to host a fixture against a potentially very strong wandering side featuring ex-internationals, county cricketers and high level club players, please contact Wes or Patrick at

Managing the Marked Bowler

However good your bowling unit is, there will always be one bowler identified as the weakest link, and good sides will always try to make the most of these overs. The commentators made numerous mentions in the India vs England World Cup match on Sunday 30th June that Hardyk Pandya was the weak link in the Indian bowling attack. It got us thinking about how the captain can deal with this particular bowler and how can they get the best out of them in the match.

Your weakest bowler on any given day might well be different given the pitch, weather conditions, size of boundary, etc.. In this World Cup, England have not played Moeen Ali in a couple of games in part due to the shortness of one or more of the boundaries. Not all teams have the luxury of resting a player as talented as Moeen, so in school or club circumstances, whatever the conditions, you will generally play the best XI available. The best sides will therefore know which bowlers they can look to get after and unsettle from the start. If the bowler is aware of the situation and has a good understanding of the game, they will also identify that it will be them that is likely to face an aggressive approach from the batters.

A lot will depend on the character of the player in these circumstances, but the captain has a role here to help with confidence and also protect his player as much as possible.

An understanding of the ground dimensions and taking into account the wind direction as a captain is important when deciding on which end your marked bowler bowls. For example, in asking an off spin bowler to bowl into the wind with short straight and leg side boundaries, you are inviting carnage. Give the bowler a little protection with the wind behind them, so the batter is hitting into the wind. Also try to give the off spin bowler the longer leg side boundary for some protection.

When you have identified at which end your marked bowler should bowl, you will need to consider how you can get the necessary amount of overs out of the bowler for the minimum of damage. It may well be that the bowler in question needs to bowl several short spells at low risk moments throughout the innings. For example, if you find yourself in a situation where there are two new batters at the crease, this is a great time to try to get a few overs out of the way. The danger of waiting, though, is that this situation may not arise and you find yourself in a position of having to bowl the bowler the opposition are looking to target at precisely the point in the innings where they are looking to accelerate, which, again, could spell disaster. If your bowler can get a couple of good overs out of the way at the start of the innings, where openers may be less likely to go hard from the first over, you can often get two overs out of the way then. If you spot a slower or more watchful batter and you find them on strike at the start of an over in a relatively quiet period of the game, you may be able to steal another over here. This will be the way throughout the innings, always looking for a good opportunity to get an over or two out the way.

This approach all sounds very negative, and in doing so, it may be that the bowler’s confidence wanes and self-expectation becomes low. In a positive slant, you should try to get the bowler to see that in a batter targeting a bowler, by definition they will be taking more chances and playing with increased risk. If you as captain can work out where each batter is looking to score and set the field accordingly, it will be likely that you create chances. If identified as the weaker bowler, it is important that he or she understands whilst they may go for a few runs, the chances of taking a wicket and breaking an important partnership may well be increased. Always give the bowler your vote of confidence that you think they will be the one to create a chance and give them a boost to their confidence. Every bowler likes to feel that their captain has them in their plan and to know that whilst they may go for a few runs, the belief is there that the chance will come off their bowling. The best part of all will be to see the batters face as they walk off in utter disgust at themselves! Have a look at these, which are evidence that a weaker bowler can induce a rash shot or a lapse in concentration…

AB DeVilliers, Dhoni, Gilchrist as wicket-takers

AB DeVilliers wicket taker vs New Zealand

Michael Atherton gets Graham Gooch

Top order batters breaking partnerships

Good luck!


Cricket: A Leading Edge for Captains is available as a paperback (£12.99) and eBook (£3.99) from Books are also from Walkers Bookshops in Oakham and Stamford, and from CM Cricket in Stoughton, Leicester.

Affecting a Run Out

Making the Most of Run Out Opportunities

It is a split second decision: bowler or ‘keeper? Get it right and with a good throw you affect the run out. Choose the wrong end and the chance goes begging. There was a fantastic example of a crucial run out opportunity wasted in the India v Pakistan match in the World Cup on Sunday 16th June at Old Trafford. The ball was hit towards deep midwicket and both batters set off for two, as the fielder approached the ball, the batters were thinking of turning for the second run. The striker, now at the non-striker’s end, after setting off for the second run changed his mind, leaving his partner way out of his ground. The fielder, either in panic, or listening to a call from a teammate, chose the wrong end and returned to the bowler, when even an average throw to the ‘keeper would have seen the wicket taken.

