May 8 2014
by Kevin Keys
Catches win matches
Good catching ability is vital for young cricketers. Note that you do not have to always practise catching with a cricket ball. Tennis balls are excellent for developing the skill of “soft hands”. If your hands are too “hard” a tennis ball will bounce out. Using a softball and a softball mitt are also good practice as they lessen the risk of finger injuries.
Remember, that each catch you put down effectively increases the number of players against you. You need to get 10 wickets to dismiss a team, don’t make it 15 by dropping five catches.
Use both hands
Always attempt to get two hands to the ball. Never catch with one hand unless it is absolutely necessary. The greater the surface area available to grip the ball increases the chances of making a successful catch.
Crossing the pitch
If you must cross the pitch between overs, do so right in the middle, where the ball does not usually pitch, to avoid causing damage that may affect the batters.
It is unsporting for any fielder to appeal if he is in no position to judge. Mid-wicket might be quite justified in appealing for a run-out or a stumping but is in no position to appeal for a leg-before-wicket or a finely-edged catch to the wicket-keeper. Likewise, a slip fielder has no right to scream out an appeal for a close run-out at the bowler’s end. When any member of the fielding team appeals, he is in effect saying to the umpire – “I really think, because I am in a good position to see, that the batter is out. Do you agree with me?”
Avoid the half-volley throw
Full-tosses and long-hops are equally easy for the wicket-keeper, but do not throw him, or especially the bowler, any half-volleys. No fielder wishes to bend unnecessarily, least of all the bowler who needs to be kept as fresh as possible. Half-volleys are easy to drop, even if they don’t result in over-throws, and make the fielding side look most untidy. They can also cause injury, especially to fingers and shins, if not cleanly caught.
Hide your throwing arm from the batter
An experienced batter will quickly try and assess the foot speed and throwing capabilities of each outfielder. This needs to become a battle of wits between you and the batter. If you use the power of your throwing arm and your speed of foot only when absolutely necessary, you may trick the batter into taking a risky run which ends in a run-out for your team.
Be careful not to give away any unnecessary overthrows by hurling the ball at the stumps just because the batter is out of his crease. Many a batter will bait you into having just such a “brain explosion”. So few of these throws result in run-outs, and so many in overthrows, that it is generally not worth the risk. So many quick singles turn into fives through this ill-discipline on the part of the fielder.