As you begin to learn how to play cricket one of the core shots you should aim to master is the “pull shot”. This is a very effective attacking shot and when played correctly can produce spectacular result.
The pull shot is played with a crossed bat and is an aggressive back footed shot. It should be played to a ball which has been pitched short, on or outside leg stump and will pass over the top of the wickets.
To play the shot, start in your normal batting stance as you would any delivery and play the shot in response to the appropriate delivery, e.g. short and on/outside leg stump.
Take your backswing and step back and across towards your off stump with your back foot and establish this as your base of support. Bring your front foot backwards naturally, ideally keeping it on the ground if possible to help your balance.
Bring the bat down and across the line of the ball, increasing the bat speed into contact with the ball, hit the ball in front of you body (your body needs to be behind the line of the delivery). You are aiming to hit the ball between mid-on and fine leg, between any fielders who may be in the area.
‘Roll your wrist’ over the ball as you contact it, so that it goes straight to ground; the face of the bat should end up pointing down to the ground. You can also bring the bat down from a high position and finish lower; this will also keep the ball down. Finish the shot with a natural follow through, staying relaxed and balanced.
- The most common problems are hitting the ball in to the air and getting caught out.
- Miss timing the ball and not hitting the ball effectively or where you want it to go.
- Misjudging the delivery and playing the pull shot to and inappropriate delivery.
To help solve these, firstly practice in the nets rolling your wrists over the ball in practice and aim to hit it along the ground every time, don’t be tempted to hit it in the air. If the ball is on the ground you’re not going to get caught.
Perfect practice is the main key to improving your timing of the shot; the wicket, bowler and weather conditions will all influence how the ball reaches you, so you’ll need to adapt and adjust accordingly for the circumstances. To help place (hit) the ball where you want it to go, set out some target cones and get a friend to give you some throw downs and practice hitting the ball through the targets (along the ground).
If you are playing the pull shot to the wrong type of delivery you need to think about your shot selection and redefine in your own mind which balls you should be pulling and which you shouldn’t. The more you play and the better you practice the easier it should become.
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