Thursday, 26 October 2017

Batsmen of SEDCB region and how to get them out.

Tactics and Plans for Batsmen of SEDCB region
Last Updated 31/8/18 - 12,561 views;                29.07.18 - 8784 views:           16/6/18 - 3012 views:                 30/5/18 - 508 views

In this section of the blog, I list some of the batsmen I have to bowl at in our league and make suggestions as to how they might be dealt with when bowling. I'm looking to expose their strengths and weaknesses and suggest plans and strategies that might help other wrist-spinners in the SEDCB region.

Please note - You set these fields at your own risk. The owner of the blog is in no way responsible for you getting carted around the park for 4's and 6's. Seek professional advice and guidance if in doubt.

Mike Astles Hutton CC 4th XI (July 2018) 
His records on play cricket go back to1975! so he's very experienced. The situation in our game meant that he played in a particular way, but I got the sense that against spin he was particularly confident and was more than happy to come down the wicket and hit the ball on the full. In this game he was facing Brandon Debond (R/A finger-spin) and me. He played the ball on merit and any ball that was leg-side as to be expected he put it away and scored runs. As I recall I spoke to him when he wasn't on strike and asked him about his primary scoring shots and he said - cover-drive and a late cut. 
In this game I had a stiff wind blowing over my shoulder which assisted me and the wicket was offering some turn off the balls that I got out of the hand with some revs on. See this link here for score-sheets and a general account of the game.
The field set above was Lee Dutton's (Captain), which I was okay with. The key with anyone like this who is strong off their legs is not to bowl leg-side, so you need to be as accurate as possible which is pretty obvious, but easier said than done!

I wont be playing him again this season (2018), but if you're local to me and play in our league or recognise this style of batsman, this plan below might be of some use. (See the disclaimer at the top). The plan is pretty basic and probably suits the majority of orthodox batsmen, but as above the key is to keep the ball away from anywhere near being wide of the leg-stump and is reliant on a degree of accuracy. 
This is how I would approach him in the future. Ideally try and get a look at how he's playing other bowlers when you're in the field. His dismissals are primarily from catches
45.27% at the time of writing so varying the amount of over-spin to side-spin might be a useful approach - your top-spinner dropping short encouraging a miss-timed shot especially if he'd batting aggressively. If you do notice that he's not timing the ball too well, you might want to vary your line slightly and go for a more attacking leg-stump line. As always vary your length and line slightly and if you've got variations that you're able to control... use them, but sparingly - they are variations! 

He's got a lot of experience - been batting since 1975, so he seems quite happy to walk out of crease and hit you on the full so watch that. If you've got a keeper who you work with and who knows your game, maybe look at bowling a off-side wide if that becomes a problem?

With this field you're looking to get the edge and have him caught at slips or gully, or mis-time a ball to the fielders in the covers or mid-off. 

Keval Suchak Hutton CC 4th XI (July 2018) 
(Hopefully I've got the right bloke in the photograph)? Suchak's innings was short and sweet see here From the outset he looked like a walking wicket with one shot - a big heave - playing across the line to the leg-side. Which, goes to explain why on the Play cricket website (Double click his name above his photo) he's recorded as being bowled more times than any other dismissal (38%). Coming close behind is caught with 36% dismissals.  
The field setting for him and the conditions are slightly different to Mike Astles with some tweaks for the fact that he has one primary shot from what we saw...
I didn't have a slip, he was moved to the deep mid-wicket position having seen the previous over where every ball was intended to be a four through the leg-side. I got him LBW with full-ish Leg-Break that didn't grip and he'd already played through the shot - again trying to hoik it over mid-wicket.

The field-setting above were the Captains (Lee Dutton). I only got to bowl 2 balls at him a dot ball and then out


John Hearn   Benfleet 3rd XI (June 2018).
His records on play cricket go back to 1995, so he's experienced. He played well in our game as you can see from his wagon wheel. He was able to manoeuvre the ball into the gaps with some really nice shots. The late cuts I thought were pretty clever.
At no point did he look like he was going to get himself out and as you can see he had a good cover-drive. Unfortunately I didn't write this up at the time and I've had to play catch up, so some of this may be a bit vague. As I recall he didn't move his feet that much, but played me with soft hands fending the ball off into the pitch if it looked threatening - he may have stepped or reached forwards to the ball. Anything loose and he had the ability to manuovre the ball into very precise gaps. Several of my balls went through the 3rd man zone via a nice little late cut that he has.

