There are few better feelings as a cricketer than thumping the ball over the boundary for six runs. Patient batsmen can build an innings with singles, two and threes, but spectators come to see the big hitters in professional cricket, and even in amateur cricket, seeing an attacking batsman in full flow is a pleasure. Hitting the big shots is not just about power however, and timing, technique and practice are all required before you start racking up fours and sixes.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Learn the basics first of all. Right handed batsmen should have their left hand at the top of the bat handle and vice versa for a left-hander. Keep your hands close together and make a “v” with your thumb and forefinger pointing downwards. You should stand to face a delivery with your feet about a foot apart, either side of the popping crease, and you should be on the balls of your feet, ready to quickly adapt your position to the type of delivery. Face the bowler side on and keep your eyes on the ball.
Play a hook shot to a short delivery correctly and you are likely to find the boundary. It is a risky shot, played when the ball comes at you between chest and head height. Move your head, shoulders and back foot back and across the crease as you begin your backswing. Move your front leg towards the leg side and keep your hands high as you judge the line and length of the ball. If you decide to hook, swing through the stroke so that your arms are fully extended as you hit the ball. Your follow through should see both feet move round towards the direction of the shot and your weight will be resting on your back foot.
Use the pull shot for short balls that come at chest height and below. Move your back foot sideways and pivot on your front foot as the ball approaches. Open your stance and begin a high back swing so that you are beginning to swing downwards as the ball bounces. Keep your arms straight during the swing and roll your wrists as you connect with the ball to keep it low. With the hook shot you are looking to clear the boundary for a six whereas with a pull you want to maintain control, avoid the fielders and score four runs.
Hit a straight drive back over the bowler’s head for one of the most satisfying shots in cricket. Wait for a full-length delivery pitched around middle or off stump. Lean into the shot with your front shoulder, using your front foot and a bent front knee to get in line with the ball. Keep your head level with or ahead of your front knee and position yourself on the toes of your back foot. Move the bat quickly and vertically through the stroke with your wrists relaxed. You should make contact with the face of the bat pointing towards the sky. This shot is as much about timing as power.
Tips and warnings
- Use a helmet when batting, particularly if you are facing fast bowling and trying to play attacking shots.
- Check the field placings in between deliveries. If you are taking risks and hitting the ball in the air, the opposing captain will move fielders around to try and catch you out.
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