We have come across that wily batsman who manages to score stacks of runs without a great technique.
At first you look at them with contempt, frustrated at how someone with so little technique can hang around so long and score so many runs (especially if you’re the bowler).
Then after a few overs of this you will just put it down to pure luck.
It’s not luck at all.
That guy knows how he bats: He knows his limits and what he is able to do.
This batsman scores runs because he knows what shots he cannot play.
A good example of this is someone I play alongside, who over the years has scored thousands of first team runs.
He will play classically enough: a forward defensive, a cut if it’s short and a drive if it’s full.
That is all.
To watch him you would describe his batting style as compact and neat; his defence is solid and he rarely plays and misses.
80% of the time his attacking shots reach the boundary and his wagon wheel is something a text book player would be jealous of.
Every run he will score in an innings will come between mid-off and point.
He knows these are his areas to score in.
I once asked him why he doesn’t bother with balls angled into his legs? Surely they’re easy runs.
He replied, “I used to play off my legs when I was your age, but I kept getting out. So now I just don’t bother”.
Perfect sense: why play shots you know you’re going to get out with?
When I talk to some of our juniors about scoring big runs, I always explain to them that one day, batting enlightenment will hit you and it will all become clear about how you personally make your runs.
I know that early on in my innings I get most of my runs on the front foot. I don’t take on a short ball.
It’s not until I’m established that I let myself play my riskier shots, by which time I have my eye in and these shots pose lest risk to me getting out.
Understanding the way you bat and becoming comfortable with that style is something that makes a decent batsman a good batsman.
Play to your strengths and achieve nirvana.