William Dale RHB 
Billericay 4th XI (June 2018)

I didn't get a picture of this bloke, but he's one of their young players - probably about 14 years old and he's the opener. In our game he scored 51. I wasn't deployed in the game as a bowler until the very last over and the captain commented at the end of the game "Why on earth wasn't you used"? All the bowling that Dale faced was seam bowling. For such a young player he was very good and he adapted to the game situation as it went along. He started with a bloke that was a few years older than he was, but despite that it looked as though Dale was calling the shots and dictating how they approached the game.

Initially he took a positive/aggressive approach to playing - looking to split the field and score 4's through the gaps. One of the shots that he looked to play consistently was the cover-drive, but I was fdieling there and that's one of my favorite positions and I blocked (possibly) every single shot he played through that region. He then adapted his game and played cut and pull-shots with which he had more, but limited success as our captain placed the fielders accordingly (Brian Waterman). Dale then spoke to the other bloke and they changed tactics again, now looking for singles and this worked in their favour. For such a young player he was exceptionally confident and well organised.

Here's his pitch map...
The red dot indicates the batsman.

His strongest shot and the one that he played with the most finesse was his cover-drive, but it was played so well the ball was hit through virtually the exact same zone each time. All you need to do to negate it is to field in that area, but several yards deeper to give the impression that there's a run to be had each time. This also gives the impression of if you're so far out and the ball is hit cleanly it may evade you because it may be slightly wide. By being initially so far out you invite the chance of the run and the shot, but as the bowler runs in, you move in significantly (I actually trot in). This increases the chance of you being able to stop any ball either side of you as you narrow the angles and it means you end up in a position to stop the single. 

My suggestion as a Wrist-Spinner would be to try this field here...
No.1 play to the kids ego. He has a good cover-drive, bowl the ball over the wicket. Initially try and impart less spin and look to entice that cover-drive. Have your fielder at No.8 and have him walk-in as described above to cut off any balls that are hit well. It may be worth bowling relatively flat in the early stages of the plan and allow him to get bat on the ball. Have your best and fastest fielder at deep backward-point and a good catcher at point for the cut-shot as the ball is fairly uppish with that shot.

If he takes the bait and has the confidence to drive... start to toss the ball up more, give it some flight and put more spin on it and in theory given that the drive is his best shot by a long way, he should edge one through to your keeper, slips or Gully. 

I've thought about this a bit more and another approach would be to leave the cover-drive area open to really encourage the drive. You might go for a few runs, but all the time he's driving there's a chance you're going to get him. Modified wagon wheel below...

Geoff Davison RHB - Opening batsman for Hadleigh and Thundersley CC

Below - Davison's primary scoring area...
On the day we played, the strip that had been prepared was the one closest to the artificial wicket and therefore one of the shortest boundaries. I bowled from the Graveyard end, but could have asked for the Estate End? The only thing is, dependent on how long the grass is, or how wet it is, the opposite end provides a slope for the ball to run down, but on balance it may have been the better option?

Geoff Davision if you look him up on Play Cricket, you'll see that in the past he's been no slouch with the bat over his career and this year (2017) he was captain of the 4th XI and this game he was one of the openers. For us this was a season at our new Ground at Holy Cross in Basildon. Davison was out of for 23 trapped LBW to Ryan Davies who swings the ball. Perhaps one of his weaknesses is swing bowling?

In the first 12 overs, where he faced medium and medium/fast bowling the run-rate was 2 an over, all of the balls on or around the off-stump line seemed to cause him a problem - he erred towards caution with these. His strongest shots were leg-side, where had the advantage of a short boundary and most of his - if not all of his 4's were through that region... square-leg and through fine-leg (See illustration above). We were at a big disadvantage as we were at least a fielder down through-out their innings. 

