How to exploit batting weaknesses: Top hand grip | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How to exploit batting weaknesses: Top hand grip

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

Talk to any school cricketer about gripping the bat and Vs and he will know what you mean. Everyone knows how to grip a cricket bat.

But players of all ages still get the top hand position wrong.

And even a small difference in to hand position alters the way a batter plays allowing the bowler to take advantage.

How to spot the weakness

There are two basic mistakes with top hand grip. So when the batsman takes guard have a quick look at his or her hand position. You are looking for either:

The V going right down the side of the bat like this:

The V going right down the back of the bat like this:

As you know, the ideal is to have the V of the top hand halfway between these two positions. So if you see the top hand too far round either way you can predict the weaknesses of the batsman's technique before he has even faced a ball.

Why is top hand grip position so important?

 A batsman is trying to play straight and this is best done with the top hand controlling the bat.

When the grip is too far to the side (as in the first picture), top hand control becomes much more difficult and the batsman has to compensate by bringing the bottom hand in. This either closes the face (meaning he is not presenting the full face of the bat to the ball), or the ball is hit in the air.

When the grip is too far to the back of the bat (as in the second picture) the batsman finds it very hard to cover drive although straight driving is usually good.

A conventional grip solves these problems instantly. But let's not tell our potential victim that if we want to get a wicket.

How to bowl to the side V

With the V in a sideways position the batsman is least confident driving straight and through the off side.

The means they are most vulnerable to a ball with a line that starts outside off stump and swings or spins in to hit the top of off.

Catchers in front of the wicket like short midwicket are important. Gulley can also take thicker edges from a slightly closed face. Mid on and mid off can be set slightly deeper to catch the airborne drive.

How to bowl to the back V

The weak area for a V in the back position is driving wide. If you see this weakness your line is better outside off stump. If you can swing or move the ball away, all the better.

Close catchers behind the wicket will be most busy so set up slips and gulleys to take the edges. Short extra cover on the drive is another useful position.

It's important not to bowl too straight to this player has he or she is strong straight and off the legs.

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Unrelated to your article, but what do you think of the Mongoose bat? I don't think you've ever talked about it on pitchvision. Saw Chamara Kapugedera of SL use it in their T20 WC match against India.

On a related note, the grip of the top hand in the 2nd pic is similar to to Bradman's top hand grip...

We have not because we have never seen or used one. If Mongoose are reading this we are happy to review one, but you need to reply to your emails!

Hi David, I must have missed your comment but are you talking about my email? I've never entered an email whenever I've commented here.

If you do want to contact me I've entered my real email in the "E-mail" field in this comment.

Sorry G, I mean Mongoose need to answer.

Hello David

Nice work with the website. Its really informative and sets one thinking about the various aspects of the game. I agree with G on the observation that the top hand grip in the 'v too far back' picture is similar to the Don's grip. How about it? I've read that the Don was especially adept at scoring behind point and he himself admitted somewhere that he was slightly handicapped driving between mid-off and cover. Maybe he didn't drive to the wide stuff and just cut it?

Hard to say, but to think he played within his limitations and still averaged 99.94 is quite a thing.

please can u tell me about the conventional Vs of the grip.....???

What a great piece, I have seen these two kind of grips and had a vague idea about the differences, but only when I see ideas in writing I will be able to visualise and practice it, its done here perfectly. Great practical advice!!

I had found out why I was playing and missing the balls on/outside off stump which should be driven in the V ideally, while all the pull shots go perfect - My grip was too 'side-ish'. But to judge the new opponent batsman seeing the grip now is something different


David, that was very informative and well explained. Interesting points to assist a batsman and a bowler. I now know how to pull better and how to clear mid off, 2 weaknesses of mine.
I think a batsman who can gently loosen the top hand grip to allow it to move between these 2 V positions just before impact can increasing their range of scoring shots.


I find my 12+ year old son rotating the grip between back and side of the bat just before the bat comes down from the bat lift. He meddles the ball well. Is it a good thing to play like that.