FITNESS

Each of cricket's three core disciplines – fielding, batting and bowling – require serious stamina and, most importantly of all, explosive pace. The ground gained by zipping off on the 22-yard dash from crease to crease that split second quicker can be the difference between winning or losing – especially in Twenty20 cricket, when mad sprints during the final overs are often integral to victory. If you can turn twos into threes between the wickets because you're very quick, that's a massive advantage.

What you can do

Repeatedly sprinting 50 metres to the boundary and then turning and throwing a ball at the wicket hones a number of vital skills in one drill. Concentrate your cardio work on shuttle runs and interval running. You need to be explosive, powerful and quick in everything you do. Research at the Sydney University found six sessions of 30-second, 100% effort sprints over two weeks can double endurance capacity.

FIELDING

Top-drawer fielding requires lightning-quick intelligent decision-making, as well as unerring accuracy with the ball in hand. When training the key thing is to decide whether you're concentrating on technique or throwing balls at the wicket as fast as you can.

What you can do

Deploy a variety of different drills with a partner, picking up the ball and throwing it at both the stumps and a man at the wicket from a large range of distances. A European Journal of Sport Science study found two specific throwing training sessions per week significantly increases maximal throwing velocity without harming accuracy.

Eyesight work can also seriously improve your catching skills and reactions. Put one hand over an eye while catching, and trying to make catches using only peripheral vision. Try catching while balancing on a wobble board. Doing things like these will get you prepared and help you under match-day pressure.

BOWLING

Becoming a better bowler is largely about endlessly honing your action. To maximise your spin you want more body movement and lots of attention paid to the angle at which your wrist releases the ball.

What you can do

Pros use a small medicine ball to practise their action with, so when they use the real thing it's much lighter, smaller and easier. Note that while a fast bowler can afford to lay down some muscle on their arms – most spend a good amount of time in the gym on classic upper-body power exercises such as the bench press – spinners need to be more lithe. They have to be strong, but still need to be supple in their actions.

BATTING

Out at the crease for (hopefully) many hours at a time, concentration skills can be as important as technical ability when it comes to batting. You need to find a balance between being focused and being relaxed. When the bowler turns and starts their run up you need to be really focusing in. You play your stroke. And then you need to switch off and relax a little bit. A lot of top-level cricketers suggest having a chat with the umpire or just taking your mind off the game and thinking about other things.

What you can do

We could provide endless tips regarding specific batting techniques, but let's face it, what you really want to be able to do is clout the ball for six. Watch the ball very carefully, especially as it leaves the bowler's hand, and make sure your arms aren't too tense. Some people try to hit the ball too hard and lose their shape, so try a strong-but-relaxed swing of the bat. Get the timing spot on and, like a Michael Clarke's innings, it'll go on forever!