In Gear This Week we consider a flat-sided ball that might just get you bowling like Jimmy Anderson. Maybe.
As the season draws to a close and you look back at your stats for the season (we know that’s what you’re doing – don’t pretend you’re not) there will no doubt be much to chew over. That first baller in May, the outrageous turned-down lbw appeal in a crucial league fixture in June, or the regulation slip catch dropped by your skipper that would have given you a five-wicket haul in your last match of the season. How different things might have been with better umpires, better fielders, a bit more luck.
But it’s also a chance to think about how you might improve your own game. What can you do now and over the winter months to improve those numbers next year? There are, as we have often tried to showcase, a wide variety of coaching aids available right now, and this week we’re putting The Aggot under the Gear This Week microscope.
The idea is that by bowling with this ball in practice you can understand exactly what’s going on when you release it from your hand. No cameras, no digital technology. It’s the same weight as a normal cricket ball, with the same seam, and is made – as is customary – of leather. But it has these cut-away flat sides, which mean you can track seam position accurately once you release it. The theory therefore, is that although it will feel just like a proper cricket ball in the hand, you’ll actually be able to learn a lot of valuable information from the way it goes on to travel through the air. Is the seam upright? Is it positioned correctly for the outswinger and inswinger? Is the off spinner undercutting his stock ball rather than generating revs by getting over the top of it? Unless it’s released from the hand “correctly” The Aggot won’t travel and land as you’re hoping, meaning you and your coach can pinpoint and address any technical issues there might be in your bowling technique.
For example, if the ball’s wobbling and landing on the flat sides, you need to improve your release. Using The Aggot is designed to force you to do just that, so that when you pick up a proper, round ball, it’ll be hooping round corners/ragging square/jagging off the straight etc.
With a recommended price of £19.99 but available for as little as £7.99, this patented design might appeal whether you’re coaching the under 15s this winter or just trying to improve your own game (and hopefully your mood when it comes to looking over the scorecards at the end of next season). Those play-cricket.com stats leave you nowhere to hide.