Apr 22 2014
by Kevin Keys
How you can develop your fielding skills
Learn the skills and methods of fielding; don’t regard it as a minor part of the game.
The fitter you are the easier fielding will become.
Learn to concentrate. One way of doing this is to carefully study the batsmen. Ask yourself how you can help counter his strengths. If you believe you have seen something that your captain hasn’t, tell him, but not to excess. Remember these practices are to help you stay alert and involved in the fielding effort.
You should never force your captain to clap, wave, or call out to you to gain your attention if he wants to change your fielding position. Keep your eye on your captain and try to anticipate such moves.
Help to look after the ball
The following points will help prolong the shine and hardness of the new ball:
Keep it off the ground as much as possible by relaying it back to the bowler in the air.
If the ball is about to be returned from the deep by someone who does not have a strong throwing arm, go forward and catch his return before the ball bounces.
If you are relaying the ball to someone who is looking into the bright sun, roll the ball gently along the ground. Obviously this method will not be right if the outfield is damp.
Help keep the ball dry if the outfield is damp and if time permits, do your share of ball polishing.
Do not wander from your position
Do not move from where your captain has put you as he has put you in a certain position as part of his overall plan for the current bowler. In order to be sure of staying in position you need some sort of reference mark. Do not scratch a spot on the outfield with your spikes. Instead, look over the top of one of the sets of stumps to an object in the background to use as a reference mark for where you should be standing.
Keep a regular eye on the captain as he may want to move you to a new position without alerting the batters. If your captain wants you to move to a new position, move quickly so as not to hold up play.
Learn to anticipate
Practise anticipating a batter’s shot and the direction it will travel after being hit. Many a run can be saved in this way, as well as many a difficult catch turned into a reasonably straight-forward one, by learning the art of anticipation. The good batter is always looking for the gap between you and the next fieldsman. You must also be aware of this gap and the moment the batter make a move that indicates he is going for that gap, you should move to intercept the shot.
Be on your toes
Do this by walking forward as the bowler begins his run-up. This will help keep you mentally alert and ready to accelerate towards the ball if it travels off the bat in your direction. This is right for almost all fielding positions, even close catchers behind the wicket and the wicket-keeper when standing back to medium or fast bowlers. The fielders who must not do this are close catchers in front of the wicket such as short leg or silly mid-off.