Welcome to this series on Success. I hope you find the readings thought provoking and inspiring. Please enjoy.
In life, we are faced with many situations. A lot of life might be compared to a game of cricket. We can be a batsman, bowler or fielder – and other people play the other roles.
As a batsman, you have to cope with whatever the bowlers serve up to you, and contend with the fielders as well. One type of bowling that you could receive is short pitched bowling.
How we handle short pitched bowling can determine how well we perform.
What is short pitched bowling? It is a delivery, usually bowled by a fast bowler, that is pitched short, so that it rears up to chest or head height (or even higher) as it reaches the batsman. It is used tactically to drive the batsman back on to his back foot if he has been freely playing front foot scoring shots, such as drives.
Short pitched bowling is usually at the batsman’s body. The main intent of short pitched bowling is to intimidate e.g. Thunderguts, Morne Morkel. People in life can serve up lots of “short pitched bowling”. For example:
- A threatening letter from your ex-wife’s lawyer during an unresolved divorce case.
- An employer trying to force an employee not to take a case to their Union.
A batsman may play a short-pitched delivery either defensively or attackingly. If a batsman plays it defensively, his prime aim is to avoid getting out, and secondarily to avoid being hit by the ball.
For a head-high bouncer, you could easily duck under the ball. If the ball is at chest height, the batsman’s best defence is possibly to move on to his back foot, and attempt to block the ball, and direct it downwards to the pitch to avoid offering a catch to a fielder.
Given these approaches, the bowler hopes to intimidate the batsman, or have the ball deflect off the bat and produce a catch for a nearby fielder.
This is no different to bullying talk that you might receive from someone e.g. a litigation lawyer. You could respond by saying something, or doing something, that is not advised. Next thing you are caught out (for example, say something in front of a biased witness).
Conversely, the short-pitched delivery can be productive for the batsman, if he plays it attackingly and hits the ball well. The hook shot and the cut shot can be very effective, especially if the bowling lacks accuracy and you are able to free your arms.
For example, Wendy, the CEO, in the staff room. “You computer tutors always lecture in words of 9 syllables or more!” This was a poorly directed short pitched delivery, which I disrespectfully and aggressively hit out of the park.
“What an incredibly stupid thing to say. You have never listened to any of my lectures. How can you pass comment as you just have? You have no credibility”
Despite the run-scoring potential, playing hook and cut shots can cause your downfall, particularly if mishits are caught by fielders.
Due to the potential danger of batsmen being hit and hurt, there are Laws of Cricket to regulate short pitched bowling. In NZ, laws of the land are meant to protect the people of the land. This does not always occur e.g. Telstra Clear sending bogus invoices to people who never, ever lived at a nominated residence.
Fast leg theory, the deliberate and sustained bowling of bouncers aimed at the body, was a tactic used by England against Australia in 1932/33, dubbed the Bodyline series by the Australians. This controversial tactic was actually a tactic meant to humanise Don Bradman (who still had an average of 56 for that series).
Do you handle short pitched bowling as well as Bradman?
- Take it on the body — Take it on the chin (with a grin)
- Block it (Defensively)
- Duck it (Evasively) – but don’t be seen running scared.
- Hit it – even out of the park. Match aggression with aggression. Or be assertive.
For example, a bullying employer might try to give you more work for no extra pay. This is “short pitched bowling” – intimidatory and wrongful tactics. In cricket, if the law is contravened, the umpire can call “No Ball”. However, in life, employers have used this intimidatory and wrongful tactic, and often more than once.
How do you handle it?
- Take it on the body, by responding “Yes Sir. 3 bags full, Sir”.
- Block it defensively, by responding “You are the boss. I’ll do my best”.
- Duck it by not responding, and hoping it will go away.
- Hitting it with “No! That is not in my Employment Contract”.
How you handle short pitched bowling is up to you. My advice is learn how to block, duck, take it on the body or hit what is served.
In life, you are likely to receive some short-pitched bowling. How you handle it is probably a mark of your skill. You can literally handle it in one of 4 ways. These are:
- Take it on the chin (with a grin)
- Aggressively or assertively
I encourage you to develop skills where you handle short pitched bowling assertively. If done well, this can become productive in many ways (but that’s another speech).
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Nick Thorne is the founder of Nick’s Digital Solutions Limited. He lives in Levin, New Zealand.