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Junior Thunderbolts STORY
Cricket For Beginners - Part 4

BATTING

The Cut Shot
The Cut Shot is played off the back foot, and is often used to punish short, wide bowling, or by smaller players who cannot stretch far enough to play expansive drives. The shot is also very popular with left-handers because of the angle created when they are bowled at by right-armers. It is a cross-bat shot played square or backwards of square, and the batsman will try and make sure the ball is played towards the ground in a controlled manner. Occasionally you will see a batsman purposely cutting the ball up and over the slips and gully region, but this shot has its risks. If the ball is not as wide as the player anticipated, they run the risk of top-edging to a waiting fielder.

The Pull Shot
Another back foot shot, the pull differs from the cut because the ball is ‘pulled’ away onto the leg side. A pull is taken early, which is a suggestion from the batsman that they are seeing the ball as if it were the size of a football. The bat is swung down onto the ball so that it runs along the ground. The batsman is at risk when playing this shot if the ball keeps low or there is an unexpected bouncer.

The Hook Shot
If the bouncer does arrive, the batsman’s reaction may be to hook the ball, which is an aerial pull. The hook, when played well, is one of the most impressive looking shots in cricket and it has the power to make a batsman look either very good or very foolish. Some players play the shot whenever they see a short ball coming towards them, regardless of field placing or the hardness of the ball. It can lead to a nasty blow to the head or body or a simple catch to someone fielding in the deep.

The Drive
A classic cricket shot, the drive can appear in many guises but it their origins are the same. The shot is played forwards and through the line of the ball, and the batsman has their weight forward, a high elbow and his head is over the line of the ball. Driving and losing this balanced, composed position can result in an edge behind or even the chance of being bowled. Cover drives, straight drives, on drives and off drives are all played off the front foot. Back foot drives are less common as they are trickier to get away from the field.

The Sweep/Reverse Sweep
The sweep is an increasingly popular way of playing spin despite the fact that it is a very risky shot – top edges, being bowled and being given out lbw are all potential dismissals. However, when a batsman sweeps successfully, it can frustrate a fielding side as gaps can be found and the strike is easily rotated. The sweep is a shot hit across the line of the ball and will always be premeditated.

The sweep comes in several different forms – from a paddle sweep which rolls the ball away from close fielders along the floor; to the more expressive slog sweep which flies over mid-wicket.

The reverse sweep is a relatively new phenomenon which has come to prominence with the rise of one day cricket. It is played on the opposite side to the normal sweep shot and can challenge orthodox field settings and leg-side spin bowling, which has been used to try and curb a flow of runs. The batsman must be confident in playing the shot because it can be even riskier than a conventional sweep.

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