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Picking up singles with Michael Clarke
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Michael Clarke on the drive for Australia A
Picking up singles is just as important as boundaries

Michael Clarke

One of the most important tactics in cricket is picking up singles.

You have to be constantly keeping the scoreboard ticking over so you don't create too much pressure for your team at the end of the innings.

The hardest part of an innings is the start and getting yourself in.

It's good to get off the mark straight away and get down to the other end.

You can get a look at the bowler to see what the ball is doing without having to face them, especially at the start of your innings.

Michael Clarke runs a single off the face of his bat
Soft hands, quick singles

For me, the key to picking up singles is playing the ball with soft hands.

This means you can drop the ball at your feet with as little pace as possible to give yourself more time to run to the other end.

If you hit the ball with pace at a fielder, they'll have more time to take aim and attempt to run you out.

You'll also keep the pressure off your own shoulders if you pick up as many singles as you possibly can.

This means you can start to play a few more shots once you get yourself in.

Running quick singles all the time can be tiring, but that's why we do so much fitness work so we don't get too tired.

Even when it's really hot, you usually have a few seconds where you can catch your breath back in between deliveries.

Picking up singles
Assessing the game

Michael John Clarke factfile
Born: 2 April 1981
Birthplace: Liverpool, New South Wales
Teams: Australia, New South Wales, Hampshire
Batting: Right-hand
Bowling: Left-arm spin
One-day debut: v England, Adelaide, January 2003
Test debut: v India, Bangalore, October 2004

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