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The Golden Rules of running between the wickets

THE GOLDEN RULES OF RUNNING BETWEEN THE WICKETS

Aims: not merely to score more runs, but also to gain the initiative, feel more confident, to rattle the fielding side, and to unsettle the bowlers – thereby making it easier for you to score runs by orthodox strokeplay.

Your attitude should be less ‘I shan’t run unless I obviously can’ than ‘I will run unless something stops me’.

1. A run is never worth a wicket. If in doubt, don’t run!

2. Never give up; it makes it too easy for the fieldsman.

3. Do NOT run unless it is a very easy run for the following:
a) a misfield
b) a mishit which spoons up in the air
c) a well-hit drive
All these are dangerous since, for different reasons, batsmen feel an instinctive urge to run whether it is safe to do so or not. BEWARE!

4. Run every run as fast as possible, but particularly the first one. At the end of each run EVEN IF YOU THINK ANOTHER IS UNLIKELY, always turn to look for another, and call WAIT (see below). Don’t continue your triumphal progress past the wicket.

5. Change the bat from right hand to left etc., so that as you touch the bat down, you can look up to see the fieldsman (rather than have to turn round). Do not keep looking as you run – it slows you down.

6. If you have misjudged a run and may be run out, run your bat in almost parallel to the ground – the extra few inches may make all the difference. Otherwise just dab the bat down and turn.

7. The striker must run straight at the bowler – the non-striker is the other side. Do not run down the wicket – it won’t improve its quality. Be careful when bowlers bowl from the ‘wrong’ side.

8. CALLING: The striker calls for a ball hit in front of the wicket
The non-striker calls for a ball hit behind.
After the first run, it is for the man running into danger (normally to the wicket-keeper’s end) to call.

9. NO ALWAYS MEANS NO (from either batsman) – whoever is supposed to do the calling (see rule1).

10. There are only three calls, all of which should be shouted:
YES
NO
WAIT
‘wait on’ is meaningless; ‘wait there’ really means no and is thus ambiguous; ‘not now’ (later, perhaps?) is merely an admission of incompetent calling.
A perhaps unexpected call (eg. NO after second thoughts, or YES for very cheeky run) should be very loud indeed.

11. WAIT means: go as far as you possibly can out of your crease but can get back if the fieldsman throws down the stumps. The caller (see 8) should call WAIT almost immediately after the ball is played – for action, see above – followed by either YES or NO. The non-striker should reckon to back up 7 yards. It follows that the one place the batsman should never hit the ball is straight back down the wicket (unless it is either very hard – 4 runs – or very soft – 3 yards).

12. Do not commit yourself to a run until the caller has called YES.
Follow these rules and you will virtually never be run out (nor will you run out anybody else); your individual score and the team’s score can be doubled by good running between the wickets. It’s also something that anybody can do well – however good or bad his batting may otherwise be.

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How to succeed in T20s the Amla way

Veteran South African player Hashim Amla feels that the IPL has become a lot more accommodating for ‘orthodox’ batsmen like him and says that one can score big runs in T20 format with proper cricketing shots. Kings XI Punjab opener Amla hit a brilliant 104 off just 60 balls, which was studded with five sixes and eight fours, though for a losing cause as his side lost to Gujarat Lions by six wickets in Mohali, on Sunday. As his wont, Amla, a Test-mould player, mostly stuck to traditional cricketing shots to score the ton. This was his second century for KXIP this season, the previous one being against Mumbai Indians.

When told that many think T20 cricket is all about hitting fours and sixes almost every ball, Amla said the format forced every player to get a way out to “maximise each ball”. “Everybody who plays T20 cricket has to find a way of how to maximise each ball they faces. You will find many examples of better cricketers who have been successful in T20 cricket without necessarily looking agricultural, as they say. They have played good cricketing shots and managed to get runs,” Amla said.

The 34-year-old veteran of 104 Tests, who has a triple ton to his credit, said every now and then when a batsman, who is not known for lusty hitting, scores big in T20 cricket, such talks crop up.

“So, I think over the ten years of IPL and T20 cricket around the world, I know it comes up every time someone who has got his runs who is not known or is not a massive six hitter. But this has been happening for many years now. I think guys are becoming a lot more accommodating for players like that,” Amla said.

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Basics of Running between Wickets

An often overlooked aspect of batting is how much you make the ones and twos count. Here are the basics of running between the wickets.

Author – Amrita K
(Reading time ~ 3 mins)

Running between the wickets has never been more important. It has been a part of cricket since inception. However, at the beginning and for a long time thereafter, it was considered to be a mediocre player’s way of scoring runs since it was assumed that good batsmen would bisect the fielders and find the fence easily. With limited overs cricket both ODI’s and T20’s where every ball must count, good running has become a must have talent. It rotates the strike, reduces the pressure of hitting boundaries and does not let the bowler settle into a line and length. A number of good one day experts like Ajay Jadeja, Micheal Bevan, Jhonty Rhodes, Robin Singh excelled because of their running.

