The ‘run sweep’ has been called many names: paddle sweep and lap sweep.
I call it the run sweep as the a batter uses the pace on the ball and lets the ball run off the face of the bat into a vacant short fine leg position for anything between 2 and 4 runs.
It’s a shot I love to coach because you can use it to move a fielder in order to open up an easy scoring option.
You remember from the hard sweep article that I shared a number of circumstances that lead to a sweep being a good option when playing spin. The considerations for the run sweep are:
- The field setting of the opposition captain blocks out straight batted scoring options
- You need to move a fielder to open up an easy scoring option/area
So, if square leg is blocked, the quickest way to move that man is to play a run sweep.
You will find that the square leg fielder will be moved to cover the shot. This opens up square leg and balls can be tucked into that area for singles off both front and back foot.
Rarely can a bowler afford to defend both areas. To do so leaves other boundary and single options open.
Runs will accumulate quickly and in a low risk fashion.
Some captains then move the short fine leg to square leg again; good batters instantly play a run sweep into the vacant area.
You then are in control and playing with the opposition bowler and captain’s minds!
Two of the players who do this well in the England set up are Ian Bell and Stuart Broad, watch them against spin when you next get the chance.
Now that is power over the opposition!
Run sweep technique
The fundamentals of the movement are similar to the hard sweep:
- Head and front shoulder lead the motion to the ball - often players over-stride and lead the movement with the front foot causing problems later on in the shot.
- The hands look to reach as far as they can in front of the front knee; this means that batter then has the option of playing the run sweep to a larger length range. Ideally, with this increased reach, the ball can be contacted on the full toss, yet the shot can be hit from half-volley and length as well.
- Many good players of the shot adjust the bat slightly in the hand to open the face a little prior to contact. This helps them to present more bat face to the ball and increase their percentages in making clean contact. Give it a go and see if it works for you.
- The head position is low to the ball (more control) and in advance of the front pad. This is crucial. It enables the hands and arms to fully extend to the ball and prevents the hands from getting tangled up against the pads.
- Many players find that they struggle to keep their heads in advance of the front knee. Often this is due to the back knee being in contact with the ground and therefore, pulls the weight and head back. Ask the player to keep the back knee slightly off the ground through their movement to the ball and contact as this will facilitate a more advanced head position in the shot.
- The head position remains still way after the ball has been struck. Many players miss the ball as they move their eyes and head to the direction that they intend to hit the ball. It is vital that this coaching point is emphasised.
Pairing up: run sweep and tuck
In order to take full advantage of having the run sweep in your repertoire, a player needs to also have the tuck into square leg of both front and back foot. Master this shot also and then the player will have an appropriate pair of shots.
A player with run sweep and tuck as a pair of shots is a captain’s nightmare. Make sure you are coaching this shot to all you players from openers to number 11.