The stills below are from the India/Pakistan World Cup match and you can see the fielder has just picked up the ball on the blue advertising mat at midwicket.

The images are stopped at the point where the fielder is just about to release the ball. You can see the batter at the non-strikers end with his arm out sending his partner back. His partner is already committed to running towards the bowlers end for the second run, well on his way to being stranded half way down the wicket.

It is important to remember the context. This was a World Cup match, India v Pakistan and there had been a lot of hype in the build up to the match. It was still relatively early on in the game, so players would still have been feeling the early pressure of the occasion. However, there is a lesson to be learned here. This may or may not have been a match changing moment; we will never know, but being able to affect a run out in your own matches can indeed turn a game for your team.

As a fielder you will sense that there is a run out opportunity. You may have anticipated well and moved quickly to the ball, heard the batter’s call and know you have a chance. In this situation, it is easy to become tense, panic and either fumble the ball, not aim the throw suitably, or chose the wrong end in your rush to get the ball in the air.

Knowing which end to throw to can be something you can work out, or at least, have in your mind from quite early on, even before the ball has been bowled. For example, if it is obvious one player is quicker than the other, and the batters are running a hard two, you will more than likely be getting ready to throw at the end to which the slower batter is running. You can assist yourself here by approaching the ball and getting your body in a position to throw to the correct end.

Another good example of working out which end the opportunity might come at is by watching the shot the striker plays. By playing on the back foot, the batter’s momentum will be need to be shifted from one direction to the other before the run can be started, taking valuable time. The non-striker will already be backing up and therefore at the moment of impact, will have their momentum moving in the right direction, allowing them to complete the run more quickly. For a tight single, the best option will be the bowlers end, and for a two, possibly back at the ‘keeper’s end. You will know from experience, roughly, by how long it takes you to get to the ball, whether it is a tight single, an easy single, a long two or a tight two and be able to respond accordingly. During your approach to the ball you will, in your mind, be working this out and considering what end you are likely to be throwing to based on your mental calculations of time, distance, shot played, batters relative running speeds, etc.

As a fielder, keep an eye on how far the non-striker is backing up. There may be a chance of affecting a run out at the bowlers end if they are a batter who backs up a long way and you field a well-hit ball cleanly. Where a non-striker is backing up a long way, for tight singles, the non-striker will have far less ground to cover, therefore, the striker running to the non-strikers end will be the one who is the potential run out victim.

In the India v Pakistan example, the non-striker was the one who found himself in trouble as he had completed the first run more quickly due to good backing up. Because he turned first, for him there was a second run, but he had not considered the extra time it had taken the non-striker to reach the bowlers end. Had the fielder considered this scenario either before the ball had been bowled or on his journey to field the ball, he may have approached the ball knowing it was always going to be a tight 2, looked first to the ‘keeper’s end, and without doubt affected a run out even with an average throw.

You can give yourself a significant advantage in the field by watching how batters back up, run and even turn for two, working out scenarios before they happen.

Good luck!


Cricket: A Leading Edge for Captains is available as a paperback (£12.99) and eBook (£3.99) from Books are also from Walkers Bookshops in Oakham and Stamford, and from CM Cricket in Stoughton, Leicester.

A Load of Balls

I remember those net sessions, years ago, when I arrived late and had to make do with whatever ball I could find in the bag. I remember that ball was more often than not falling apart, bits of leather hanging off, the quarter seams beginning to separate and forget any chance of shining the ball! The general appearance of the ball was not necessarily the problem, it was normally the fact that it had been hit into the pond a few times and carried around by the groundsman’s dog all summer which had meant the ball had swelled up making it feel like a football in my hand.

As someone who, later in life, had the opportunity to select a match ball from the box of six, I always looked for the smallest, darkest one with the proudest seam, the one that in your hand you just felt was going to do some damage. Bowling with a ball that feels too big in your hand is something that every bowler will tell you they hate.

In my coaching, every year I deal with boys transitioning from U13 to U14 level and therefore trying to come to terms with using a 4 ¾ oz ball to a 5 ½ oz ball. It has to happen at some time and most have no problem at all with the change, so it is not necessarily the age group changing the ball size I am concerned with, more that it is so cut and dried. ‘You are now an U14 cricketer, therefore you have to use a bigger ball’, seems to me to be unfair on those boys and girls who may be developing physically at a slower rate to some of their peers.

