Coaching Corner 6 - Running between the wickets.
Hopefully, having scored some runs, you want to stay in. The last thing you need is to throw your wicket away (or have someone else throw you wicket away) by being run out.
If batsmen are good at running between the wickets they will score many more runs. They do this by
- Working in pairs and communicating clearly
- Running and turning quickly
- Looking for runs from defensive strokes as well as attacking ones
- Putting pressure on fielders.
Decisive calling is essential. He who hesitates is lost! Call early.
There should only be three words used: “Yes” , “ No” and “Wait”. If you are not sure, shout “Wait”, “Wait” should always be followed by “No” or “Yes” once the decision has been made to run or not to run.
Make sure that the call is loud. Shout so your partner can hear. Don’t be shy!
Make sure that you get into the habit of calling. It’s not a bad idea to start with to make a call after every ball, even if it is obvious there is no run.
If the ball is played in front of the striker, the striker will call. If the ball goes behind the striker, the non-striker will call because he will have a better view.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line! Run in a straight line down the side of the pitch. Don’t wander onto the middle of the pitch. Not only does it mean that you have not run straight, it is also against the laws of the game. You risk damaging the surface where the ball lands and can be punished by the award of penalty runs to the other side.
Backing-up by the non-striker is vital. As soon as the ball is bowled (but not before!), begin to move towards the striker’s end and take a couple of good strides to give yourself a good start. Hold the bat in the hand nearest to the bowler so you can see clearly when the ball is released and know exactly when to move.
Turning is important. Turn quickly and keep low. To get a better view of the ball when you are going for a second or third run, you may have to change hands with the bat. Don’t turn “blind”. The batsman with the best view of the ball as he turns should call for the next run.
Remember that for a run to count, you must ground the bat behind the line, not on the line. If you don’t do this the umpire will call and signal “Short Run” and it won’t count.
Remember also when completing a quick run or runs, to slide the bat over the crease at arm’s length. Unless the bat or some part of the batsman’s person is grounded behind the line, he can be run out. Having the bat over the crease but in the air won’t do!
Out - bat in the air.
Out - bat on the line.
Looking for runs and putting pressure on the fielders.
Without taking unnecessary risks, there are plenty of runs to be had from defensive shots if both batsmen are alert and calling quickly. The ball doesn’t have hit hard for runs to be scored. There are often gaps in the filed and some fielders are slow to react.
Putting pressure on fielders will force errors. Run aggressively, and always run the first run quickly. It’s surprising how many ones van be turned into twos of you do this. Likewise twos can be turned into threes. Don’t dawdle!