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England legend on catching in the slips
Around the Academy:

Mark Waugh takes yet another slip catch
Mark Waugh takes yet another slip catch

Graham Gooch

Different players have different ways of approaching slip catching and you'll notice this in the World Cup.

Mark Waugh, undoubtedly the greatest natural catcher that I've ever seen - or that I've ever had the displeasure to be caught out by.

Where Mark differs is that he watches the bowler and then the ball all the way down the pitch.

I preferred to watch the outside edge of the bat.

The trick to being a successful slip fielder is to ride the ball. The hands mustn't reach out for the ball as it comes towards you.

That would put you on a collision course with the ball which is often what happens when a player drops a catch.

With soft hands you take the sting out of the catch.

Botham always stood with his hands on knees
Botham always stood with his hands on knees
When Mark Waugh dives to his left or right to take a catch he often gives the appearance of taking the ball behind him.

As in all aspects of cricket, the key is to turn the concentration switch to full volume and then back down again between deliveries.

Test cricket is no different to any other level of cricket.

Slip fielders talk to each other between balls, sometimes about the match situation but often about something they might have seen on the telly the night before.

I was reasonable standing back, confident that I would hang on to anything that came my way.

But inevitably, whenever I dropped a catch, it was because I had let my concentration slip.

My movement would have been a split second slower than usual and the ball wouldn't hit the middle of the hand.

First slip is a specialist position whereas there is not much difference between fielding at second or third slip where the thicker edges come.

At first slip there is the wicketkeeper to take into consideration because any keeper, if he believes he can take the catch, will dive in front of the slips.

At second or third you know that if it is in your vicinity you have to go for the catch.

Some people's expertise is reaction catching, which is what is needed for spinners. I never liked fielding slip to the spinners and wasn't particularly good at it.

It's a completely different discipline to standing back and comes down to instinct as much as anything. Mark Waugh is just as good to the spinners as he is to the seamers.


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STAR TIP::

Graham Gooch
Graham Gooch
Former England captain

With soft hands you take the sting out of the catch.

Did you know?
Graham Gooch took 103 catches at Test level for England and he also played alongside Mark Waugh for Essex.

Top Test slip catchers
Mark Waugh 173
Mark Taylor 157
Allan Border 156
Greg Chappell 122
Viv Richards 122
Ian Botham 120
Colin Cowdrey 120

Open Quote
First slip is a specialist position whereas there is not much difference between fielding at second or third slip where the thicker edges come
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Graham Gooch
Graham Gooch
Former England captain




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