Tips and Techniques to Bat Against Fast Bowlers
When you are facing a fast bowler, not only is it intimidating, but it also makes you feel uncomfortable. You can’t just brush off the feelings. All you have to know is that you are the one in charge and need to display that in the pitch. You need to gather up confidence, and in everything you do, don’t let the bowler know you are frightened by their moves. Keep calm with your hands soft so that you can make quick changes to ensure tactical shots.
While shooting long drives might not be a possibility at the time, you need to focus on shielding the stumps and striking the gaps. In this case, your instincts do matter a great deal. Therefore, you should work on perfecting your batting style quite often. Here in this article, we are going to discuss ways that will help you play against a fast bowler.
Tips on Playing Against a Fast Bowler
Getting started, you need to first work on yourself by being composed and collected at all times.
· Show Confidence in Speed
The bowler thrives while knowing you are intimidated by his speed. The best thing to do in this case is to approach the situation with the confidence that shows you are not afraid of speed. Face the bowler with a positive mindset and show that you are in charge. Just make sure that before going for the match, you are well fed and received enough rest. Your mind will be free to only focus on your batting techniques.
· Stay Calm While Maintaining a Comfortable Stance
In front of the wickets, stand bending your knees slightly and ensure the width of your feet and shoulder is apart. The other non-dominant shoulder should face the bowler. Let your head face the bowler while slightly bending forward from the hips and with a straight torso. Place the weight of the balls in your feet to react fast to the ball. Maintain straight shoulders throughout even as you swing. You can slightly open your stance by turning a little to face the bowler. Doing so can provide a better view of the ball.
· Soften Your Grip on the Bat
Hold the bat with your ancillary hand placed close to the handle top. The other hand should remain nearer to the paddle while being fairly close to the non-dominant hand. Here, ensure your grip is not as tight or rigid so that you can open your hands in quick succession to offer a defensive swing. It is worth knowing that hitting the borderline comes second after ensuring defensive contact and striking the gaps.
· Don’t Move Your Head and Always Keep Your Eyes on the Ball
When you focus on the ball, you are expecting its trajectory so that you can be ready to react and avoid getting hit. Observe the line and length of delivery from the bowler and allow your instincts to deliver the next shot. With a little practice, you will gain more experience to understand the deliveries for making strong contact with, which ones need a defensive swing, and those that are not fit for playing.
Now it’s time to take your shot
· Get on That Trigger Move
Being still in the crease will not give you a lot of time to counter against the fast bowler. That is why as soon as the bowler delivers, you are required to trigger as you slightly step back to get a good position and give the correct shot. While stepping back, ensure three-quarters of your weight is on your front foot to prevent your back from getting stuck. Putting all your weight on your back foot will mean making your shot takes longer than when the weight is on the front foot. This allows you to move forward and backward much faster as you decide on the shot to make. Keep in mind that placing your weight on the balls helps speed up your footwork.
· Defending the Stumps
While playing with a fast bowler, chances are, they are targeting to quickly put the wicket down. If this is the case, you should step forward using your front leg and swing the bat upward as it faces the ball to make your straight shot. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled on the ball instead of finding ways to drive it.
· Swing The Bat Sideways in the Event That The Ball Begins Bouncing Early
When the ball bounces earlier than expected, you are required to step backward using your back foot while preparing to make a high protective shot. You can do this by swinging the bat sideways and not straight, to drive the ball to a gap. This type of swing is referred to as the pull shot, whereby it drives the ball towards the leg side. While playing with a fast bowler, there is a high probability of you scoring runs simply by making tactical shots in the direction of gaps unlike when driving the ball towards the boundary.
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· Try Driving Your Back Foot
Since you are likely to make many defensive shots, you should be ready to counter a shot bouncing at an auspicious length in the middle or away from the stump. If you get a chance for a back-foot drive, then you should place almost all of your weight in front while drawing your front foot backward and aligning the bat with the trajectory of the ball. In this case, you get to guide your shot using your top hand and charge it by striking with the bottom hand.
Perfecting Your Reactions
When dealing with a fast bowler, you need to have had a lot of practice to handle the game. Your experience will come from plenty of training outside the game to ensure you become a pro. Below are some of the ways you can improve on your reactions and adapt to high speed in the pitch.
· Practice With Tennis Balls
Tennis balls are softer compared to cricket balls and this makes them perfect for practicing. Get a partner who will throw the tennis ball at you while you bat. Here, the person should hit the balls using a racket and towards you as an imitation of high-speed pitches. Ensure to focus on the ball while tracing its path from whence it’s coming from. Also, maintain contact with the target. Using a tennis ball is ideal in this case because it will not hurt you as a cricket ball would.
· Take Note of the Ball’s Line of Delivery
Install a makeshift wicket and tell your partner to bowl pitches at a particular stump. While standing in your crease, call out the stump on which the ball will aim. At every pitch, ensure that you and your playmate are making a precise judgment of the ball’s trajectory. If you get stumped or bowled constantly, then you should ensure to improve on your ability to envisage the path of the ball. With this ability, you get to choose whether to attack, suspend, or defend the stumps.
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· Focus on the Grip of Your Partner While They Bowl
Watching the grip of the bowler helps you anticipate the spin and trajectory of the ball. This way, while practicing, you get to call out the grip immediately after your partner bowls. With two fingers on the grip, expect the spin to be quite tricky and know whether to lay off or dodge.
Slightly shorten the pitch
While preparing to face a fast bowler, it is ideal to reduce the size of the pitch. This then reduces the distance between the bowling and batting crease to intensify the challenge level. Once you familiarize yourself with fast bowling at a shortened distance, then facing a fast bowler on a normal pitch becomes a piece of cake. However, you should note that you shouldn’t reduce the distance too much as it can be risky. Also, while making any changes to the pitch, make sure you are comfortable with them.
· Get a Bowling Machine
If you don’t have a bowling partner to practice with, try a bowling machine. This is a perfect tool that can imitate the speed of bowlers, whether fast or normal. The bowling machines on the market can send down up to 90mph worth of deliveries, which is the perfect speed for practicing if you want to beat a fast bowler. What’s more, these machines can aim at specific areas of the pitch to help you work on precise shots. You can use one of the bowling machines from your club or purchase one to use at home.
As mentioned, facing a fast bowler can be quite a daunting experience. This requires one to have lots and lots of practice to achieve success against a fast bowler. The secret to beating a fast bowler is to partake in every practice session of your club team. All the sessions will give you great opportunities to hone your skills and face fast bowlers with confidence. Every batsman always finds ways to tackle fast bowlers by engaging in many practice sessions, both in the club and at home.
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