May 29 2014
by Kevin Keys
Football or cricket?
Stopping the ball with your foot is a most untidy habit. It tells the batter and the spectators that you are a most unathletic competitor. Such a habit may be the form for “golden oldies” cricketers with their distended stomachs and their creaky knee joints, but not for a youthful cricketer like you.
Once you have sighted the ball – and only then – get under it as quickly as possible as it is much easier to take these catches if you are stationary rather than on the move. It is up to you to decide which technique to use, the traditional English-style palms-up cupping of the hands or the more recent Australian-style reverse cupping of the hands. One method is not superior to the other. Use whichever you are most comfortable with.
Wear a cap
Many a catch has been missed in the outfield by the fielder suddenly being blinded by the sun in his eyes.
The dropped catch
Nothing is more certain, no matter how hard you practise, than you will drop plenty of catches throughout your playing career. It is good manners on your part to apologise to the bowler and your skipper. An appropriate hand gesture will be sufficient.
A fair catch?
Occasionally there is doubt whether a fielder has caught the ball. As you will be playing in matches with non professional umpires who will not have the benefit of replay technology, you need to help the umpires. You will know beyond all reasonable doubt whether you made the catch or whether the ball touched the ground just before your hands. If it is no catch or you are genuinely unsure, say so.
When the ball is being thrown to either set of stumps, someone needs to back-up the throw to help prevent overthrows. Several of you may be able to do this, but it is the main responsibility of the fielder who is closest to being in an imaginary continuation of the straight line from thrower to the stumps. You must be close enough to the stumps to prevent extra runs being taken, but not so close as to be unable to get to a deflection or stop a high-bouncing ball.
Guard the stumps
There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a quick throw from one of the close-in fielders narrowly missing the stumps with no fielder there to stop the ball and remove the bails. This often affects the bowler, who will often stop and look at the action and not get back to the bowling end stumps ready to do his part in affecting a run-out.
Signal the umpire
If the ball beats you, as chasing fielder, to the boundary, signal the result to the umpire as he will probably be unsure whether it has crossed the boundary. Likewise, if there is uncertainty whether a skied shot is a four or a six, give the appropriate signal to the umpire.
Look after future pitches
Treat the entire pitch block (square) with care. Other pitches will be used after your match so do your utmost to avoid scarring their surfaces.