Against me, despite bowling poorly because of an injury picked up in the first game of the season - he again, chose to play with a high level of caution looking to get off strike to allow the more aggressive John Newman (See below) to play his attacking role. On an extremely bad day for me he managed to score one run off of me in 3 overs looking to hand the strike to the other bloke who was looking to ruin me. Whether his approach is usual or not is speculation, maybe it was down to the fact that it was one of the earliest games in the season? But, the overall sense was that he massively favoured leg-side shots and appeared to be weak on the off-side - looking to leave the ball when possible. 

Historically he looks a good player - last year he scored 279 averaging 17.44 with a high score of 37. Looking at his data over the last 3 or 4 years it appears that as a batsman he is on the wane and progressively scored less runs year on year. The data on play cricket is as follows...

Bowled - 28.8%

Caught 40.76%
LBW - 14.13%
Stumped 1.63%
Not out 7.6%

This is his all-time data and takes into account his good years 2004 and 2005. Other info of interest is that in 75% of his games he scores 0-9 runs and the last time he had a good innings was 2015 where he scored 78 against Belhus cc. 

I have to reiterate that he almost exclusively scored his runs in our game through the regions as illustrated, clipping the ball off his legs. As with most batsmen at this level, you're going to starve him of runs if you can keep the ball off the leg-side and pads. Anything leg-side for this bloke is obviously playing to his strength. 

Cautious approach - plan #1

Players 1 and 8 - make sure these are on the boundary at the start and use your players who are going to be quick off the mark and willing to put in the dive to save a boundary. Keep these blokes there until you're sure you're bowling a half decent line - look to bowl as I and our openers did - on or outside of the off-stump. I don't recall the ball being in the air much for his leg-side shots, but the stats would suggest otherwise (40% of his dismissals historically being down to catches) so have your blokes on the leg-side agile, with the ability to take catches. 

For Davison look to try and get him to hit the ball through the area 'Zone A' and have your fielders ready for the catches (40% of his dismissals are from catches). When I bowled at him he was happy to not play the ball, just watch it and see if it turned. At the start of the season I was already injured and was bowling poorly and slowly, so he had plenty of time to see what the ball was doing. If you are bowling well, after your first over, bring up 1 and 8 onto the edge of the ring and mid off (9) close in as well. Given that he goes for so high a percentage to catches, it kind of indicates that he doesn't time the ball that well, so variations in speed might be a tactic along with bowling with more over-spin intermittently. In this instance he was happy to sit back and watch the ball, so a straighter ball (Top-spinner if bowled sparingly) may have been a good ball, as would a surprise straight ball like a Flipper or if you've got one a Googly. 

If the ball is turning as it was on this occasion, another approach would be to bowl at him from a position close to the wickets stump to stump with your stock ball, especially if he's sitting back watching it turn away from the off-stump. Remember though he's looking for the loose ball to put away down the leg-side, so try and bowl consistently - vary these deliveries in speed, but keep them spinning and turning away, then come wider on the crease and then try pitch one angled across the stumps that might then straighten up and get him LBW or bowled. 

Jonathan Newman.
Looking at the data on Play Cricket he's been playing since 2005 and plays across all the teams from 1st XI up to the 4th XI where I've had to bowl against him. In the game I came up against him in, he scored 54, eventually bowled by Sam Good and caught by younger sonJoe. In 2017 he was ranked the 10th highest batsmen in the club. He averaged 31.56 in 2017. His all time average in 19.75.

Historically he's usually bowled - 47.83% of his dismissals.
Caught 37.2%
Stumped 0.48%
LBW 2.9%

Caught 70%
Bowled 20%
Not out 10%

In our game back in May he opened along with Geoff Davison (See above) and struggled with the bowling of my Younger son Joe and Tim Edmonds. Both bowlers bowling a good line just on or outside of the off-stump. In the first 10 overs the run rate was kept very low at 2.3 and over. The fours as I recall were all off of loose leg-side balls and like Davison, Newman didn't seem to have any shots through the off-side and looked to be struggling against both of the openers in that region. Again, as with Davison, the balls on the leg-side were put away for four easily.

Admittedly when I came on the I got off to a poor start - bowling leg-side and was hit through the on-side for a 4 and a six by Newman in my first over (See diagram below). 

I don't recall any decent off-side shots and where I went for dots against him these were balls outside of the off-stump.

