United Cricket Club.
On arriving at the batting crease the first thing to do is take guard. Hold the bat upright with the bottom tip touching the ground. The side edge rather than the front edge faces towards the umpire who is standing at the other end of the pitch, behind the stumps. The object is to get a bearing of the stumps behind you when batting.
There are three common guards - leg, middle and leg, and middle or center - one of which the umpire will indicate on request. When the umpire has given the guard requested, mark the pitch with your boot or the tip of your bat, so that throughout your innings you will know exactly where to stand in relation to the stumps.
For a young player, middle or center is a good position to take. As the batsman becomes more experienced, he will decide upon the guard that is most suited to his style of play.
Lay the bat face down with the handle facing you. Now pick it up with both hands as if it were an axe and you were going to chop wood. Keep the hands close together so that they work together - not too high nor too low on the handle and not too far apart. Have a tight grip with the top hand and a firm grip with the bottom hand. The V's formed by the thumb and index fingers should point up to the shoulders.
Some players prefer to have the top hand on the front of the hande of the bat, whereas others find it more comfortable at the back. This should be a personal choice.
This is an essential part of batting in order to have smoothness in the strokes. Using the top hand, the bat is lifted to a position parallel to the ground. A backlift which is too high will take too long to return to a hitting position, causing the batsman to be late for his stroke.
The backlift must also be as straight above the stumps as possible, as this will help with bringing the bat straight through the ball and not across the line of the ball when a stroke is played.
This is played to the ball which is pitched up and in line with the stumps. The front foot is moved forward and placed alongside and near to the ball. The left shoulder and head lead into the shot and the head stays down and in line with the ball. The bat meets the ball at a downward angle opposite the front pad. The left hand is in control and the right hand grips the bat with the thumb and first two fingers. Back-left and follow-through are straight with the weight forward so as to keep the ball on the ground. The back foot rests on the toe and remains inside the crease line. Once this shot is perfected, you are starting to be a good and effective batsman who will be able to defend his stumps.
Here the ball is pitched short and lifting in line with the stumps. The back foot moves back and across to the line of the ball and the head moves across with it in the process. The back foot should remain parallel to the crease to maintain a side-on position. The front foot follows the back foot and the ball is met with a downward angled bat about on foot in front of the body and not alongside the body. Grip the bat firmly with the top hand and the thumb and first two fingers of the bottom hand. The left elbow is high so as to keep the bat facing downwards. Back-lift and follow-through are straight with the head down and the eyes in line with the ball. Despite playing back, you should try to get your weight moving forward when the bat makes contact with the ball.
As for the forward defensive stroke, the front foot is placed at the pitch of the ball which would be just outside the off-stump. The left shoulder and the head lead into the line of the ball and the bat swings freely through the line of the ball and then in the direction of the shot. The sideways-on position is important and the grip is the same as for the forward defensive stroke. The weight is on the front foot with a bent front knee. All power is generated through the top hand and there should be no forcing with the bottom hand to achieve more power.
A difficult shot to master but if the basics are followed it comes easily. The ball is pitched on the left-stump. The foot is placed at the pitch of the ball and outside it. The shoulders turn into the shot and the bat swings through inside the pad and then in the direction of mid-on. Again, the weight is on the front foot and the wrists must not turn or flick. The left shoulder again leads the shot and the back foot may pivot and turn on the toe. The font knee is bent and full arm follow-through is essential. The head is down and in line with the ball.
This is for a ball which is pitched short and outside the off-stump. The right foot goes back and across the stumps with all the weight placed on it. The left shoulder is turned into the shot and the bat is raised high above the right shoulder and then comes down and through the ball as it passes by. This keeps the ball down on the ground. here the right hand is in command, and the arms should be stretched out straight. If they are bent, you are cutting at a ball which is too near your body.
This is played to a short ball on or outside the leg-stump. The back foot goes directly back towards the stumps with the lefty foot being placed outside the leg-stump so that the stomach faces the bowler. The head comes into line with the ball and, on connection, the wrists must roll in order to keep the ball on the ground. Try to hook the ball from in front of the stomach as you are then more likely to connect. Always aim to hit it at arm's length to obtain maximum power and try to hit the ball in the direction of the square-leg umpire. Allow your weight to move with the shot and do not lean back.
This shot is played to a short ball on or just outside the off-stump. The back foot moves back and across in line with the ball. Once again the bat is swung parallel to the ground, connecting the ball two or three feet in front of the body and the wrists are rolled over to keep the ball down. The head comes across with the foot into line with the ball and, if hit properly, the ball should go through the field at mid-wicket.
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