Batting tactics and strategy vary depending on the type of match being played as well as the current state of play. The main concerns for the batting players are not to lose their wicket and to score as many runs as quickly as possible. These objectives generally conflict – to score quickly, risky shots must be played, increasing the chance that the batting player will be dismissed, while the batting player's safest choice with a careful wicket-guarding stroke may be not to attempt any runs at all. Depending on the situation, batting players may abandon attempts at run-scoring in an effort to preserve their wicket, or may attempt to score runs as quickly as possible with scant concern for the possibility of being dismissed.
As with all other
This section does not
Any player, regardless of their area of special skill, is referred to as a batsman, batswoman or batter while they are actually batting. However, a player who is in the team principally because of their batting skill is referred to as a specialist batsman/batswoman/batter, or simply batsman/batswoman/batter, regardless of whether they are currently batting. (A specialist bowler, on the other hand, would be referred to as a batsman/batswoman/batter only while actually engaged in batting.) While traditionally the term batsman was used to denote the batting player, with the rising popularity of women's cricket the term batter is finding widespread popularity, rather than using the gender specific terms batsman or batswomen. High-profile cricket commentary teams, such as
The batting player's act of hitting the ball is called a shot or stroke.
This section does not
Over time a standard batting technique has been developed which is used by most batting players. Technique refers to the batting player's stance before the ball is bowled as well as the movement of the hands, feet, head, and body in the execution of a cricket stroke. Good technique is characterized by quickly getting into the correct position to play the shot, especially getting one's head and body
The movement of the batting player for a particular delivery depends on the shot being attempted. Front-foot shots are played with the weight on the front foot (left foot for a
While a batting player is not limited in where or how they may hit the ball, the development of good technique has gone hand in hand with the development of a standard or orthodox cricket shots played to specific types of deliveries. These "textbook" shots are standard material found in many coaching manuals.
The advent of
The stance is the position in which a batting player stands to have the ball bowled to them. An ideal stance is "comfortable, relaxed and balanced",[
Although the textbook, side-on stance is the most common, a few international players, such as
Backlift is how a batting player lifts their
Depending upon the path of the ball, the batting player will either move forward or back in their attempt to intercept it. A forward movement is designated a front foot shot, whereas a backward movement is designated a back foot shot. A front foot shot is typically used to address a ball arriving at between ankle and thigh height. The batting player will step forward towards the ball, bending their front knee to bring the bat down to the anticipated height of the ball. By moving forward, the batting player is also able to intercept the ball immediately after it has pitched, thus nullifying any potentially dangerous lateral movement. A back foot shot is typically used to address a ball arriving at between thigh and head height. The batting player will step back and, if necessary, stand on their tiptoes to raise the bat to the height of the ball. By stepping back towards the wicket, they also receive the advantage of having an extra small amount of time to react to any unexpected lateral movement or variation in bounce.
The leave is sometimes considered a cricket shot, even though the batting player physically does not play at or interfere with the ball as it passes them. The leave is likely to be used by a batting player during the first few balls they receive, to give themselves time to judge the conditions of the pitch and the bowling before attempting to play a shot. Leaving a delivery is a matter of judgment and technique. The batting player still has to watch the ball closely to ensure that it will not hit them or the wicket; they also have to ensure that their bat and hands are kept out of the path of the ball so that it cannot make accidental contact and possibly lead to them being out
Vertical bat or straight-bat shots can be played off either the front foot or the back foot depending upon the anticipated height of the ball at the moment it reaches the batting player. The characteristic position of the bat is a vertical alignment at the point of contact. Vertical bat shots are typically played with the batting player's head directly above the point of contact so they are able to accurately judge the line of the ball. At this point, the bat can either be stationary and facing straight back down the wicket – known as a block or defensive shot; angled to one side – known as a glance or deflection; or traveling forwards towards the bowler – known as a drive.
A block stroke is usually a purely defensive stroke designed to stop the ball from hitting the wicket or the batting player's body. This shot has no strength behind it and is usually played with a light or "soft" grip (commentators often refer to "soft hands") and merely stops the ball moving towards the wicket. A block played on the front foot is known as a forward defensive, while that played on the back foot is known as a backward defensive. These strokes may be used to score runs, by manipulating the block to move the ball into vacant portions of the infield, in which case a block becomes a "push". Pushing the ball is one of the more common ways batting player's manipulate the strike.
Leaving and blocking are employed much more often in
A leg glance is a delicate straight-batted shot played at a ball aimed slightly on the leg side, using the bat to flick the ball as it passes the batting player, and requiring some wrist work as well, deflecting towards the square leg or fine leg area. The stroke involves deflecting the bat-face towards the leg side at the last moment, head and body moving inside the line of the ball. This shot is played "off the toes, shins or hip". It is played off the front foot if the ball is pitched up at the toes or shin of the batting player, or off the back foot if the ball bounces at waist/hip height to the batting player. Although the opposite term off glance is not employed within cricket, the concept of angling the bat face towards the offside to deflect the ball away from the wicket for the purpose of scoring runs through the off side is a commonly used technique. This would commonly be described instead as "running (or steering) the ball down to the third man".