The image above shows Newnham's primary scoring areas. The 4's and 6's against me were all hit on-side in the zone indicated - between mid-wicket and mid-on.

Newnham was dismissed on 54 by Sam Good, Sam's a good bowler - seam bowler, accurate and pacy and Newham got under the ball and lofted it straight to my son Joe at Mid-on half-way. Possibly a slightly slower ball being his un-doing.

Goes well against poor leg-spin (Very poor leg-spin in this instance!) I reckon on a different day I'd have had him, Any balls on and around the off-stump are going to cause this bloke problems. He seemed to be very reluctant to play any shots on the offside and left anything that was not threatening the stumps.

If you're accurate and you can target that area you're going to offer a threat it would seem? It may be that as the season goes on he gets better? If, you've got a couple of variations, it may only take a change of pace and you're going to be in the game. Other options to consider would be to subtly move around the wicket, especially with your stock ball, bowl from close in to the stumps, so that the ball goes away from him and load up your field on the off-side. Then creep wider still turning the ball, just don't get it on his legs. A top-spinner if you've got it will be useful, especially if he's still looking to be aggressive and starts to get to the ball, just put a load of top-spin on one of your small leg-breaks or bowl a one with just over-spin and he should be a candidate for one that'll just go straight-up, If you do this move you field so you've got a deep mid off and on. Needless to say a Wrong-un, is going to be an asset if bowled sparingly.

 If I meet him again I'll be looking at using a field along the lines of the illustration below...

I'd start with this field pitching it on a length to induce the drive,  He didn't seem comfortable with driving on the off-side or have any shots for the off-side especially for the quicks. With me, even though I was bowling really badly he waited for the balls on the legs and wide of the legs and these were dealt with aggressively. Towards the end of my 3 over spell he was dancing down the wicket hitting 4's and a 6. I'd already surrendered at this point and was happy to be taken out of the attack.

If he was timing the ball well and coming down the wicket and I wasn't injured, I'd go for the top-spinner and an over-spun leg-break and put 8 and 7 in the deep at mid-on and mid-off.

Please note you set these fields at your own risk, the owner of the blog is in no way responsible for you getting carted around the park for 4's and sixes. Seek professional guidance if in doubt.

PicturePaul Howlett - Orsett & Thurrock cc 
I've faced this bloke before and Dutton our captain has too and we knew that he was half decent. If you check him out on Playcricket the data for last year is as follows...

In 12 innings he scored 326, his high score was 104 and he had two innings of 50+.
It seems that there's a collective sense amongst their team that Wrist-spin is their nemesis? This info came about from having a conversation with one of their players.

The analysis here is somewhat flawed in that we only had 8 players, so he was able to play with a degree of freedom and scored 74 not out on what was a pretty good wicket. The observations that I made (See the illustration below) was that he had two dominant scoring areas. Primarily leg-side between mid-wicket and mid-on, so this is where you want your fastest and most agile fielders, The shots in this area were either along the ground for 4 or big 6's.

The other shot that I saw was really nice late cut, not hit aggressively, but deftly between point and slips, so a man in at Gully would negate this shot. The key thing though is that he doesn't have a good off-side shot to any bowling - spin or pace given the evidence I saw in our first match of the season against Orsett and Thurrock, with only one strong shot being played through that region that I cut off and kept to a single fielding at Mid-off about 1/2 way out.

Update August 2017.

See match report here

This time around thing were more weighted on our side, we had a full team and a helpful wicket and one that was offering some turn off the wicket if you spun it enough. Unlike J.Hart especially who batted well Howlett was in a rush, as mentioned before he's quite aggressive and is looking to go big leg-side. In this game almost every shot was legside in the region indicated. No sixes were scored - the ball falling just short of the boundary. I nearly had him caught at conventional square leg (Covered up in this diagram) in my first over with a ball that didn't turn much and cramped him up and looped up in the air, but the ball was put down. The ball that got him was on the off stump line and he was looking to get it over the leg-side as usual. The ball was easily taken by one of our younger players Josh Debond. 

