Picture the scene: You are playing a Twenty20 match and it’s the last few overs. The field is set back and the bowler is trying to bowl yorkers. You need to score at nine an over to win.
It’s time to slog.
Or in modern parlance, power hitting.
Whatever you call it, clearing the ropes is even more vital now limited overs formats dominate. Despite what your coach may say, there are times when you just have to give it the long handle.
But it’s not all about closing your eyes and swiping it to cow corner. That's one way to hit a boundary, but there is a method to the madness.
This kind of play is more of a mindset than technique. It doesn’t matter who the batsman is or who the bowler is, when the time is there to slog you have to go for it whether you are an opener or a tail ender.
So, here are some strategies by which you can improve while keeping risk under control.
Look at the field
The fielding team knows you are going to come after them and they will try to contain you. Calculate the field setting and work out the area with least protection. That's where to go with your shot.
Naturally, if you do well, a smart captain will reinforce the field in the area you are constantly hitting, so recalculate the preferred areas of slogging regularly. Look to outsmart the fielding side in the short term by hitting the gaps.
Pick your moment
Slogging is not brainless cricket; getting carried away can cause you to lose your wicket very quickly. So after you have analysed the field and decided which areas you would attack most, wait for your chance.
There is little need for you to play each ball on its merit, but going after every ball would mean that fielding team has more chances of getting you out. If you choose to hit the right ball and decide to let one or two go away, it can prolong your stay at the wicket.
You can alwaysdrop and run those ball in different areas. For example, if you are looking to scoer big over midwicket and the bowler gives you a full ball outside off, dink it to third man for one and prepare for the more suitable delivery.
Get a technique
Big hitting still requires technique. More than closing your eyes and swinging!
Learn to put all your energy in the stroke without losing "shape". Some people learn to backload like the link above while others take a more traditional technical approach. Neither is wrong, it's whatever works for you. A good drill to try different ways is range hitting.
Make sure that follow through is fluent. Lack of momentum in the shot will scoop the ball in the air and you can get caught. You are still trying to time the contact of the ball on the bat with your down swing, even when going over the top.