A drive is a straight-batted shot, played by swinging the bat in a vertical arc through the
A flick shot is a straight-batted shot played on the leg side by flicking a full-length delivery using the wrists. It is often also called the clip off the legs. The shot is playing with the bat coming through straight as for the on drive, but the bat face is angled towards the leg side. It can be played both off the front foot or the back foot, either off the toes or from the hips. The shot is played between the mid-on and square leg region. Typically played along the ground, the flick can also be played by lofting the ball over the infield.
The second class of cricket stroke comprises the horizontal bat shots, also known as cross bat shots: the cut, the square drive, the pull, the hook, and the sweep. Typically, horizontal bat shots have a greater probability of failing to make contact with the ball than vertical bat shots and therefore are restricted to deliveries that are not threatening to hit the stumps, either by dint of being too wide or too short. The bat is swung in a horizontal arc, with the batting player's head typically not being perfectly in line with the ball at the point of contact.
A cut is a cross-batted shot played at a short-pitched ball, placing it wide on the off side. The batting player makes contact with the ball as it draws alongside or passes them and therefore requires virtually no effort on their part as they uses the bowler's pace to divert the ball. A square cut is a shot hit into the off side at near to 90 degrees from the wicket (towards point). A late cut is played as or after the ball passes the batting player's body and is hit towards the third man position. The cut shot is typically played off the back foot but is also sometimes played off the front foot against slower bowling. The cut should be played with the face of the bat rolling over the ball to face the ground thus pushing the ball downwards. A mistimed cut with an open-faced bat (with the face of the bat facing the bowler) will generally lead to the ball rising in the air, giving a chance for the batting player to be caught.
Although confusingly named a drive, the square drive is actually a horizontal bat shot, with identical arm mechanics to that of the square cut. The difference between the cut and the square drive is the height of the ball at contact: the cut is played to a ball bouncing waist high or above with the batting player standing tall, whereas the square drive is played to a wide ball of shin height with the batting player bending their knees and crouching low to make contact.
A pull is a cross-batted shot played to a ball bouncing around waist height by swinging the bat in a horizontal arc in front of the body, pulling it around to the leg side towards mid-wicket or square leg. The term hook shot is used when the shot is played against a ball
A sweep is a cross-batted front foot shot played to a low bouncing ball, usually from a slow
Since a batting player is free to play any shot to any type of delivery as they wish, the above list is by no means a complete list of the strokes that batting player choose to play. Many unorthodox, typically high-risk, shots have been used throughout the history of the game. The advent of
A few unorthodox shots have gained enough popularity or notoriety to have been given their own names and entered common usage.
A reverse sweep is a cross-batted sweep shot played in the opposite direction to the standard sweep, thus instead of sweeping the ball to the leg side, it is swept to the off side, towards a backward point or third man. The batting player may also swap their hands on the bat handle to make the stroke easier to execute. The batting player may also bring their back foot to the front, therefore, making it more like a traditional sweep. The advantage of a reverse sweep is that it effectively reverses the fielding positions and thus is very difficult to set a field to. It is also a risky shot for the batting player as it increases the chance of
It was first regularly played in the 1970s by the Pakistani batter
Because of the unorthodox nature of hand and body position, it is often difficult to get a lot of power behind a reverse sweep; in many situations, the intention is to glance or cut the ball to the back leg area. However, on rare occasions, players have been able to execute reverse sweeps for a six.
A slog is a powerful pull shot played over mid-wicket, usually, hit in the air in an attempt to score a
A slog sweep is a slog played from the kneeling position used to sweep. Slog sweeps are usually directed over square-leg rather than to mid-wicket. It is almost exclusively used against reasonably full-pitched balls from slow bowlers, as only then does the batting player have time to sight the length and adopt the kneeling position required for the slog sweep. The front leg of the shot is usually placed wider outside leg stump to allow for a full swing of the bat.
An upper cut is a shot played towards third man, usually hit when the ball is pitched outside the off stump with an extra bounce. It is a dangerous shot which can edge the ball to keeper or slips if not executed correctly. The shot is widely used in modern cricket. The shot is advantageous in fast bouncy tracks and is seen commonly in
A switch hit is a shot where a batting player changes their
The legality of the switch hit was questioned when first introduced but cleared by the
A scoop shot (also known as a ramp shot, paddle scoop, Marillier shot or Dilscoop) has been used by a number of first-class players, the first being
This shot, though risky in the execution, has the advantage of being aimed at a section of the field where a fielder is rarely placed – particularly in
The helicopter shot in cricket is the act of flicking the bat toward the leg side when facing a yorker or a fuller-length delivery and finishing the stroke with a flourish by twisting the bat in an overhead circle. This shot, which requires excellent timing and wrist-work, is considered a new innovation in cricket and is seen as an unconventional form of batting. Traditionally, faster bowlers have used yorker-length deliveries toward the end of limited-overs matches because it is difficult to hit such balls to the boundary. The helicopter shot is one answer to this tactic.