Plan A I'd set the field as below. (Bowler is No.1). The observations that I've made this season would indicate that he sees himself as an aggressive player that looks to get on with it - especially against spin. He sees his strength as being able to go big on the leg side through the zone indicated by the darker shade in the diagram (A). So a key point for me or anyone bowling at him is to starve him of these leg-side shots, try and get him to play through the off-side, which he seems to be reluctant to do. As in the game on the 19th, he'll then try and sit back in the crease, see where the ball is spinning and attempt to hit it through the leg-side - playing it late.

Bowl over the stumps using your stock delivery. If you playing against him at home, the wicket is good for spinners with variable bounce and it turns if you're putting revs on the ball. I'd start wide on the crease angling it in at the off-stump, varying the amount of over-spin with side-spin. I'd then move across the crease bowling in from a position tighter to the stumps, so that the ball turns away from the bat more and the straighter variation threatens the stumps. This should then frustrate him if you're drying up the runs and he might then go looking for his leg-side shots. With this off-side line he then struggles and the ball starts to get hit in the air all over the place and anyone close in on the bat has a chance.

Warne would take this a step further and would leave the bloke at deep mid-wicket (9) out of the equation leaving a gaping great hole on the leg-side - begging him to have a go. It's definitely an idea if you're able to bowl a tight off-side line, because he really struggles with fetching it from outside of off and getting it away - massive potential for miss-hitting it. Other factors that play into your hands are the state of the game - if he walks out needing to get runs, he'll try and go big, he doesn't seem to be the kind of bloke that's ready and willing to build an innings - he's looking to make a big impact quick.

My preferred option though would be to get him driving and get him edged to the keeper or slips.

Currently working on these blokes...

Horndon on the Hill Batsmen

Lee Kooyman – Primarily their opener. Experienced player been around since 1999, played for Orsett previously. At the time of writing had played 141 games and had 2249 runs to his name and an average of 24.18. His high score is 90 and has accrued 11 x 50’s. Aggressive player with 49 fours recorded.
Dismissals - 9% bowled, 60% caught, LBW 6%, Stumped 1%, Run-out 5% and 16% Not outs.

His weakness looking at this is that he is primarily dismissed being caught, this might be in part down to the fact that he looks to be aggressive with a lot of 50's to his credit. Looks as though he may be a solid player against spin and isn't easily drawn out of his wicket for a stumping?
Keith Hawkes
Another one of those players that they spread around the teams, sometimes plays 2nd XI, so is obviously considered a half decent player. But in comparison to Kooyman nowhere near the same calibre. Hawkes has played 40 games and accrued 550 runs. Has only ever scored 50 runs twice and has an average of 16.67. The records indicate that he's a more cautious player as he has never hit a 6 and has only ever hit 1 four in his career which spans only 4 seasons.
Dismissals - 16% bowled, 66% caught, LBW 5%, Stumped 2% and 8% not outs.

Keith Klein - Batsman Hadleigh and Thundersley cc 4th XI

Our game with Hadleigh and Thundersley was a miserable affair and was abandoned because of the rain. But off the back of it and digging around looking at the players on Play Cricket it's highlighted an obvious reason for it being so bloody miserable!

 Because the game was abandoned, the only real positive to come out of it was the research into the batsman who totally dominated the game. 

Anyway the bloke this week was good...

 Keith Klein
Keith Klein Hadleigh and Thundersley 4th XI batsman

Arrived at the game in humid sunshine with the promise of rain later via the internet weather reports. Looking around at the team with the exception of Jai and Tony we had no seam bowlers and definitely no-one of the kind of speed that Joe bowls at (This was written the first week that Joe moved up from the 4th XI to the 3rd XI). I was optimistic initially. The toss was had and we fielded first, which was a relief because of not having a lot in the bowling dept. we also had very little in the way of batting.

It didn’t go that well, 30 overs in and with the score at 190 for 5. The rain saved us and the match was abandoned. The only thing useful to come out of it was that we all got to see what their man Keith Klein could do with the bat. Initially, he looked a bit susceptible to being weak on the leg-side and that might be worth exploring when he first gets to the crease, but a couple of overs in and Klein having had a look and with me bowling, he moved up 3 gears. Looking at the diagram below - off of my bowling (this was generally true of everyone), he hit down the ground mostly on the on-side. Nothing massive – he didn’t seem to be looking to hit sixes, just nice tidy fours, hit hard and mostly along the ground – straight drives. With the other bowlers, he seemed to hit them through the 7% area (Covers) where I fielded later in the game and we were able to slow his progress by spreading the field out and allowing the single and getting him off-strike.

