I had a little spare time over the weekend and took the chance to watch one of the Indian Premier League cricket matches. The one thing that struck me, aside from the seemingly huge improvement in cricket bat technology over the past few years, was just how hard the game appeared.
The matches are played at a high tempo, the over rate makes sure of that, increasing the demand on the fast bowlers in particular. The conditions looked punishing, the effects of the heat and humidity were very apparent on all players and the batsmen who spent some time at the crease. The weight of the bats is around the 3lb mark for most players and the high intensity of the shots played, namely big aerial strokes, along with the quick running and high over rate also take their toll. In order to stay at the crease, shot selection and execution are vital and gets more difficult when fatigued. Similarly, when a bowler begins to tire, mistakes are made and more runs are scored. Conditioning is a fundamental aspect of the game now, perhaps not so much for those playing longer forms of the game but anyone who’s batted for a long time on a hot summers day knows the impact of fatigue and should be able to pick the positives effect that conditioning will have.
The only issue that may arise, speaking from experience of cricket dressing rooms, is that not all cricketers are enthralled at partaking in those kinds of sessions. There is plenty of opportunity to utilise use the imagination, and selling it as skills under fatigue and still giving sessions a technical focus can be a good way around the issue.