A batter is always on duty

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by Kevin Keys

 

A batter is always on duty

Most of the pleasure spectator’s gain from watching cricket is given by the batter, and the big difference between the batter and the rest of the players on the field is that the batter is always on duty. Nothing on the cricket field can give more satisfaction than a perfectly executed cover drive for four with the ball “kissing” the grass on the way to the boundary, or a lofted straight hit for six back over the bowler’s head. The batter sets the tone for the pace of the game and the enjoyment factor for spectators by the way they go about their task. Remember that full-tosses, half-volleys and long-hops are bad balls and should be hit to the boundary every time, no matter what the state of the game.

 

Waiting for your turn

No matter what your number in the batting order, be ready for your turn. Have all your gear at hand, be an active watcher by studying the bowlers, fielders and tactics of the opposition. Be close to the captain or coach, so that last-minute instructions can easily be given. However, don’t be too early in getting ready. Two batsmen padded up is enough. If you get nervous, stand up and walk around. Be aware that having some nerves is natural; you need to learn to control them.

 

Bats

Using the correct size bat is vital to your development as a young cricketer. A common error for young cricketers is to purchase a bat that is too heavy, which leads to technique and stroke play being negatively affected. The bat will be the right weight for you if you can play all the strokes with you in control, not the bat in control of you. You can try this simple test to check whether the bat is not too heavy for you: hold the bat out in front of you, parallel to the ground, by only your top hand. If you can do this for more than 30 seconds, the bat is not too heavy for you. This simple exercise can also be used as a method of strengthening your top-hand grip – a vital component of successful batting.

Carefully check the grain of the bat. Narrow grains are preferable to wide grains. Try and choose a bat with a minimum of twelve grains visible. If you are able, bounce a ball on the face of the bat. If the sound you hear is a hard sound, the bat will need more “knocking in” before it can be used. If the sound is softer, you will be able to use the bat more quickly, but it may be more likely to get small cracks or surface dents.

 

Pads

It does not matter whether the buckles of your pads are on the outside or inside of your leg, as cricketers are divided on this issue. But make sure they are done up and the tabs are as hidden away as much as possible, as it is very annoying to be given out caught behind the wicket off one of them. Inexperienced umpires are often influenced into making “out” decisions based on noise, rather than what they have seen.

Your pads should fit in a way that you can run naturally.

Wearing a thigh pad is essential if you want to be confident in getting in to line with the ball. Taking a nasty, stinging blow to the unprotected thigh can often lead to lack of confidence and backing away to leg against quicker bowlers.

 

Batting Gloves

Batting gloves should fit snugly, but allow you to open and close your hands in a normal fashion. Look for leather palms and full impact protection. Consider wearing batting inners to help soak up moisture and make sure you dry your gloves after play if they have become damp.