In cricket, a batsman’s job is to score and protect his spot. They can’t hit every ball or block every one. They adjust their shot based on how the ball comes and where players are standing.
Do you know about the different cricket shots? Or which shot matches which kind of ball? And have you heard about the creative shots? How do they deal with where players are standing?
In cricket, the shot a batsman chooses relates to where the ball is bowled. Common shots include drives, cuts, glances, pulls, hooks, and sweeps. Nowadays, batsmen also use special shots like switch hit, scoops, or reverse sweep.
Want to learn about regular and special shots and when to use them? This piece is for you.
Now, let’s dive into all the shots in cricket, including some creative ones from the game’s stars.
This picture shows where a batsman usually plays a shot. It’s for a right-handed player. If you’re looking at left-handed players, just think of the picture flipped. If you’re confused about a shot, check this image again.
1. Defensive Shots
Sometimes it’s better to play safe than to attack, depending on the ball. You can defend on your front foot or your back foot. Let’s learn about both these safe shots.
This shot uses the front foot, that’s why it’s named that way. When the ball comes at a good length and is aimed at the stumps, the forward defence is a great move.
To do this shot, step your front foot near where the ball lands. Put your head close to your knee and swing your bat to touch the ball.
Make sure your bat and pad are close. Point your bat down to the ground. Lift your back foot’s heel when you hit, but don’t swing all the way through. You’re trying to block the ball, not hit it far.
I’ve written more about handling good length balls in Cricket in another post. Don’t forget to read it!#
Back Foot Defence
To score big in cricket, you need to know both the Back Foot and Forward Defense. Use the back-foot defense for balls that bounce between your waist and chest.
The main goal is to block the ball, not to score. Make sure the ball doesn’t land where fielders can catch it. To do this, rise with the ball’s bounce and push it downwards.
For this shot, shift your weight from your front foot to your back foot. This lets you move further back. Hold your bat high and slant it down when you touch the ball.
Use a gentle touch, so the ball falls near your feet. Stand tall to manage the ball’s bounce. Check out the next picture for a great example of the back foot defense.
Drive shots are executed with a straight bat, swung in a vertical arc in line with the ball. Let’s delve into the nuances of the drive.
This shot is classic and elegant. Want to see a perfect straight drive? Check out India’s Sachin Tendulkar or Virat Kohli.
Play the straight drive when the ball is a good length near the middle or off stump. Step forward, getting your front foot close to where the ball bounces. Bend your front leg a bit, keep your head over your knee, and point your bat straight at the bowler. Keep your front elbow up when hitting the ball.
Like the straight drive, the off drive goes towards mid-off and long-off. The way you play it is like the straight drive. You do it when the ball is full and near or a bit outside the off stump.
Step forward in time with the ball and swing towards where you want it to go. If you don’t time it right or swing off, it can be a problem.
The on drive goes towards mid-on and long-on. You play this shot for a ball bowled full-length near the leg stump.
You play it like the straight drive, but aim towards mid-on. Stand on your front foot, swing your bat down to meet the ball, and send it to mid-on.
The Cover Drive is like other drives, but it goes in a different direction. It’s called the cover drive because it goes through the “covers” area on the field, between the straight and the square on the off-side.
You play this shot when the ball is full-length near the off-stump or wider. It’s like the off drive, but step forward and a bit wider with your front foot. Make sure your bat and swing go towards the covers.
The square drive is for balls that are far outside the off stump. It’s a hard shot, especially for new players, because you play it with your hands away from your body.
To do it, step forward towards the ball. Bend your front leg and keep your head over your knee. Stay balanced. Timing is super important for this shot.
Back Foot Drive
The back-foot drive lets you score between mid-on and cover. It’s for balls that are a bit short, either on the stumps or a little outside off stump.
How to do it? Step back near the stumps, line up with the ball, and stand tall. Keep your feet close. Swing your bat in line with the ball and hit it with a straight bat. Keep your front elbow high.
If the ball is near your body or leg stump, aim for mid-on. For balls on middle or off stump, hit straight. If it’s a bit outside off stump, aim for mid-off.
3. Leg Glance
When you hit a ball to the leg side using a straight bat and your wrist, it’s called the leg glance. With this hit, the ball goes towards the square leg or near the fine leg. You can play this shot standing on your front or back foot, depending on how the ball comes. The leg glance is about redirecting the ball using its own speed.
Front Foot Leg Glance
To play the front foot leg glance for balls thrown between good and full length near the middle or leg stump, follow these simple steps:
Watch the ball’s path. Lean toward it and put your weight on your front foot. Make sure your front leg is bent.
Lower the bat straight down. Use your wrist to turn the bat a bit towards the leg side.
Hit the ball in front of your front pad to send it off to the side.
Back Foot Leg Glance
The back foot glance is like the front foot glance, but you use your back foot. It’s best for short balls that come to you at a good height. Only play this shot when the ball lines up with your body or if it’s going towards the leg side.
This shot is great against starting bowlers because the ball comes right onto the bat. When you do it right, you can score runs easily on the leg side.
Here’s how to do the back foot leg glance in three easy steps:
Step back in your standing spot. Make sure your leg is covering the stump. Keep your head forward and your body lined up with the ball.
Lower your bat straight down. Use your wrist to turn the bat a little to the leg side.
Hit the ball in front of you and send it to the side.
4. The Sweep Shots
The sweep shots, primarily employed against spinners, are cross-batted front foot shots typically played while kneeling on one knee.
The sweep shot helps you hit the ball on the leg side, from mid-wicket to fine leg. You can use this shot for balls that are close to full length. If the ball comes near the middle or leg stump, this shot works well. But, if the ball turns away from you, avoid this shot. It can mess up your swing and not give the result you want.
The reverse sweep uses the back of the bat and is a new twist on the regular sweep. It’s now very popular in today’s cricket. If fielders are set on the leg side to block regular sweeps, it can leave open spaces on the off-side. So, batsmen can use the reverse sweep to hit the ball in the opposite direction and take advantage of these gaps. This means sending the ball behind the square on the off-side.
The paddle sweep is for faster and full balls. Instead of swinging the bat hard like in a normal sweep, you gently tap the ball. You aim to hit it close to the wicketkeeper.
To do this shot, you need to get low and lean forward. The ball should land a bit towards the middle and leg. Then, stretch your arms out to where the ball is coming and just guide it, using its speed, to make it go really close to the wicketkeeper.