With my slow leg-spin he was coming  down the wicket and hitting me through the 90% area – he hit me for at least five fours through those areas. Needless to say, I was taken off after 3 overs having gone for 10 an over, but in the last over, my 4th ball was one of my off-spinning Flippers and I almost got him, the ball clipping the inside edge of his bat I think and almost hitting the off-stump. The bloke looked up and acknowledged it… “Good ball” he conceded.

I came on again later for the last over - just as the rain came when Klein was still there with another bloke K.Jenkinson, who’d seemingly gone up the order. Again, this bloke Jenkinson played with real intent looking to come after me, not quite as adept as Klein, but still looking to score runs and get on top of me.

Coming away from this and reflecting on it, the ball that made the difference was that off-spinning delivery which I’d pretty much given up on in recent games, partly because it doesn’t often turn that much, but on this occasion, it was spot on and it’s a delivery that I bowl a little faster. I’ve been looking at which deliveries to work on aside from the leg-break and this may be worth looking at along with a more top-spinning leg-break?
Post Match Trauma

To be honest I was feeling really down about this game and the fact that I was so ineffective and went for so many runs off of this one bloke. But, I’ve been able to console myself with the fact that this bloke is pretty good… Up until recently he’s generally played 2nd XI cricket, last year he played 5 or 6 games and at least half of those were 2nd and 3rd XI games. He’s got records that go back to 1988, so he’s got experience. Furthermore, in his recorded games he’s scored 7 x 100’s and 19 x 50’s. His all-time average is 32.02 and historically he’s contributed to 16% of the teams runs. His high score of 162 was in the 2nd XI. One of the things I noticed was that he was very low risk player – his fours were all pretty much played late and along the ground and this is further evidenced in that in his career, despite scoring almost 4000 runs the Play Cricket records suggest that he’s only ever hit three sixes, whereas he’s recorded as having scored 95 x 4’s. So I feel a lot better now in that he’s a really good batsman and I nearly had him with my off-spinning Flipper!

I kept digging further to see how good he was in comparison to our blokes. Our best batsman as far as I can make out is Paul Singleton AKA Elvis, he’s not played as long as this bloke, but Paul’s records go back to 1999, but Klein still runs rings round Paul so this bloke is really good, you kind of have to ask why the hell is he playing in the 4th XI? Our match was so miserable – no-one enjoyed it, because the bloke was so obviously playing on a different planet than us, strikes me as one of the easiest ways of losing kids from the game and adults too?

Anyway a bit of a plan if I ever face the nightmare that is Keith Klein...
Defensive plan for Keith Klein (Bowler is '1').

The key is variation. I was bowling stock leg-breaks and they were turning a little, he seemed to prefer playing off the front foot and he was prepared to come out of the crease to a lot of my balls and hit me through the area indicated by the diagram above. Having now seen how good he is I would be cautious about trying to attack via a wide ball outside of leg. Admittedly I bowl very slow, so if you bowl in the 40-45mph speed range and get the ball to turn you could use the Shane Warne approach where you try different lines of attack and move around the crease for your release point.

He's probably of a level where he watches the ball for the direction of spin and may be able to pick your variation from the hand. For this field bowl on the stumps - kind of middle and leg - force him to play. Don't show your hand early with your variation, save it for about the 3rd over in and then try it, because he is watchful and he admitted that I nearly got him because he wasn't concentrating and watching the ball.

The field above is primarily defensive, the idea being that you absorb the favoured shot through the 90% area allowing the single as we did eventually and then look to keep him off strike.

Attacking plan for Keith Klein (Theoretically).

 Some of the other bowlers including one of our younger players (No.5)  did a lot better than me (No.3) with really inconsistent bowling, especially outside the off-stump. Incidentally bowler No.2 was Tony Keep who bowls at the stumps - medium pace, varying the speed and length and uses swing and movement off the seam. He did really well.
So, it may be that you might fair better hiding the ball outside of off - as a 'Bob each way' approach. If you bowl consistently it might be a different story, so varying what you do could be key to any success, as I mentioned earlier I nearly got him with my variation.

