Tennis Ball Cricket Tips
Playing cricket with a tennis ball is tougher than it can appear to be. Good leather ball cricketers can struggle in a game of tennis ball cricket. The primary difference between the two types of cricket is obvious – the ball.
Tennis ball cricket is not played with a conventional tennis ball. In other words, the ball used in this form of cricket cannot be used to play tennis with. Balls used to play tennis with are softer. The ball used in tennis ball cricket is harder. In fact, there are two types of tennis balls used to play tennis ball cricket. One is much harder than the other and because of its hardness, it tends to bounce much more. Playing with a softer ball can bring its own challenges.
Against a Harder Ball
As a batsman facing up to a harder form of a tennis ball, you should be aware of the ball’s tendency to bounce from a good length spot. You cannot play forward unless the ball is pitched up. Even if the bowler is bowling fuller deliveries, you cannot play with a straight bat. It is safer to seek runs square of the wicket. Therefore, be prepared to play a lot of cuts and pulls. Judging the bounce of the ball is key. Experienced bowlers will entice the batsman by bowling a little fuller but not sufficiently to allow the batsman to drive freely. Thus, the drive – the most useful and safest shot of leather ball cricket – can be a risky shot in tennis ball cricket, unless you are very tall and can judge the bounce of the ball perfectly.
Against a Softer Ball
When you bat against a softer ball that does not bounce quite as much as its harder version, you can play a little more conventionally. You can plonk your front foot forward with less fear. On the flip side, the softer ball will not travel as much as its harder version and you would have to hit it much harder.
Using a Harder Ball
As it has been already stated, a harder ball bounces more. A good length delivery could be a wasted delivery as it would travel above the height of the wicket. Your best opportunity to take a wicket in tennis ball cricket is to attack the stumps. You must walk the tight rope between bowling good length and a fuller delivery. Bowl too full and the ball could disappear for a six. Bowl on a good length and the batsman could slash the ball square of the wicket for runs.
Using a Softer Ball
With a softer ball, a bowler would be best served by bowling just short of a good length. The idea is to keep the batsman guessing. If he goes forward without judging the length, he risks edging a catch. The bowler runs the risk of bowling too short in which case the batsman could help himself to lofted hits. In tennis ball cricket, a bowler’s rhythm is paramount. Lose your rhythm and you could end up conceding twenty runs an over.
Swinging the Ball
Any ball swings depending on the way it is delivered. However, a tennis ball will not swing as much as a leather ball that has a hard seam. One way of getting a seamless ball to swing is to hold only one side of it and let rip. Though the real risk is not to have any control over the line you are bowling and you could end up bowling a lot of wide deliveries. If both teams agree, you could create an artificial seam by reducing the fur on either side of the ball.
The first tip is obviously to warn a fielder not to place himself too close to the batsman. With a higher bounce, you will find it hard to catch the ball on the first bounce as it could bounce over your head. Be very careful with throwing the ball to the keeper or the bowler unless you are sure you can land your throw into their hands. Overthrows can lose matches.
Catches win Matches
Never was this aphorism as true as in a game of tennis ball cricket wherein batsmen are always on the lookout for runs and tend to go hard at the ball. In the process, you could see a lot of lofted shots and, consequently, a lot of catching opportunities. Taking a wicket can also put the batting team off its rhythm as the new batsman would need a few balls to settle.
Have a Game Plan
You must know the strengths and weaknesses of all your players if you wish to have a winning game plan. Put some thought into your batting order. It’s a good idea to send a big hitter upfront as a couple of expensive overs can upset the fielding side’s applecart and set the tone for the match. At the same time, you need a player who can keep his wicket intact and take a single to give a big hitter the strike. In tennis ball cricket, when wickets fall they do so in heaps, so an anchor batsman can become crucial to your fortunes, especially when you want to ensure that your team bats out your overs and optimises your score.
Win the Toss and Bowl
As opposed to the conventional wisdom – “win the toss and bat” – of leather ball cricket, in tennis ball cricket, the principle is exactly the opposite. Knowing the target that they need to chase can be the best motivation for batsmen in this form of the game. Teams batting first are never sure what a winning total is likely to be. We have often seen targets of 80 being chased down in six overs.
The Winning Habit
Winning is a habit, and as captain of your team, you must always try to win. Never take the foot off the pedal if you think the opposition is weaker. In tennis ball cricket, a single bad over can turn a match on its head, regardless of how strong or weak the rival team is.
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