Coaching Corner 23 – Attacking fielding: agility and anticipation in the inner ring and the one-handed interception and underarm throw.
It is vital to try to put pressure on the batsmen by preventing them from taking easy singles and cutting off the run-scoring areas.
The role of the inner ring is crucial to this. In these positions you need to be quick, agile and have good anticipation.
First of all, as mentioned before, you must walk in, keeping low and on the balls of your feet, ready to move forwards or left or right quickly. See photograph.
It is vital to concentrate hard and watch the batsman. Look at his backswing, feet movement and the early shape of the shot. These are clues as to what he is going to do. If he looks as if he is going to play a defensive shot or a soft push for a single, then be ready to sprint in to stop the run.
If, however, he shapes to hit the ball hard, then adopt a position similar to that of a goal-keeper about to stop a shot or a penalty, in other words, balanced with the weight equally spread over both feet, ready to move quickly or dive either to the left or right to cut off the ball. See photograph.
If the ball is travelling to you slowly and the batsmen are trying to take a single, then a one-handed pick-up and a short underarm throw are needed.
Move quickly to the ball, stay low and pick the ball up by the outside of your right foot (if you are right-handed). Keep low and keep your head steady as you watch the ball into your hand.
Keep this low body position as you now fix your eyes on the target and complete an underarm throw, making sure that there is a follow-through. Keep looking at the target – try to hit the stumps low.
All these points are illustrated by the sequence of photographs. Note how the player gets down low and stays low with eyes firmly on the ball until it is in his hand.
Not getting low enough and taking the eyes off the ball, causing you to miss the ball.
Getting up too soon in the throw, making the ball go too high.