Ben Baruch takes the reins again today. This time his article is about going back to the basics of batting: Something we can easily forget about in the world of trigger moves and Twenty20 hitting.
When a batsman is out of form their coach will often tell them to 'go back to basics'. What are these basics?
The grip is essential to play all the shots, and causes problems if not done correctly. The way to test if your grip is good is to put a piece of sting on the ground and take your stance with your toes along it. If you cannot swing the bat right along the string, you should change the grip to do so. Another point is to not hold the bat too low, so the top of the handle doesn’t get it the way of your forearm while driving.
Your head should be positioned along the line of your feet, as opposed to leaning over. If your head it leaning over to the offside, you will start to hit around the ball and you are in danger of missing a straight ball. Your head may be slightly forward, over your front foot. This will help you getting your weight over the front foot while driving, stopping you from driving in the air.
Play in the V
This is also called playing straight. This is especially important when you are playing yourself in. Going by this motto is useful in more than one way. First of all, as you are playing with a straight bat, you are increasing your chance of hitting the ball. However, if you are always looking to play straight, you naturally see balls that are not straight. This means you can judge what to play and leave better.
Hit the Bad Ball
If you are blocking the good ball, then logically you must hit the bad ball to score any runs. When you have played yourself in, and you are just starting to accelerate, you should be punishing anything loose. This is not as complicated as it sounds. The loose balls are the ones too full or too short. If the ball is slightly short and straight, or going down the leg side, is should be a four ball and should be belted, preferably on the floor. If the ball is over pitched, on a half volley, just lean into it and use your natural weight to hit it for four, with your foot to the pitch of the ball. If runs are needed early on, anything bowled on your pads should be runs too. However, this does not mean throw the kitchen sink at it. To hit off your pads, your just need to lean into the ball, keep the bat straight (as opposed to hitting across the line), and a flick of the wrists will send the ball boundarywards.
Image credit: pj_in_oz
If you want to learn everything there is to know about technique, check out Gary Palmer's interactive coaching courses. Gary is a coach with over 20 years experience teaching players to become first class cricketers. For the first time he has put his drills online, only at PitchVision Academy.