In cricket, a gully, situated just behind the line of the wicket on the off side, is in close proximity to the slips but is designed to grasp opportunities for thick edges.
Many close catchers prefer this position because, unlike slips, it is based on reactions. You either make a spectacular catch or it flies by, and you can’t be blamed for missing it. While the gully is frequently grouped with the slips, it does require special skills.
Why Have a Gully?
This is a position intended for carrying out both catches and save runs. Gully comes into the picture when a batsman is executing shots on the back foot.
When the batter edges the ball towards the gully, the catcher is in position. Moreover, the gully is present to save the boundary if the shot is played down, which usually requires a dive.
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Gully Fielding Techniques and Skills
Since slip and gully are so similar, there are some similarities in techniques and skills. The posture and catching methods are the same.
Concentration is also an important shared skill, although, unlike slips, the gully fielder should be more alert, as the batter shapes to play a cut early and the fielder must prepare himself. As a result, you should keep an eye on the bat and the batsman as the bowler delivers the ball.
Where to Stand?
When a ball is hit through the gully, it comes off the bat faster than it normally goes to the slips. This means that the conventional gully can be deeper than the slips.
On slow wickets, the ball will not travel as high or as far in the air, so you must be daring and get closer. On fast wickets, you may stand a long way back and be confident that the ball will carry.
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Ways to Practice Gully Fielding
Don’t take this as an excuse, but as a reactive position, gully requires less work than other close-catching positions. That’s useful information for captains who have players who aren’t interested in fielding practice.
However, as with any fielding position, practice makes perfect, so having a specialist who practises gully catches at every practice session can benefit your team.
Having someone hit you off the face of the bat is a great way to practise for the gully position. Then double up on slip practice because you may need to move into a second or third slip in certain instances. Finally, working on general response time can help you get into the gully position faster.