How to exploit batting weaknesses: Low backlift | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How to exploit batting weaknesses: Low backlift

This is part of a series on How to exploit batsman's weaknesses. To see the other weaknesses click here.

The low backlift is seen at every level from school matches to Tests. Yet, at lower levels it's a batting weakness that can be used to your advantage.

Not every batsman with a low backlift will be as good as Paul Collingwood because a low backlift is very limiting to technique. Here is what you can do when you see a player with this problem.

How to spot the weakness

There are two types of low backlift, but they both are obvious, especially from the side.

The cocked wrists version looks like this:
Here the batsman has picked the bat up with his hands and wrists only, keeping his front arm straight, stopping the classic diamond shape from being formed.

The second form of low backlift is similar, looking like this:

Again there is no diamond shape because the batter has not bent his elbows and raised the hands above his hips. The result is a backlift that barely gets over the stumps.

Why is it weakness?

From a low position, the batsman is limiting his scoring options and becomes especially vulnerable to good spin bowling.

When the hands are left low it's difficult to use gravity to generate enough force to have a good swing. As a result the batsman with the low backlift tends to compensate by jabbing at the ball and using the bottom hand to create power.

This has two effects:

1.    When hitting straight bat shots the ball tends to go more leg side as the batsman hits across it with a strong bottom hand

2.    When driving on the front foot the ball is more likely to go in the air.


A low backlift can also be a sign of low confidence. It's natural to compensate, say, for getting bowled by lowering the backlift, so the batter will be harder to get out if he is bent on defence, but not so clever when he is attacking.

How to bowl to a low backlift

Err on the side of a fuller length as the low backlift player drives in the air. If you bowl short because of the strong bottom hand the batter can cut and pull easily.

Your line is best on the off side as the batsman is strong on the leg side.

Put the batter under pressure with short midwicket and extra cover when he or she is first in to show you know his or her weakness.

Another tactic is to exploit any extra bounce in the wicket. With such low hands there is a good chance of gloving the ball against both spin and seam.

If your bowling is getting extra bounce get in a short leg, leg gulley or both.

Combine this with a field to cut off his favoured shots. For example, here is a sample field:

In this field a seamer is bowling on a bouncy wicket and wickets are the priority. The captain has hedged his bets a bit. He has a slip, short extra and short midwicket for the drives and a leg gulley for the short ball. Deep midwicket is set back to stop the batsman shovelling the ball over the top (his best shot).

The final tip to getting a low backlift batsman out is to keep him or her in the game. A low backlift on a blocker stops becoming a flaw and starts becoming an advantage.

In limited over matches this isn't a problem, but if the draw is possible you need a captain who can dangle the carrot to prevent the batsman blocking out.

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how exaclty does paul collingwood get away with it then?
oh and talking about international players, how do players cut themselves off in their trigger move and get away with it?

Let em stress that eveb Test batsmen are not technically perfect.

Collingwood doesn't get away with it, he has just developed a game plan that compensates for the flaw. He is very deft at working the ball into the leg side or hitting big over midwicket. He doesn't play the off side shots nearly as often because he knows it's not his best area. Plus he has the strength and timing to get away with it a bit more.

As for getting cut off in the trigger, again it depends who you mean. Some players have such a good eye they can compensate for the error. It doesn't mean us mere mortals should try and copy them because we have less chance of being able to compensate.

Thats correct David. Even my son at the age of 11 wants to play DIL(SHAN) SCOOP but he is failing to understand that these are players who have proved themselves at international level

David, you talk about this "diamond shape." I'm intrigued to know what you mean by that and if you can provide any images of a classic "diamond shape." You've got me anxious that I might be doing the former!

Have a look here Don. See if that helps.

This is absolutely rubbish it doesn't matter about where your backlit starts off whether it is in and Paul collingwood starts off low then picks it up high so young players shouldn't worry about what you are looking at here just find the what is right for you

I find that having a higher back lift helps me to time the ball better. I have noticed that my cover driving and off side driving has being going up in the air instead of on the ground probably because I have had my bat too low. Whilst reading this page, it occurred to me that a high back lift may be better as I am more of an off-side player who likes to drive the ball hard. Back lift is just personal preference in the end though. Glad I stumbled on this page though, it has really helped me alter my technique and boost my confidence, so much so that I got 122* at the weekend, my highest score this year:)

Yes, there is no one backlift for all players and all situations. Kevin Pietersen uses a fairly low backlift and he does alright. Brian Lara had a massive backlift. Was either man wrong? No, but you do need to experiment and see what works for you.

Congratulations on your hundred Harry!

Good day mates, I recently started getting match experience and realized my low backlift was the reason for me getting trouble to score. I tried adjusting it but I dont feel as comfortable since I think Im going to get bowled easier with a higher backlift. Any tips?