Particularly I feel for spin bowlers who, if they are small in stature with small hands and fingers, have little or no chance of gripping the ball to impart appropriate spin or control. I am no leg spin bowler, but I feel young leg spinners of a shorter stature and therefore smaller hands find huge difficulty and are discouraged by lack of success as they move through the age group to U14 and U15. I worry how many give up at this point and therefore how many spin bowlers have been lost to the game around this age?

I would love to see at U14 and U15 level boys and girls having the choice of using a suitable size ball for them with which to bowl their overs. Allow the umpire to have a smaller ball in the middle that can be given to someone who is struggling with the bigger ball due to their size. In my current U14 team, I have boys ranging from 4’11” to 6’2”. I am not at all suggesting that the boy who looks me square in the eye and bowls nicely already with a 5 ½ oz ball be given the choice. I would however, love the boy pushing 5’ and quickly becoming disillusioned with his leg spin to have a 4 ¾ oz ball at his disposal for when he gets the opportunity to bowl.

Whilst catching may become slightly easier for the taller cricketers when a junior ball is being used, I feel that for the development, inclusion and encouragement of shorter players attempting to bowl, this is a fair trade off. It ensures those with some talent for spinning the ball are able to continue their development started in U10 and U11 through U14 and U15 age groups whilst minimising the dip in progress because their hands are not big enough the grip the larger ball adequately.


A Leading Edge is a series of educational cricket books written and illustrated by Patrick Latham and Wesley Durston. Their first book, ‘A Leading Edge for Captains’ written for younger captains looking to find out more about leadership and captaincy is available on Amazon as well as in a range of independent bookshops around the UK. ‘A Leading Edge for Bowlers’ is due for release later in 2019.

Catching the ‘Speccie’

Unless you’ve been living under a stone you will have seen Ben Stokes’s stunning catch at the Oval last week vs South Africa and you’ll continue to see it on the highlights reel of this World Cup. Simply put it was special. In this article I want to explore the steps it took for Stokes to be able to take ‘that’ catch.

In his own words he panicked as he was a little out of position, but he had the presence of mind not to panic before performing that magic moment. His athleticism is very high, he trains hard like all modern cricketers. Stokes is a tall man with big hands and in this situation that helps him as he’s able to counter jump backwards whilst maintaining eyes on the ball and he also knew to take it with his inside arm as it would give him more reach, but what’s stopping men or women, boys or girls, county or Saturday club cricketers from taking a very similar catch in the future.

I played cricket on Saturday and during our fielding warm-up one of my teammates asked me to hit him a high catch so he could take a catch like Stokes had done. I thought yeah that would be funny to watch but I also feared he’d leap high and bust a finger or land in a crumpled mess, dislocate his hip and we’d have to play with ten players! Ben Stokes (and others who have taken ‘worldie’ catches) don’t just ask the coach to hit a few so they can practice those type of catches. He will have spent hours a week since he was at school on basic catching techniques, the ‘boring’ stuff and got good and confident at those. The type of catches that you don’t drop. Of course, there will be times when they test themselves in training but that comes after thousands upon thousands of easier takes.

Ben Stokes doesn’t drop many catches as he’s very confident, he knows he’s done everything in training and in the warm-up before he enters the field. His concentration is very high therefore he’s totally prepared to take the routine catches during a match. As a result of this he’s also prepared for the magical catch. What I’ll say to anybody trying to emulate Stokes’s feat is that sure you may take 1 in 100 attempts at it but unless you’ve done all the practice don’t be too disappointed if you can’t do it in the vital moment during a game.


A Leading Edge is a series of educational cricket books written and illustrated by Patrick Latham and Wesley Durston. Their first book, ‘A Leading Edge for Captains’ written for younger captains looking to find out more about leadership and captaincy is available on Amazon as well as in a range of independent bookshops around the UK. ‘A Leading Edge for Bowlers’ is due for release later in 2019.

Success at The Old Club

It was with regret that neither of us were able to attend HQ last Saturday (25th May) for the Royal London One Day Cup Final between Somerset and Hampshire. With Somerset playing such a large part in our lives it would have been fantastic to be able to be there to watch this talented group of players lift the last One Day Cup trophy at Lord’s.

