Analysis | Rebecca Burns' 4 skips of doom
Written By: Jeet Vachharajani
Picture Courtesy: Cricket Queens
Rebecca Burns is one of the few batters in New Zealand cricket with an ability to muscle the ball over the ropes. She likes to face spin & hit the ball powerfully by using her feet. But, there are evident weaknesses in how she goes about it. In the 5 games that she has played in this season so far, she has been dismissed 4 times & all of them have come against spin.
I observed a pattern with her dismissals against spinners. She was dismissed 3 times to right-arm off-spinners (Suzie Bates - Jess Watkin - Nensi Patel) & 1 time to right-arm wrist spin (Sarah Asmussen).
She shows her cards early to the spinners by jumping down the track in what is a premeditated ploy. The only time she delayed her movement was against Jess Watkin (column 2) & that's because she had got away against Watkin in the same game when she was dropped after coming down the pitch. The other three instances had her movement initiated.
Now the problem with this is that she did it against bowlers who generally don't bowl stump-to-stump line regularly. These are spinners who like to throw it wide like Leigh Kasperek every now and then. To add to that, all these 4 bowlers have the ability to drift the ball away. So when Burns comes down the track & these bowlers throw it wide, she is caught in a position where she has to reach for the ball to connect. Now when you come down the track and have to reach for the ball - then it's not a good sign. Then the away drift or leg spin takes the ball further away from Burns & the rest is the wicket-keeper's job to collect and take the bails off.
Column 1 - Middle row: 3 stumps visible - Result: Stumped (Ball drifts away)
Column 3 - Middle row: 2 stumps visible - Result: Stumped (Ball drifts away)
Column 4 - Middle row: 1 stump visible - Result: Stumped (A sharp leg break that drifts in the air and spins away after pitching)
Column 2 - Middle row: No stump visible - Result: Caught & bowled (Covers the line better & is able to get to the pitch of the ball)
It's easy, isn't it? Just throw the ball wide like all these 4 bowlers did, and get the ball to drift or turn away & you can get her stumped. This is the rough trajectory of those 4 deliveries. Jess Watkin has the widest release of the four.
This doesn't undermine her ability against the spinners. If these same balls are in the arc and in line with her position, then the bowler would be doing some ball-watching as it will sail over the leg side boundary. This is when my mind casts back to Sophie Devine and why she is the best player in women's cricket when it comes to clearing the ropes. She is not dependent on coming down the track like Burns or Watkin, and that's because she also has another dimension to her game. She hangs back and has the ability to dispatch the balls using the slog-sweep. When this is combined with the ability to use the feet, it becomes a deadly combination!