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Basic Batting Advice
Written by Administrator   


There are those in the club who can stroke every second ball through the covers or effortlessly flick fearsome fast bowlers onto the road at Dresselrigg, but for most of us batting is, literally, a slog.

I will offer very few pointers;

  • Grip the bat. The old MCC-approved way was to place the bat face down on the ground and pick it up by placing both hands on the handle, right below left (for right-handers; left-handers, as we all know, shouldn't be allowed in the game). Do not adjust the grip as you pick up the bat. It may not feel comfortable but you should find that you can play more than a wild, golf-club-style slog.
  • Take your guard (see taking guard)
  • Anticipate the length of the delivery by watching the ball out of the bowler's hand rather than off the pitch. This gives you vital fractions of a second.
  • Get a good stride in towards the ball if playing forward. Move your front leg towards the pitch of the ball; offisde, legside or straight. You are wearing pads. The ball will not hurt you (although a trigger-happy umpire might).
  • If playing back, get behind the line of the ball. Keep your eye on the ball at all times. Most injuries are caused by taking the eye off the ball. It's amazing how quickly you can move if you see the ball coming at your head or body!
  • Try to play with a straight bat. You are more likely to be wrong in your estimation of length and bounce rather than width and since your stumps are upright (to begin with), a vertical bat will protect them more than a horizontal one and also increase your chances of hitting the ball. As you can see from the TV, even the best batsmen are guilty of playing across the line or bringing the bat down at an angle.
  • Hit the thing!

Running is a much-overlooked part of batting coaching, especially for newcomers to the game. Net practice doesn't introduce the concepts of backing up, calling and lumbering about with pads on.

If you are the non-striking batsman, walk through the crease as the bowler is delivering the ball. Not too far, since he could run you out by not delivering the ball and breaking your stumps instead but make sure you are on the move. As with fielding, it is easier to start running if you are already in motion. Also, a 20 yard dash is reduced to 18 yards. Two yards can make a big difference.

If the ball is struck behind square (i.e. in a direction behind the striking batsman, be it leg- or off-side) such that you, as non-striker, can better judge the run, then the responsibility of the run is your call.

If you are the striker and the ball has gone in front of the wicket, then the responsibility of the run is your call.

  • NO! means you are definitely not running
  • YES! means you are definitely running (do not shout go!)
  • WAIT! means you are not sure if there is a run on. Once the doubt is removed one way or the other (a misfield, a good stop) state Yes or No as appropriate.

Make sure the call is loud enough to be heard. There are no prizes for not being heard and thereby introducing doubt, nor is anyone going to laugh at you for shouting.

As you pass the other batsman, give an initial indication of how many runs you think are on, e.g. two or three, but always clarify the next run as you are turning. Whoever is viewing the action is in the best position to do this. Your running partner may slip or pass out so be prepared for such eventualities; don't just charge on regardless.

Even though you may have called for a run, be prepared for the other batsman to shout No! in reply. He may have been caught off-balance or on the back foot and adjudged that he cannot make the run so respect that view. Obviously if he's a fat lump hogging the strike and out of puff try to run him out as soon as possible for the sake of the team!

Once you have committed to a run get the head down and sprint. Don't look at the fielder or anything else, just go for the line. Get the bat down and run it in over the line. Many's the batsmen who should have made his ground but had his bat flapping in the air instead.




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