"Hard work beats talent when the talent doesn't work hard." The game of cricket is all about skills and the hard work that goes into honing those skills. The modern players cannot just rely on their talent; they have to work hard because it is not so straightforward to break into international teams' dressing rooms.
The competition in Indian cricket has increased tenfold over the past few years, particularly after the introduction of the India Premier League (IPL). Hence, players must keep working on their skills, and there is no better way of refining your skills than exercise. Either you have the best cricket bat, batting gloves, cricket shoes, but exercise is a must, and there is no shortcut.
Some exercises are specially designed to enhance your skills, not just your physical fitness. In this piece, we have brought six cricket exercises that will improve your skills in the field.
Exercises to refine your cricket skills
Here are a few exercises that will help you with your game, irrespective of whether you are a bowler or a batsman. Tough roles don't matter anymore since nowadays, bowlers should know how to bat, and batsmen that can ball are an asset to the team.
1. Target Practice
Target practice is one of the most important exercises as one direct hit can change the whole game; we have seen it many times. On top of that, you don't want the opponent players to take quick singles from you.
To perform this exercise, you can find a wall and draw a stump on that wall or get a bin as a target. Stand some distance away and then try to hit the target. Practice it continuously until you are tired. And if you are using a bin, the ball will rebound at different angles, so you will have to keep moving.
Do ten to fifteen hits and count the number of direct hits when you are finished, rest for some time, and then again start throwing the ball.
2. Round the clock/ switching it up
Round the clock and switching it up are two similar types of cricketing exercises. However, the latter is used by the bowlers to improve bowling accuracy, while the former is used by batsmen again to improve accuracy.
In round the clock, four cones need to be set up on the off side-third man, point, extra cover, mid-off, and four on the leg side- fine leg, mid-on, mid-wicket, and fine leg. The person bowling will shout the position to hit just before he releases the ball. It is a great game to hone your batting skills to manipulate bowlers in an actual game.
Switching it up is a bowling version of round the clock. In this game, you can put down markers (cones), to know where you have hit the ball while bowling. You can improve your wide Yorker skills, slower balling skills, and finally perfect the standard Yorker with this exercise.
The batsmen, bowlers, and wicket-keepers all are equally prone to back-related issues. Batsmen have to spend long hours on the crease, especially during test matches, and bowlers are always one moment away from sustaining a back injury. Moreover, batsmen with an unnatural stance require forward flexion of the spine.
Hence, it is necessary to add some back-related exercises in your cricket drill, and Pilates is one such activity. Pilates has various benefits for both batsmen and bowlers, that's why many international cricketers use it. Batsman Michael Atherton from England has used it, and the renowned fast bowling attack of Australia used Pilates to the area between the hip and shoulders. So, adding this activity to your daily schedule will benefit you in the long term.
4.Strength and Conditioning
Strength and conditioning refer to a group of exercises that work on those body parts that players will use in the match. Proper training helps in developing the endurance required to meet the physical demands of the cricket. On top of that, it will increase your power simultaneously; it will reduce the chances of injury.
Here are some of the strength and condition exercises that will increase your strength and speed so you will perform better more than even no matter what.
- Medicine ball slams
- Medicine ball hammer toss
Medicine Ball Slams
Medicine Ball Hammer Toss
5. Continuous Cricket
Continuous cricket is a simple game, but it has some profound benefits as it helps batsmen strike better while enhancing fielding skills. This game involves two cones, placed at the two ends of the batting crease and wickets. The batsman stands in front of the wickets like in the regular cricket, while the bowler balls.
In this game, the bowler bowls the ball underarm, while the batter tries to hit the ball. If the batsman makes contact with the ball, he has to run around either cone and reach back to the wickets to complete a run. The fielders either have to get the batsman out by catching him or stop the ball and throw it back to the bowler.
The bowler is supposed to bowl the ball again once he receives it, no matter if the batsman is back at its place or not. The batsman will be out if he is bowled, caught, or missed the ball three times. Once all the batsmen from a team are out, the bowling team gets a chance to bat.
6. Speed Training
We all know how important speed is for everybody involved in cricket. The batsman has to run fast to convert singles into doubles and doubles into triples, while the fielders have to be quick to stop this from happening. And bowlers running speed has a direct impact on the quality of their bowling. Hence, becoming faster is a must to be a successful cricketer. You can perform the following exercise to increase your speed.
Place two markers 40meters apart, sprint between them, and rest for 90 seconds. Perform it two more times, and then rest for five more minutes. End this exercise with two more sets. Next week increase the distance between the two markers from 40m to 50m, add another 10 meters the following week.
If put to use correctly, all of the above exercises will help you improve your game and enhance your fitness. However, it is mandatory to have a balanced diet to get the best results, and your equipment should be in tip-top shape. In other words, you cannot expect exercise to show their best effect if you are not eating well.
At the same time, if you are using damaged equipment, it will again affect your overall game. Therefore, you need to do everything correctly, from the exercises to eating a balanced diet to taking care of your gears, including cricket bat, shoes, gloves, and more for optimum results. And then only you can await great things.
Cricket is one of the biggest sports worldwide; of course, not as big as a football, but is still huge. Hence not so surprisingly, the competition is very tough to get into any team, be it your school team, your college team, your state team, or the national team. Skills of the highest order are required, while relentless hard work is necessary to become the best of the best. Having skills is not enough, but working hard on those skills and refining them makes you successful in modern cricket.
And one of the ways to do that is by performing regular exercises. After all, these exercises will make you fit and bring some extra juice to your already developed skillset.