When a bowler is in rhythm they are in control, so it’s your job as a batsman to find ways to disrupt that balance.
Mostly bowlers find ways to do it to themselves, but you can have an influence in the right circumstances. One simple way to do that is by moving around your crease.
But you have to do it right, so here are four ways to do it, alongside the reasons to get your toes twinkling:
1. Get out of your crease
Moving out of your crease is an aggressive move that upsets the seam bowler’s length. A good length ball is now a half volley. A yorker is a full toss that you can dispatch anywhere on the park.
It also makes LBW a lot harder to get.
Plus it has the benefit of intimidating the bowler. You are suddenly bigger; suddenly coming forwards and making them think twice about where to bowl:
The tactic works especially well if you are a front foot player, or you are playing on a slow pitch that requires a lot of driving.
Step out as the bowler enters the delivery stride. Some people prefer to do it early so they can get set at the new position, others prefer to go late and be on the move. Practice both.
With slower seam bowlers you will see the wicketkeeper stand up to counter the move. That’s OK because you can still try the next option.
2. Stand deep in your crease
Standing with both feet inside the crease is also designed to put a bowler off his length as you can now play back to good length balls. It’s especially effective against spinners and slower medium paced bowlers; both of whom hate to get cut and pulled.
Of course you stand a greater risk of LBW, especially against quicker bowlers with the keeper up, so be careful on the pitch you choose. A slow, low one is not the best idea.
It’s also wise to watch your bat and feet as knocking your stumps over is a genuine risk.
3. Exaggerate your trigger move
Another trick to using the crease is a variation of starting deep. This time you start in your normal position but move back and across just before the ball is bowled.
This gives the impression you have “cleared the front leg” even though it’s the back leg you have moved.
From this position you can play any shot: Short balls can be cut or pulled, length balls can be driven on the off or leg side.
You can also slog sweep.
It’s a bit more of a risk because you are opening yourself up, so not in the best position. However, by doing that you are giving yourself options without taking a massive chance.
4. Become a moving target
The last option carries the most risk but allows you to hit bowling into gaps at the end of an innings: you move sideways.
The choice is:
Step away to the leg side and aim to hit the ball over mid off or extra cover
Step away to the off side and aim to chip the ball over short fine leg
It’s not easy because it’s premeditated and you are moving away from your guard so you will lose where your stumps are. This means you have to practice it a lot to get right and you also need to save it for situations where you need to score most quickly.