Happily, we have been able to get involved in a different way, and over the weekend whilst contemplating the huge achievement by the Somerset players after our school speech day and lifting a small glass of cider in appreciation, a blackbird landed on the roof and sang out loud. I had seen the celebrations and rendition of the Somerset CCC version of the Wurzels ‘Blackbird’ song down in front of the Edrich and Mound Stands at the Nursery end at Lord’s and it got me thinking about the blackbird singing from one of the highest points on the ground. That Somerset had finally achieved their moment at Lord’s, being able to celebrate with huge emotion and pride with a band of travelling West Country support on the biggest domestic stage, where every cricketer in the country would love to have been.

What then, could be an image that would sum up the weekend for The Club? Something simple that included reference to Lord’s, Somerset and the victory. We came up with this, which seems to have been received well. Thanks to Somerset & Somerset County Sports, this image will be seen by far more Somerset fans than we could have hoped to get it in front of, and, in agreement with SCS, there is something exciting coming your way involving this image!


We are both so pleased for a club where we both have very happy memories and a lasting strong connection. We hope The Club can go on from here this season with this great group of players and continue to do well in the Championship and also in the Vitality T20 Blast later in the season. Keep an eye out at Somerset County Sports for your chance to get hold of our image!

Enjoy the rest of the season!!


Over or Round?

Over or Round?

When working with younger bowlers, we often see them bowling over and round the wicket with little or no idea why they are doing it, or how this can affect their opportunities of taking a wicket. Whilst experimentation amongst learners is great to an extent, we wanted to look a little more closely at this and illustrate to younger players how by bowling round the wicket, particularly as a right arm bowler bowling at a right-hand batter, can reduce the chances of taking a wicket.

If we look at a right-arm away swing bowler bowling at a right-hand batter, under normal circumstances the bowler would bowl over the wicket. Under these conditions, the bowler will be looking claim the wicket in a variety of ways. By swinging the ball away from the bat, and with slips in place, a catch behind the wicket or in the slips cordon is likely. Plan A – caught. In an ideal world, (and in all away swing bowlers’ dreams) the ball starts off on a middle and leg stump line, swings away on the bounce and hits the top of off stump as the batter is turned around trying to hit the ball through mid-wicket: Plan B – bowled. For a seasoned away swing bowler, the pads can also be a target. To a batter who plants the front foot down the line of the stumps and allows their head to fall outside the line of the front foot, a ball pitching on the stumps and straightening with the swing is a threat as the bat inevitably travels across the line of the ball. Plan C – LBW.

The LBW dismissal is of interest to the away swing bowler, particularly later in the game maybe when the ball has stopped swinging quite so much. The ball delivered with an upright seam may nip around a little depending on the surface, so a delivery swinging away and darting back in is, again, slightly dreamy for the bowler; particularly if it beats a defence or drive to sneak through between bat and pad, but the front pad it definitely a target for the bowler.

If we look at the path of the ball bowled over the wicket, we can see that with some swing, all three dismissals are a possibility. Caught, bowled and LBW. Take this same delivery around the wicket and suddenly we can see that in order for the ball to hit the stumps, the ball needs to pitch outside the line of the leg stump, immediately ruling out the chance of LBW. Bowled is also far less likely around the wicket with the batter’s pads now being in the way of the stumps.

In our second book, ‘A Leading Edge for Bowlers’ (due out in summer 2019), we look far more in depth at the circumstances and reasons for bowling over or round the wicket. For younger bowlers, as a coach, I would generally encourage them to bowl over the wicket, developing some degree of consistency and control from one side of the wicket. Discourage them from bowling round the wicket and ask them to think about why they are doing it. Ask them to think about how they are planning to get the batter out, and then work out if bowling over or round will give them the best chance of achieving their goal. The reasons why right arm bowlers bowl round the wicket to right hand batters are varied, and in most cases not appropriate for bowlers learning the game. Whether left arm or right arm, encourage over the wicket as the standard. The complexities of bowling round the wicket can come later on.

