A Good Pull Shot Crushes Bowler's Spirits

This article is part of the “How to Improve Your Batting Shot Selection” series. To see the full list of shots click here.

In 2002 Michael Vaughan was in imperious form and it was a pull shot that set the tone.

During the Ashes in Australia that year he seemed invincible. On his way to 177 in the 2nd Test he got a ball from Glenn McGrath that was just back of a length. It was a perfectly reasonable delivery that in a Test match should have been defended.

He was in such good nick he stepped back and dismissed it through midwicket for 4.

That’s the power of the pull shot: It makes bowlers hang their heads and makes batsmen seem like giants.

It crushes the soul and spirit of a fielding team.

But it can also make you look foolish, so choose your weapon carefully. After all, you are not Michael Vaughan.

Easy money: Long hop

As every schoolboy (in 1955) knows, the pull shot is played to a long hop: a ball slow, short and inaccurate enough to give you time to step back and strike it across the line.

It’s easiest and safest to play to a ball on a leg stump line (or just outside), but it can be played safely on bouncier pitches to balls that are straighter.

With the ball bouncing up to hip height you can let bottom hand instinct kick in.

Room for creativity

 Due to the shot being instinctive and rarely coached beyond the basics, the pull shot has a lot of variety between batsmen.

That means you have a pick of styles to use depending on the conditions.

First the slow pulls, that are played on slower pitches or against slow medium or spin bowling.

  • Orthodox pull: Played to slow bowling; you have time to get deep in your crease and transfer your weight, hitting the ball out in front of you and through midwicket. It’s the best technique for safe hitting but is not used against quicker bowling.
  • Front foot pull: Coached in the old days to kids as a way of playing a slow full toss, Twenty20 and true pitches have brought it back to higher levels. It’s a riskier shot that can only be played to medium paced bowling on a reliable pitch but is a useful death option. You can pull off the front foot when the ball has not enough pace and the length is orthodox: higher rick but rewarded with a boundary.

These are most useful at junior levels where the pitches and bowling are slow. However, they are just as effective at high levels with the front foot pull being used in top level international cricket at the death.

The fast pulls are more commonly seen at high levels where the bowling is quicker and the pitches faster and bouncier. When the batsman is more confident the ball will bounce over the stumps he can get the quick-fire pulls out.

  • Lara pull: Played with one leg in the air, the shot allows you to pull the ball against quicker bowlers because you are only using your upper body in the shot.  
  • Ponting pull: This is now the most popular method of pulling in modern cricket. Rather than stepping back and across the batsman rocks his weight back and leans in when hitting the ball. It’s the defining shot of Ricky Ponting’s career. It’s majestic.

You can also use these shots to much fuller balls that you would the slow pulls.

So when considering the pull, look at the pitch and bowling first, decide what the best shot is for the situation and stick to your choice. Then you can let instinct kick in when the right ball arrives.

It will make you that little bit more like Ponting, Lara or Vaughan at the height of their powers. 

Want More Cricket Coaching Tips? Get the FREE newsletter!

If you liked this article and you want more advice, then you can get even more tips delivered to your email inbox every week from PitchVision Academy! The email newsletter is packed with advice from world-class names like Nathan Bracken, Kevin Pietersen, Mark Garaway and many, many more. Plus it's totally free, forever!

Click Here to Get the Free Cricket Coaching Newsletter

Comments

David,
Enjoy the site. As a few technical points for the younger players to consider when pulling:
- Look to hit the ball in front of square. Good players pull through mid-wicket.
- Get the bat out in front so you can make a good swing of your arms. You don't want to be cramped when pulling.
- You don't need to over hit the ball, get your hands high and control the ball

Actually, I would suggest the following:

When pulling (and the same applies to the sweep to some extent), the line of the ball completely defines where you should try and hit it.

A short ball on or outside off should be pulled through midwicket. A short ball on middle or leg stump should be pulled through forward square leg. A short ball outside leg stump should be hit behind square. It's physically impossible to hit a legside long hop through midwicket.

Also: the more legside the ball, the less you need to hit it hard. When pulling a ball thats already going down the legside, all you have to do is give it a little tap to help it on its way, and it will race away to the boundary. hitting a ball through midwicket requires more power from the batsman. It's a bit like the difference between the late cut and the square cut.

I was waiting for this article from 9 months

I pulled a bowler yesterday for four and he took revenge on me by bowling me a no ball which hit me.

I love to play cricket......but when batting I often find that my right arm starts to cramp, making it difficult for me to bat.....also I find that my foot movement is slow..what would you recomend to help me overcome my problems?

u might try a higher bat lift like AB Devilliers or michael vaughan ...and a quick shuffle will get you to a balanced position...remember,it is not what position you start but what position you are in when the ball is released that determines your balance.....and regarding the shuffle,it has to be an instinctive one that is to be used only when you want a better balance...the shuffle from outside leg stump to leg and middle will also help in improving the leg-side play...but always aim to play through the line of the ball with a straight face of the bat...this worked miracles in my batting...so try it in the nets and see if this is helpful...good luck Smiling

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Insert Flickr images: [flickr-photo:id=230452326,size=s] or [flickr-photoset:id=72157594262419167,size=m].
  • Textual smileys will be replaced with graphical ones.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

© miSport Holdings Ltd 2009     Tel: +44 (0)203 239 7543     enquiries@pitchvision.com