Dissecting a Perfect Cricket Shot
‘Shot’, ‘Whaddapalaya’, ‘That’s a cracking shot’, ‘The ball just raced off the bat’ – how many times have we heard commentators (and us) use these phrases (and more!) to describe a beautifully essayed cricket shot? There are so many beautiful cricket shots played that can elicit such reactions.
The hook, pull, straight drive, cover drive and cut shot are just a few of the cricket shots that you will see on the field of play. What makes for that perfect shot? Here are a few tips for a few shots!
1. Cover Drive
This is easily one of the most beautiful shots in cricket! Played on the back or front foot (depending on the length of the ball), this is an attacking shot against deliveries that are bowled wide outside off. The key to playing a good cover drive is good balance, having your head in a good position, quick movement and a high elbow. The face of the bat should be in the direction of the shot (cover, in this case, hence the name of the shot). And remember – always watch the ball!
Best exponents: Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Saurav Ganguly, Rohit Sharma, Rahul Dravid
One of the most aggressive shots in cricket, a pull is played against a short delivery (bowled around waist height), off the backfoot, towards the legside. The keys to playing a successful hook? Footwork and anticipation! Your front leg forms the base of the shot, while your back foot, shoulders and head move back and across. What can you do to ensure the ball doesn’t spoon up? Guide the ball downwards as you roll your wrists when the ball hits the bat. At this point your weight also moves from the back leg to the front – the key to maintaining your balance is a still head!
Best exponents: Rohit Sharma, David Warner, AB de Villiers, Eoin Morgan
One of the technically most difficult shots to execute, this is also one of the most majestic. Used to tackle the dangerous short ball (when bowled between chest and head height), the hook, when played effectively, is that batsman stamping his authority over the bowler. When not: it’s a mishit waiting to be pouched by the fielders (or the batsman getting clobbered in the face). Balance is the key to playing this shot, watching the ball closely, a determined backswing, swing your arms through the line of the ball as you guide it in the direction of the boundary between square and fine leg.
Best exponents: Jacques Kallis, Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Hashim Amla
A powerfully played shot, it is the perfect way to punish a ball that is short and wide outside off! A cross bat shot, it is played with plenty of power with a free swing of the arms, wrists rolled to keep the ball down and not spoon it to gully! It usually ends with a great flourish, and is one of the most favoured scoring shots square of the wicket.
Best exponents: Rahul Dravid, Chris Gayle, Kumar Sangakkara, Virat Kohli
One of the most effective shots against spinners. Get in a good stride to a ball that’s is not particularly bouncing high going down leg. Swing your bat and bring it down and across your body. At the point of impact with the ball (in front of the pad) remember to roll your wrists to keep the ball down.
Best exponents: AB de Villiers, Steve Smith, KL Rahul
Cricket Bat Sensor:
With the emergence of smart cricket bat sensors like PowerBat, it is easy to extract specs on key parameters that help you achieve copybook strokes. Whether it’s the backlift angle, bat swing, ball impact, bat twist on impact, bat follow through, the ball launch force – crucial data on these aspects will provide an insight into the processes of shot making, giving the batsman a better chance to enhance and improve upon the different strokes in his armoury.