Good luck


A Leading Edge is a series of educational cricket books written and illustrated by Patrick Latham and Wesley Durston. Their first book, ‘A Leading Edge for Captains’ written for younger captains looking to find out more about leadership and captaincy is available on Amazon as well as in a range of independent bookshops around the UK. ‘A Leading Edge for Bowlers’ is due for release later in 2019.

Getting the Field Right

It is not only junior players that find setting a field tricky. Quite often at club level you see basic errors in field placing which can result in unnecessary runs scored against the bowler. Setting the right field for your bowling will depend on a number of factors including the state of the game, the batters and their intentions, how much the ball is swinging or turning, the weather conditions and even the length of the grass on the outfield can all have an effect on how the bowler and captain position their fielders.

In our book, ‘A Leading Edge for Captains’, we look in depth at factors affecting field placing. Also included are typical field settings for each type of bowling including attacking and defensive fields for both right and left-handed batters. The purpose of this article is to draw attention to some of the basics and encourage bowlers and captains to think about where they might best position their fielders for their type of bowling and the match situation that they are likely to be involved in.

As a starting point, consider which way the ball is heading as you deliver it. If you are an off spinner or in-swing bowler bowling at a right handed batter, the ball is heading towards the leg side. A leg spinner or away swing bowler will see the ball moving towards the off side to a right-hander. You should get more of your players on the side into which the ball is moving, for example for a leg spinner to a right handed batter, generally five fielders on the off side and four on the leg side.

From this point on, consider where, if you bowl the line and length you intend to, where is the batter most likely to hit the ball. Take a 90° section of the ground where you are expecting the ball to go, and use this as the area of the ground where, if you bowl accurately to your plan, the ball is most likely to go. As an example to illustrate this, take a fast opening bowler aiming to swing the ball away from a right-hander in a longer format game. This bowler, on a quicker pitch, will be expecting the ball to go in a 90°arc between the slips and ‘keeper and square on the off side. It is no coincidence therefore that we see two or three slips, a gully, possibly a 3rd man and a cover point in this area for a bowler such as Dale Steyn or Jimmy Anderson. A total of six of the nine available fielders are placed in this area. This bowler might use the other three fielders at fine leg, midwicket and mid-off. Cover is likely to be left open encouraging the batter to drive into what will be seen as a big open space where easy runs can be scored. The batter who chases runs in this area runs the risk of edging through to the keeper or slips. The plan!

By contrast, the off spinner bowling to a right-handed batter will be expecting the ball to go into the 90° arc between straight mid-off and square leg. This bowler might employ fielders in the following positions: mid-off, mid-on, midwicket, square leg, deep square leg and short fine leg. Again, six fielders placed in the area where the ball is most likely to go. The remaining three positions could be point, short 3rd man and, depending on the state of the game and the amount the ball is turning, the last fielder may be positioned at slip, short square leg, silly point or cover. If the ball is turning, the bowler might leave a tempting space at cover to encourage the batter to drive at the ball, increasing the chances of bowling them between bat and pad. If the bowler is able to bowl an arm ball and balls that are turning, (attacking the inside and outside edge of the bat), a slip would be in the game. A batter who is poking forward with ‘hard hands’, i.e. pushing hard at the ball in defence rather than allowing the ball to come to them and playing it softly down into the ground might be a candidate for a silly point or short square leg.

The above examples are just two of many variations of fields that can be set. The key to setting a field is to consider where the bowler is trying to bowl and what the ball is doing, the state of the game and where the batter is looking to hit the ball. Also consider, are you trying to take wickets or defend the boundaries to give your team some control. It might be that for one batter you are looking to attack but for the other you are more defensive, allowing this batter a single to be able to bowl at the less accomplished batter.

With some thought, it is possible, without even knowing the names of the fielding positions, to get your players in roughly the right place. Before your game, plan out on a piece of paper where you think your fielders should be for a left or a right-hander. You should know if you will have the new ball in your hand, or if you are likely to come on in the middle overs, potentially against set batters. Come up with a plan for the situation in which you are likely to bowl, so that when your captain asks you what field you would like you are able to reel off the six main positions for the 90° arc, and you can place the other three based on where is best for the conditions.

Good luck!


A Leading Edge is a series of educational cricket books written and illustrated by Patrick Latham and Wesley Durston. Their first book, ‘A Leading Edge for Captains’ in which setting a field and field plans for all types of bowling are discussed at length is available on Amazon as well as in a range of independent bookshops around the UK.