Want to master the art of running between wickets? Here is where you start!

 

Image Credit: Sportskeeda

Backing Up

The non-striker must start moving when the bowler lands his back foot in the bowling stride. The bat has to be held in the hand closer to the bowler and your body must be facing the bowler so that you are aware of his movements. However, it is important to back up only to the point you can return easily if required, unless it is a do-or-die situation.

Calling

Who: For strokes in front of the wicket, the striker will call for the run. However, when the ball goes behind the wicket or at a place where the striker cannot see the ball, its the non striker who calls and the batsman responds. For the second run, the person running towards danger, that is in most cases towards the wicket keeper should call for the run.

It is important to remember that since the striker hits the ball and he is the best person to know the angle, speed and the distance on the ball.

How: If any of the batsmen wants to refuse a run, he must do so before setting off – loud and clear. There are only 3 universal calls with clear meanings:

Yes: Run

No: Don’t run, or stop and run back

Wait: Means go as far as you can without falling short if you were to run back. Use this if you want to check if you were able to pierce the gap in the infield.

Don’t use any other words or a combination like “wait no”, “wait on”, “stop”. Your current team mates may understand you, but if you progress to a better team, chances are you will be misunderstood. And that may cost you a career. So follow the right habits.

Setting off

Run the fastest while taking the first run. Your first few steps set the speed for the entire run.

  • While you run, keep your head down and stay low in the position of a sprinter
  • Hold the bat across your body and pump your arms.
  • Your feet must be behind your centre of gravity to help you accelerate with your lower body muscles propelling your body.
  • Take short fast steps
  • The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Hence make sure you run parallel to the pitch.

Hitting the stride

Within a third of the pitch length (about 7 yards) you will be at maximum speed.

  • Pull your head up and be aware of the ball / fielder
  • Take longer strides to minimize effort
  • Maximize arm speed with the bat across your body

Grounding

For a quick single,

  • Keep going with long strides.
  • Bend forward and slide the bat in. Try to keep the bat as much parallel to the ground as possible. This minimizes the chances of it bouncing in the air if the ground is uneven or getting jammed if the ground is soft / wet.
  • If you are sliding, your slide must land the bat about a foot before the crease, not too early nor too late.

If you intend to run another,

  • Slow yourself by sinking your hips and sitting back. This will lower your centre of gravity.
  • Turn sideways facing the ball
  • Slide the bat over the line in classic sideways position
  • Push off hard with the back leg (the one near the crease) and set off as explained earlier

Bat Position

  • While running, change the hand in which you hold the bat so that you can touch the bat down and still keep an eye at the fielder without turning around. If you keep looking at the fielder while you run, it will slow you down.
  • Run your bat parallel to the ground or press the bat lightly down.
  • Earlier coaches used to advice sliding with the edge of the bat. However, with more and more players sliding, coaches prefer to slide with the bat face down to minimize chances of the bat jamming in.
  • Use the full handle while sliding to gain those precious few inches.

Judgement

Judging whether a run is on is a skill acquired with practice. You must consider

  • both you and your partners running prowess,
  • fielders’ agility and throw
  • situational need.

And all this is to be judged in a split second. An alert mind will always take better decisions. While batting with tail-enders, it is usually the batsman who makes all the running decisions.

Misfields, dropped catches are tricky situations where the mind is not focussed on running. It is best to avoid a run unless there is no risk, or the situation is compelling.

Co-ordination between two batsmen

Running between the wickets involves two different batsmen. Each batsman has his own speed, own sense of judgement and own understanding of the game. To improve your running between the wickets it is important to have a good rapport with the other batsmen. Of course, misunderstanding can happen, especially if you are playing in a noisy stadium, however, a good rapport helps you predict your partners call.

Some golden rules of running

  • Never stop while running and give up. You would just boost the confidence of the fielding team by doing that.
  • Be careful when bowlers bowl from the wrong side
  • And finally, no means no. If the opposite batsman has refused a run, there must be a reason to it. Don’t take the run.

Happy Running!

Cover Image Credit: gdn

Leg Glance

AB de Villiers gives valuable pointers to help you play the ball on your legs.
Hitting the ball through midwicket or the leg glance can be a tricky shot, however with these personal tips from AB de Villiers you’re sure to take advantage and score big runs!

The Batting Stance

A good stance is the foundation of batting.
Get some great tips from AB de Villiers as he discusses his stance.
Use these tips to be more balanced, get into stronger positions and learn about different stances for different conditions.

The Grip

AB de Villiers shows you how he holds the bat and how his grip allows him to play the ball 360 degrees around the field. Use the same grip that gives ‘Mr 360’ the ability to play the ball all around the field.