Clive Franklin (Hutton cc 4thXI).
Bowled against Clive Franklin early May at their home ground in Hutton. (See update at end for 28/7/18) We only managed to get 8 players onto the field and they had a full team, so we were totally scuppered from the outset. We won the toss and Dutton Opted to bat. I'd have had a bowl, just to get the practice in! 

I was in an alleged 3rd XI team for this game, but with so many players down it was more like a weak 4th XI team. We were all out for 74 off of 33 overs. We didn't bother with tea and went straight into the bowling. I took the only wicket (Aman Gupta) (See details here), with a catch taken off the bottom edge by the wicket keeper, from a cross bat shot. But Franklin was a different prospect.

See below for a pitch map of his scoring areas...
Primarily you can see the his favoured shots in this situation were legside, but you have to factor in that our bowling was a little ordinary and we had virtually no fielders. We had a young wrist-spinner Joe Plumb who came round the wicket to him, pitching all of his ball outside of leg exclusively which was bread and butter for Franklin, given that the field was spread so thin and two of the 3 fielders on that side were over 55 years old!

The same as everyone else I was given 2 overs and bowled a few at Franklin and the was able to beat the bat and cause more of a problem bowling at the stumps and outside of off. The ball or two that did beat the bat were those that were pitched up outside of off which he could have left, but he still went after them. Whether that would be his normal mode of play I'm not sure, but give that the field was pretty much as you can see in the image above it was pretty much a win, win situation if he'd got the bat on the ball. 

The scoring shots played against me were a late cut down towards 3rd man for a single and the four was a cover drive where we had our youngest fielder trying to cover Mid-off, extra cover and cover on his own.
In a different situation I would probably err towards consistently bowling a on or around the off-stump with a field set accordingly. The impression I have and you have to remember this is based on very minimal information gathered in an unusual scenario... 8 blokes in the field, is that he favours leg-side shots. As I recall, they were executed well, pretty much along the ground. Almost all of his shots were played in the same manner, nothing extravagant, well executed and low risk. Having said that, if you look at his dismissals on play cricket, you'll see that his favourite way of getting out is to be caught. With that in mind and the observations made, next time I'll be looking to use the following field...
Overall, he's an half decent batsman scoring almost 16% of his teams runs. He's played since at least 2000 (The records only go back that far). He's score 22 x 50's and 1 x 100. He's had 13 ducks and as mentioned previously favours being caught as his main dismissal. His team respect him and see him as being a key asset to them with a good range of shots. 
Playing leg-side; From what I saw on a wicket that had very little to offer in the way of help from the surface he's good through the leg-side - full tosses, anything slow and loopy all pretty much hit for 4 with low risk. This might be his bread and butter shot?

Late cut - This shot was used a fair bit, but can easily be negated with an appropriate field and may offer opportunities for the 50% catch factor?

I don't think he's a player that looks to come at you, I didn't notice him come down the crease once and his dismissals from stumpings only account for 3.55%. For us it's useful to know that he has a cover-drive and I would imagine like most people likes playing it and gets great satisfaction out of playing it and scoring 4's with it perhaps? This I reckon is the key to getting him out along with the fact that his leg-side shots may be his bread and butter shots?

1. Use the field above in the diagram. Initially bowl over the wicket close to the stumps and see if the wicket is offering anything on or outside of off, let him see the ball turn and judge whether you're bowling slow enough for him to work with it. If you're able to settle in the first over do the Shane Warne thing and move around the wicket using the full width of the crease bowling close in on the stumps and as wide as possible. Change the pace and flight, change the degree of over-spin or side spin.

2. Dependent on how he approaches your bowling and how effective he is bowl to your field looking to get him driving through the gap provided, even consider making the gap bigger by moving cover to cover-point and or mid-off finer, almost in line with you the bowler. 

3. The field should limit the amount of runs to be made through the off-side. If you have a variation - Googly, Flipper or Top-Spinner, throw one up sporadically, especially if you're able to get on top of him and cause him problems, he should with a 50% catching dismissal rate get himself out readily.

