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.