This is a guest post from regular contributor and club cricketer, AB.
There is something that so often makes the difference when keeping out a difficult delivery.
Yet it is a subject only rarely discussed or coached.
But using it in the right way, at the right time will give you a second; safe line of defence.
What am I talking about?
It’s the humble pad.
There is no need to fear LBW; the trick to using your pads in defence is to identify the occasions when they can be safely used.
More important; the occasions when the pads can't be used.
When to use your pads in defence
The major use of pads is to create a second line of defence when a bowler is getting serious movement from outside the line of the stumps.
- The pads only come into play when a defensive shot is required.
- The pads can only be used effectively in situations where getting hit on the pad is definitely not going to result in being out LBW.
This means that either the ball needs to be pitching outside the line of leg stump, or if the ball is moving in the opposite direction, you need to make sure that you get your pad outside the line of off stump before contact is made.
The two major uses of defensive pad play are discussed below:
Padding up against the off spinner or inswing bowler
These bowlers are pitching the ball outside off stump and get extravagant movement back in to threaten the stumps .
They're also bowling on a good length where you're afraid that if you simply try to defend your stumps and play for the movement back, you might end up nicking a straight ball to the wicketkeeper.
So how to deal with this catch 22 situation?
Simple: take a big stride with the front foot forward and across, and play the line of the ball with the bat; if the ball carries on straight it will safely hit the middle of the bat, if it moves back it will thump into your pad - but you can't be out because you're playing a shot and the contact is outside the line: Danger averted.
Padding up against the leg spinner or away swing bowler
Here the ball is pitched up outside leg stump and moving across you, with the aim of beating the outside edge of the bat and hitting the top of off stump.
Immediately you should recognise the danger in simply playing down the initial line of the ball with the bat: this leaves the stumps completely exposed should the ball move.
The best way to deal with this line of attack is to position the front pad on the original line, in such a way that the ball will deflect into the leg side should it continue straight on, and to position the bat in anticipation of movement back across you.
Make sure not to leave a gap between bat and pad.
If the ball does spin or swing dramatically, your bat is in position to deal with it; if it carries on straight, then you will be in position to pick up a free leg bye.
Remember though; should the bowler change his line at any point so that the ball is pitching in line with the stumps, then all thoughts of using the pads must be forgotten and the bat must be the sole line of defence.
For instant access to video tips on playing spin, enrol on the online coaching course The Complete Guide to Effectively Playing Spin Bowling from International batting coach, Gary Palmer.