Sy says

The Cape Cobras' electric point-patroller shares five fielding tips

As told to Jamie Alter

October 17, 2009

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Sybrand Engelbrecht, the young South African blond in whom many see echoes of Jonty Rhodes' tremendous athleticism, spells out his five fielding tips


Sybrand Engelbrecht takes the winning catch, Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd semi-final, Under-19 World Cup, Kuala Lumpur, March 1, 2008
Engelbrecht practices what he preaches in the Under-19 World Cup semi-final last year © International Cricket Council
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Anticipate the ball and the batsman
You have to watch the batsman's hands and feet closely. Is he going to play off the front foot or back? Does he have room to hit the ball hard? You should know what a batsman's strong areas are and be aware. It is hard at the start but if you work at it, you'll be able to react quicker and better.

Body language
Have a steady position and don't stand too heavily on your feet. That is key to maneuvering yourself towards the ball. Don't be caught flat-footed. That way you will be slower off the mark and potentially give away more runs. Take catches with soft hands. Stay low to the ground.

Stay focused
The better your level of focus, the better your resulting fielding effort. A good fielder is someone who is comfortable at any position.

Practise, and practise hard
Practise throwing the ball under- and over-arm. Practise fielding to your wrong side. Practise chasing the ball, trying to stay low.

Enjoy fielding
Don't ever take your eye off the ball. Want the ball to come to you. If you enjoy fielding, you'll find the ball comes to you a lot more.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

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Jamie Alter Senior sub-editor While teachers in high school droned on about Fukuyama and communism, young Jamie's mind tended to wander to Old Trafford and the MCG. Subsequently, having spent six years in the States - studying Political Science, then working for an insurance company - and having failed miserably at winning any cricket converts, he moved back to India. No such problem in Bangalore, where he can endlessly pontificate on a chinaman who turned it around with a flipper, and why Ricky Ponting is such a good hooker. These days he divides his time between playing office cricket and constant replenishments at one of the city's many pubs.
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