As a coach, the introduction and broad acceptance of T20 cricket has been hugely appreciated in respect to fielding. It is impossible for a player to expect they will excel in this format if they are unable to contribute to the fielding effort.
Players have to bring this skill to the team and for themselves. Confidence can quickly grow within after a good fielding effort.
Players in the field have to be more aware as the skills from the batsman advance to hit and score into a wider range of zones.
Players in the field have to be in motion as once the ball goes into the field, both sides of the wicket are in play.
Defensive aspects by way of knock downs, cut offs and saves can impact considerably upon the final total.
A good standard of fielding also self generates energy and enthusiasm for the contest.
Players also have to be accepting that they may be suitable to an alternative role.
Back in 2005, Adam Crosthwaite had a very high level of fitness, energy and fielding skills from his baseball involvement in the off season – yet he was conventionally a wicket keeper / batsman. Richmond CC at the time were able to release his skills as a fielder and bowler to expand the depth of their team during a dominant period in Victorian Premier Cricket.
The basic blueprint of a T20 Game Plan for fielding:
FIELDING: “EVERYBODY ACTIVE – READY TO ATTACK & DEFEND”
Strategy – hunting together every ball with motion & effort
• Throw at stumps is always on, support with movement to back up; assume automatic backing up (that’s just what we do)
• At least 4 players actively involved every play
• Fielders in the ring – first objective is to prevent single, then stop the well hit shots
• All fielders attack the ball, take the shortest route to the ball
• Fly balls get caught – always
• FIELD SHARP = READY TO RUN
There are many other key points around awareness that can be introduced on the particular day once conditions are known including:
- Hug the rope and inner ring
- Get off the rope when backing up from the deep
- Who’s on strike?
- What is the batsman’s plan & hitting zones?
- During warm up, judge the speed of the ground surface
- Understand where bounce throw needs to land
Enjoy together the experience….