Ashes Zone Archive: learn to play cricket or improve your technique
Learn to spin it like Shane, bat like KP or bowl like Botham with the help of Sky Cricket's experts.
Last Updated: 27/09/13 2:59pm
This summer we've introduced the Ashes Zone to get you closer to the game and offer you the best technical advice from our crop of top pundits.
So whether you want to brush up on your technique, find out what it's like to face 90mph bowling or simply want the best breakdown of a player's method you've come to the right place.
Oh, and you might just come across the odd blooper in our archive too...
Batting - the basics
Just starting out in the game or need a quick refresher? Then check out this batting masterclass with Andrew Strauss and Nasser Hussain. Together the lads cover all the basic elements of scoring runs, including tips on your stance, grip and back-lift - not to mention the all-important trigger movement! Plus check out some of our drills and learn how to pull, drive and cut like a pro!
The art of opening
So you've grasped the basics but where are you going to bat? Think you're an opener? Then this session with former England openers (and captains) Mike Atherton and Andrew Strauss is a must-watch as they explain the art of combatting the new ball and setting the tone for your team's innings. But that's only where the technical challenge begins... so you'd better be equipped to deal with seam, swing and bounce!
How to play fast bowling
Oh, and pace... As Sky Cricket's newest (and sharpest) recruit, Strauss was hand-picked to throw on the pads and demonstrate how difficult facing high-pace fast bowling can be. Join the left-hander in the nets as he explains how to maximise your chances of scoring runs against the quickest bowlers around while protecting your wicket and avoiding those painful blows! It takes a lot of gumption to face up to the bowling machine at 90mph - but even more in the middle!
Scoring against spin
So you've seen off the new ball and are bedding in for a big innings when the opposition skipper turns to his spinner. Time to tuck in and milk the bowling? Perhaps - if your footwork is as crisp as that of Australian skipper Michael Clarke. Nasser steps into the net to demonstrate the advantages of batting with quick feet and quick hands, while legendary Australian leggie Shane Warne explains why getting stuck on the crease is playing right into the bowler's hands.
Kevin Pietersen calls the shots
If your first thought is 'what would KP do?' then this masterclass is for you! England's most dangerous batsman gave Ian Ward an insight into his expansive repertoire of shots including the pull shot plus his trademark 'Flamingo' and 'Switch Hit' and also explained his thought processes when it comes to tackling the world's best bowlers. Plus check out KP's comments on the importance of practice so that you arrive at the crease having left nothing to chance.
Bowl like Shane Warne
That ethos was endorsed by Shane Warne as he explained the importance of coming up with plans for each batsman during a very special spin session in front of a live audience at Durham. Nasser and Andrew strapped on the pads to face the legendary leg-spinner afresh as Shane demonstrated how to assess the pitch by bowling an over and how vital it is to set attacking fields but defensive bowling to new batsmen. Plus check out how Nasser and Andrew would counter Shane's variation - not to mention his drift - and their 'Phoenix from the Flames' how-not-to-run masterclass!
Special delivery - seam and swing
Seam, swing and pace bowling are on the agenda as Sir Ian Botham and Michael Holding join Wardy in the Ashes Zone. There may not be a conclusive reason why a ball swings but join Beefy and Mikey as they tell you how to maximise your chances of getting the ball to nip around off the pitch and in the air - starting with the key differences between seam and swing. We all want to bowl the magic delivery but listen to our legends as they explain why bowling the right line and length has to be the priority for all bowlers.
Improving your catching
The Ashes Zone is transplanted onto the Lord's outfield for a specialist fielding session involving Nasser, Shane and Strauss. Together they'll show you the basics of catching at slip, including the best base and hand position to be in - not to mention the best place to stand for different types of slow bowling. There's also the chance to find out more about what it takes to field at short leg and what drills to practice if you want to emulate the skill levels of Ian Bell.
Some classic moments...
Second chance for Athers
So just how hard was it to bat against Waqar Younis in his pomp - and how as a batsman can you maximise your chances of avoiding being castled by the fast in-swinger? Athers steps back into the virtual net to have another go at keeping out the Pakistani paceman... and the result is rather similar to the outcome some 12 years ago!
Gary's on the ball
Everyone knows how important it is to keep you head over the ball when batting - but even that couldn't save Nasser when he was trapped lbw by Carl Hooper in what can only be described as the lowest point of his career! Monday Night Football pundit Gary Neville popped in to compare Nasser's technique with that of one of one of his (former) favourite players - Robin van Persie.