The first player to play helicopter shot is thought to be
The fundamental aim of each batting player is to find a means of safely scoring runs against each bowler they face. To do this, the batting player must take into consideration the bowler's strategy, the position of the fielders, the pitch conditions, and their own strengths and weaknesses. The strategy they will decide on will incorporate a number of preconceived attacking responses to the various deliveries they may anticipate receiving, designed specifically to score runs with minimal risk of being dismissed. The success of this strategy will be dependent upon both the accuracy of its conception and the technical ability with which it is carried out. A key aspect of the strategy of batting is the trade-off between the level of aggression (trying to score) and the risk involved of being dismissed. An optimal batting strategy balances several considerations: the number of wickets left, the target run rate and how the risk of losing a wicket increase when increasing the strike rate. These strategies will depend on the match situation and on the match format. As such, strategies vary between the three forms of international cricket,
As One Day International matches have a limited set of
When a team goes out to bat, the best players bat first. The first three batsmen (number 1, 2, 3) are known as the top order; the next four (numbers 4, 5, 6 and possibly 7) form the middle order, and the last four (numbers 8, 9, 10 and 11) are the lower order or tail.
The specialist batting players of a team usually bat near the top of the order, so as to score more runs. The openers or opening batting player are the first two players to take the crease. They are not necessarily the best batting players, but are expected to negotiate the new ball and not lose wickets until the shine on the ball is considerably diminished (a hard and shiny ball bounces and swings more and is more difficult for the batting player to face). In addition, they are supposed to play quick innings (more runs in fewer balls), reflecting the fact that the fielding side is subject to restrictions on the placement of fielders in the first 15 overs which makes it easier to score runs. In a recent amendment  to the rules of
Following the openers is the No. 3 or first-drop batting player. Their job is to take over from the openers and typically play a careful and prolonged inning, effectively tying up one end of the batting. This brings in some stability in the batting, as new batting players find it difficult to settle down and it helps to have a settled player at the other end. The best batting player of the team is usually put at number 3 or 4, to protect them from the difficulties of batting against the best bowlers on a fresh
The middle order is often considered the most valuable asset of a batting line-up in
Examples of risky shots include the reverse sweep and the paddle-scoop. These shots are used to achieve a boundary which would not be possible when playing a safer, more orthodox shot. Finally, the lower order consists of the bowlers of the team, who are not known for their batting prowess and so bat as low down the order as possible.
However, there are no real restrictions to the batting positions. Captains have been known to experiment with the batting line-up to gain specific advantages. For example, a lower-order player is sometimes sent in at number 3 with instructions to pinch-hit (playing aggressively in an attempt to score more runs in fewer balls – a term borrowed from baseball) to score quick runs and shield better players, as their
In Test cricket, the usual aim is to score as high a total as possible. As the overs are unlimited, a batting player can take their time to score runs. In general, 90 overs have to be bowled per day in Test match cricket. The openers or the starting players in Test cricket are often chosen for their sound technique and ability to defend their wicket, because the first 1–2 hours of an innings, especially if it begins in the morning, are usually characterized by good conditions for bowling, specifically in terms of the pace and bounce of the pitch and the lateral movement of the ball in the air.
The first-drop player is usually also chosen for their sound technique, so as to stabilize their end in case an opener gets out. The middle order of a batting team in Test matches usually includes its most skilled players in terms of shot-playing ability, because during the middle overs of a day batting is relatively easier than in the initial stages of the innings. If the batting innings of a team begins after the last half-hour of the day, the team might employ a
The nightwatchman is usually a lower-order player, able to protect their wicket primarily by defending dangerous balls and leaving non-dangerous ones rather than looking to produce a large number of runs for their team, but not a complete
In the third innings, the batting team may score quickly to set a large target to the opposition. This scenario usually occurs on the fourth day's play. The batting captain decides how many overs they are prepared to allow the opposition to chase the batting team's total in their fourth innings. The captain usually declares their team's innings at a predetermined time on the fourth day so they can bowl at least 20 overs on that day and 90 overs on the last day. A good number of overs to bowl at the opposition team in the fourth innings is essential because usually on the fourth and fifth days of a Test match conditions are good for bowling (especially slow bowling), with the pitch having experienced a fair degree of wear and tear. Thus, to make the target as difficult as possible, the batting side speeds up the
If, however, a batting team is significantly behind the opposition in terms of runs going into the fourth day of a Test match, a typical strategy by the batting team involves playing defensively to avoid losing their wickets. This ensures that they occupy the most time until the match draws to a close on the fifth day, because if a team's innings does not end on the fifth day then the match is drawn, or a stalemate is reached. However, in trying to do so, if the batting team manages to overhaul its deficit and gain a substantial lead (an excess of runs) over the opposition, the captain may consider declaring the innings so they can "force" a victory on the final day, depending on the size of the lead, the readiness of the bowlers, and the state of the pitch.
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