The Art of Batting - II
- By Polly Umrigar
THE STANCE - POSITION
Watching down the pitch from the bowlers end, the
batsman's toe should be just about in line with the
leg stump. Some batsmen rest their bat behind the
right toe. This encourages straighter back lift and
sounder for defense play. The left shoulder should
be pointing down the pitch or very nearly so with
the head turned so that both eyes are clearly
focused on the bowler The batsman should try and be
relaxed and comfortable.
[ E ] BACK LIFT
Many coaches teach their pupils the necessity of
taking one's bat back perfectly straight. But
actually, many players fail because their thoughts
are concentrated on where their elbow is or where
the bat is instead of playing the ball. The player
who uses the crease area and takes the bat
backwards absolutely straight would find himself
out hit wicket.
So long as the batsman is in the right position at
the time of playing the ball, I do not think any
thing can go wrong, even if his bat comes down from
the first slip.
Whether the bat is taken back straight towards the
stumps or towards first slip, one should ensure
that it is not too high. The backlift should be no
higher than is necessary for a proper balance
between control in defence and power in attack.
Some coaches teach right-handed batsmen players to
take the bat back with the left hand. Due to this a
defensive complex starts to build up. The right
hand should also predominate sometimes - in the
pull shot for instance, and the left hand,
especially in defence.
[ F ] FOOTWORK
What is meant by the term' footwork'?
The answer - Movement of the feet, so as to be in
the right position with plenty of time to spare.
Footwork should have a requisite speed and should
be coordinated with perfect judgment.
Footwork is certainly one of the keys to
batsmanship; it is to batting what foundation is to
a house. Without it, there can be no structure.
[ G ] BACKWARD DEFENCE
When playing back defensively, the bat in its
downward path should pass just outside the right
pad as it comes forward to meet the ball.
VVS Laxman executes
the backward defensive
shot in the nets.
Coinciding with the initial movement of taking the
bat back, the right foot must be moved back and
across in front of the stumps. The left foot should
be automatically brought across so that the stumps
are completely protected.
The toe of the right foot should point towards the
extra cover or mid-off region. The full weight of
the body should be taken on the right foot. 'The
right hand slides down to the bottom of the handle,
to give added Control. Try to play the ball towards
the bowler or mid-on rather than towards cover. For
a rising ball, the right hand should be left loose.
Keep the head well over the line of flight and
down. Lifting the head is fatal and generally
results in cocking the ball up or hitting it on the
Both the backward and forward defence should be
practised in front of a mirror.
[ H ] FORWARD DEFENCE
This type of defensive stroke should be used when
the ball is pitched farther up than a good length.
There is not much of a backlift and the bat has to
be kept absolutely perpendicular. The handle of the
bat should be kept forward of the blade in order to
keep the ball down.
The batsman should always play
close to the front leg, so that the ball cannot get
between bat and pad. The left shoulder and elbow
should lean forward towards the pitch of the ball
and drag the front foot and body forward.
The left knee should be bent
slightly to hold the weight of the body in balance
and the left toe should be pointed towards cover,
mid-off or the bowler, varying it according to the
direction of the ball.
Keep the head well forward and
down. The right toe must be kept firmly behind the
batting crease to avoid being stumped. In forward
defence, the left hand is in control, the right
hand grip becomes a thumb and first two fingers
should be placed at the bottom of the handle.
The left hand should be over the
handle. The left hand at the back of the handle
curbs any tendency to follow through.
[ I ] LATE CUT
When a slow bowler is operating and is giving the
ball a reasonable amount of air by tossing it up,
he is naturally doing this to try to get more turn
on the ball. The batsman's job is to counter this
idea and one of the best ways in which to do this
is to use the feet and go down the wicket to attack
the bowling, either hitting it on the half volley
or full toss to prevent the spin from taking
To be continued...
The Art Of batting -