The Importance of Fielding in Cricket

Fielding manual,

Fielding is one of the most crucial parts of the game and yet it almost always ranks after batting and bowling when it comes to order of importance on most player’s agendas. You would have noticed this at most in training sessions. Fielding has the potential to create the difference between a loss and a win. Most games are won and lost by narrow margins. The margin between victory and loss is usually in the vicinity of 10-20 runs, a few balls, or a couple of wickets. Missed fielding attempts, dropped catches, overthrows, missed run outs could all add up to this margin over the duration of the match.

There are certain factors in particular that lead to these errors: 

Lacking alertness

Being aware of what is happening around you is a key fundamental to fielding. If you aren’t paying attention it becomes very hard to respond when the ball is hit in your direction. Fielding is no different to batting or bowling when it comes to concentration. A simple method most fielders use to aid their concentration is to walk in with the bowler as he runs in. This serves two purposes; the act of repetition just prior to a fielding attempt allows your mind to get into the zone where it knows to expect a ball to come flying at you, and secondly it keeps you on the move and agile to respond in either direction to chase down a ball faster than you would with a stop start attempt.

Poor positioning

Pretty hard to field anything if you aren’t there. While you may be thinking it’s the responsibility of the captain to place you in the right spot, it’s still up to you make active decisions to your position as the game develops. The most obvious one is when a batsman changes ends and a new batsman is on strike. You will over time  some intricacy of the playing

Lack of composure

If a ball is hit in your direction the worst thing you can do is panic. You don’t have very much time before the ball will reach you. So it’s best to remain composed at all times

Lack of technique

Using the correct technique when it comes to stopping, catching, or throwing the ball helps immensely. For catching, the simple rule is always use two hands, and one if two can’t get there.

  • For flat catches you can use the following decision making framework. If the ball is at or below waist height cup the hands with fingers pointing downwards.  If the ball is at or above chest height then hands should be cupped pointing towards the sky. This can be difficult for the ones closer to your waist/chest which is a slight grey area. For these you should adjust your height using your knees to go into a slight crouching or jumping position and catch with hands pointing up or down respectively.
  • For the high ones you can cup your hands either way. The most important thing here is getting to where the ball is expected to land and intercept it right underneath it. To get to where the ball is going to land you need assess where the ball is headed. There are three proponents to this:
    • the line the ball is travelling
    • the distance it’s been hit
    • and the trajectory
  • Once there, use slight adjustments to pinpoint the best position. Keep your feet steady and hold a stable position. Maintain a slight flex in the knees to keep you agile. If you are catching with your fingers pointing backwards you will be more underneath the ball than if you are catching with your fingers pointing forward.
  • Keep your hands together. Some people interlace their smaller fingers one behind the other while others have their pinky’s and the side of their hands touching. It’s really personal preference on this.

Lack of Effort

Not much to be said here – some people are just too lazy and don’t put in enough because they don’t care enough about fielding or simply just give up.

If you address all these factors independently in our fielding, you will in aggregate improve.

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