How fit do you have to be to play cricket? Would a cricket training or fitness program really make a great difference to performance on the field?
Traditionally, cricket has been perceived as a relatively mild sport from a physiological point of view. The intermittent nature of the game with its long rest intervals provides plenty of recovery time between any short spells of higher intensity activity.
However, the demands of cricket may be underestimated (1). In one study of the 1999 South African world cup side, a number of physiological tests for explosive power and aerobic endurance capacity showed they were as ‘fit’ as the South African national rugby side.
While there may be explanations other than the demands of cricket, it seems interesting that a group of athletes playing a physically ‘easy’ sport compared favorably to some of the fittest athletes on the planet!
Fitness aside, cricket players are susceptible to overuse injury (2,3,4). Strength training and conditioning plays an important role in chronic and acute injury prevention, particularly in asymmetrical sports such as cricket (i.e. batting, bowling and throwing are performed with a dominant arm or stance).
Conditioning for cricket should not only be sport specific but also position specific. Fast bowlers require different preparation from spin bowlers for example. Of course, there are many aspects of cricket training applicable to all players as each individual will be required to bat and field during a game.
The articles below will examine more closely the physiological demands of cricket, drawing on current research into intermittent activity. You will also find sample programs and guidelines for strength, endurance and speed training for cricket players.
Cricket Training Articles
The Sport-Specific Approach to Strength Training Programs
At first glance cricket training and strength training might not seem to be a natural fit. However, batting, bowling and fielding (be it jumping, sprinting or throwing) are athletic movements that demand a high level of strength and power. A correctly designed program can increase hitting power, throwing speed (and distance) and a cricket player’s speed around the pitch…
How To Design Resistance Cricket Training Programs
Strength training for sport is very different than simply lifting 3 sets of 10 repetitions for example. Here’s exactly how a n effective strength plan should be designed…
Power Training for Athletes
Power not strength dictates the batting force or bowling speed a player can generate. While strength training builds the foundations, power training converts it into cricket-specific strength…
Plyometric Training for Sport-Specific Power
There are various forms of power training. Plyometrics is ideal for throwing and batting actions and speed development. Traits that will help set any cricketer apart from his or her peers…
Core Strength Conditioning For Athletes
Core strength and stability has become a buzzword in the fitness industry. But athletic coaches have recognized its importance for many years. Good strength in core region literally allows the whole body to perform optimally as a single unit improving a player’s overall athletic capabilities…
Speed Drills for Maximum Velocity
Cricket players require speed off the mark and acceleration around the wicket. The faster they are as a fielder the more potential runs they can save…
Cricketers throw repeatedly – not just during a match but in training also. Firstly, maintaining and improving flexibility in the upper body can help to prevent overuse injury. Secondly, an increased range of motion is beneficial to most athletic movements and skills inherent in the game…
1)Noakes TD, Durandt JJ. Physiological requirements of cricket. J Sports Sci. 2000 Dec;18(12):919-29
2) Leary T, White JA. Acute injury incidence in professional county club cricket players (1985-1995).Br J Sports Med. 2000 Apr;34(2):145-7
3) Finch CF, Elliott BC, McGrath AC. Measures to prevent cricket injuries: an overview.Sports Med. 1999 Oct;28(4):263-72
4) Orchard JW, Newman D, Stretch R, Frost W, Mansingh A, Leipus A. Methods for injury surveillance in international cricket. Br J Sports Med. 2005 Apr;39(4):e22