Cricket has developed over time, with new technology being introduced to increase technique and skill. However, the traditional names of all cricket fielding positions and regions on the field remain unchanged.
The third man position, one square from the keeper to the batsman’s offside, is one of the most exciting and interesting fielding positions on the field. The third man’s task is to basically neutralise any runs that may arise as a result of the ball going behind the slips or gully fielders.
When the ball goes behind them, another fielder must stop it from reaching the boundary. The ball travels very swiftly around slips, and the third man is an extremely vital position in limited-overs cricket because many edges fly towards or over the top of the slips.
Although no one knows how the phrase originated, it is speculated that when the overarm bowler was introduced, there was a need for a “third man” or “third fielder” to supplement the slips and gully. As a result, the phrase “third man” was coined.
Short Third Man:
The gully is derived from the small gap that exists between the point and the slips. It was previously known as a short third man. Third man (or third man up) used to be the position between slip and point, but it has migrated further into the field over time.
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Why Have a Third Man?
The third man is positioned behind the square on the off side. The batsman will be playing straight for the most part, but your major responsibility will be to stop the ball that is edging towards you from straight bat shots and return it to the wicketkeeper.
When a fast bowler is bowling, you will find yourself all the way on the rope, simply hoping to prevent the boundary and get the ball in while giving up 1 or 2 runs along the way. A hook or a flying edge may catch you off guard.
Traditionally, fast bowlers are sent there to field and return the odd ball with lazy disinterest. However, expectations are higher these days, with perfect throws, diving catches, and sliding stops all expected.
Spinners, slower medium pacers, and faster bowlers attempting to work their way past field limits might move you up to the short third man position in the circle.
Here, you will be attempting to prevent the single from being taken. You are also more likely to grab a catch, such as from a top-edged sweep.
How to Field at the Third Man?
When fielding on the boundary, you have plenty of time because the ball is either not coming to you or is coming slowly, so you don’t have to anticipate or focus too hard. This is why bowlers should contemplate and strategize in between overs.
A competent third man fielder, on the other hand, must be able to attack the ball even when it is coming slowly and then throw it flat and hard to the keeper.
You must also be able to cover a lot of ground while rushing around the perimeter and diving to stop it. Catches that come to you will frequently necessitate you rushing or perhaps diving forward.
Watch the batsman more closely when he is shaping to drive towards the third man, and be ready to move fast the instant the ball comes off the bat.