4. If he starts to try and sweep you, the man at 45 needs to be one of your faster fielders looking to stop paddle sweeps and Mid-on should be brought in a lot close for the top edge that goes straight up. If the sweep shot is used bowl with more over-spin, get the ball to dip more and turn less. The dip should cause him to miss-time the ball, play it too early and be caught. 

Update 2nd encounter. (Home game Holy Cross).
A completely different affair and I forgot to have a look at the blog to implement my plans, not that it mattered as you'll see...
27th July Hot and sunny during one of the hottest summers ever here in the UK. See general account of the game here

The update for Clive Franklin and future posts will be on a seperate blog dedicated to batsmen and plans for them as this is becoming too big. Have a look at the new format here 

Double click on the image below for the analysis of this bloke - Taylor Wood - Harlow Town CC

Double click on the image below for the analysis of Robert Pearne - Stanford-Le-Hope cc

Thanks to everyone that is viewing this post and blog, the amount of views it's getting is pretty impressive. 


  1. Hi Dave, like the new blog

  2. Yes! The comments work! Cheers SLA for doing that, I'll probably delete the comment as it seems there's a limit to 5 comments, still need to check all the settings - I may be able to increase the comment capacity. There's a lot of work though to do on the blog, transferring it all over. I'm also noticing that the links are often dead - not doubt people with websites that get fed-up with paying for them. So a lot to do over the coming weeks and months.

  3. This is great analysis Dave and far more advanced that the kind of stuff people usually dribble on about on BC.

    My suggestion to you now would be to try to generalise your findings. Its impractical to have a dossier on every batsman in Essex - it would be more helpful to you if you were able to identify that when you see batsman of type "X", then you need to use strategy "Y".

    So you might be in a game, and before you come on to bowl, you might think "oh this bloke bats a bit like Paul Howlett, therefore when I come on I need to make sure I try to get him driving" or something like that.

    So you might eventually come up with a list of different "types" of batsmen and develop a different plan for each: The nurdler. The prodder. The leg side slogger, the bloke who hangs on the back foot. The bloke who charges up the wicket. The bloke who backs away to leg and smears everything through point. The bloke who looks like he has never batted before in his life. The bloke who watched a youtube video on playing spin and now tries to sweep 3 balls an over. The super "correct" batsman with the classic technique high elbow. The "star" batsman who expects to score a ton every game.

  4. Cheers SLA, I'll definitely consider that over the coming season and it sounds a lot more practical than identifying every single batsman, a lot less time-consuming. I reckon it's a skill that you develop though from playing the game lots. Your 'Star' batsman for instance I wouldn't be sure what I'd be looking for in him other than he'd take his time, be fairly risk adverse, but ready to put away the bad ball, perhaps have 4 good shots that he seemed to be able to target gaps with... That kind of thing?

  5. Aye, if he is clearly just waiting for bad balls, then simply don't bowl any bad balls, and you will bowl maiden after maiden and win the game for your team that way.

    Your skipper should be able to tell you if the oppo have one really good bat who scores all their runs. I think more likely this type of bat will want to impose himself on the game by hitting lots of boundaries so that he can get his ton before he runs out of overs. Best tactic is to try to keep him off strike! Put men back saving two, give him a single off the first ball of the over, and then bowl dots at the bloke at the other end. They'll soon start bickering with each other. With any luck, he'll get frustrated at the slow sacoring rate and try to hit a 6 and end up giving a catch on the boundary.

  6. Yeah our regular skipper plays he usually knows who's going to score runs, there's usually a couple of them. Yeah we usually deploy the tactic of letting the better bat have the single so that we can target the lesser batsman. It's rare that I'm able to bowl dot ball after dot ball and being 4th XI and usually one of the weakest teams in the league, we just haven't got blokes that are that quick and agile enough in the field to restrict the bats to dot balls. Most of us including me to be honest would count ourselves as being lucky if we were to cling onto a ball on the boundary that was intended to be a six! I have so many balls hit in the air that are not caught, fumbled, dropped or just not got to because the players have knackered knees and have no agility or burst speed - they're all ex footballers who've never done warm ups in their lives so are shot to pieces. You have to be pretty philosophical in our team, otherwise you'd get really disappointed.