The sweep and the reverse sweep are two batting shots which are not commonly used, especially the reverse sweep which is rarely used. However both shots can be used in certain batting situations and are an effective way to score runs and keep the score board ticking over.
There is a high element of risk with the sweep shot, so good judgement and excellent timing is essential. Avoid playing the sweep and reverse sweep early on in your innings especially to straight deliveries, as it is not a good idea to play it until you have your eye in and know how the pitch is playing and what the bowler is doing. As for example, if the ball stayed low it would be quite easy to misjudge and get out LBW or bowled which you definitely want to avoid, so be patient and play yourself in first.
The sweep and reverse sweep are both cross batted shots and should ideally be played to slow deliveries which are of a good length and not too full. To play the orthodox sweep shot, first wait for the ball to be released before making any movement…
DON’T PREMEDITATE THE SHOT!
Once you have determined that the ball is there to play the sweep shot to, move your front foot as far down the wicket towards the pitch of the ball as you can. As you are moving forward bend both knees simultaneously so that you whole body is low down, let your back knee touch the ground to act as an extra base of support. Try to stay balanced and relaxed. Bring the bat down from the off side and across the ball towards the leg side and aim to hit it either in front of or behind square leg. You can roll your wrists over the ball as you hit to help keep it on the ground. Aim to have your arms fully extended when you contact the ball.
To play the reverse sweep, get in to the same position as for the orthodox sweep, however this time, bring you bat down and across from leg side towards the off side, so you are aiming to hit the ball through the gully area. This shot requires very good coordination and timing as you have to twist the bat round so that the bat face faces the off side at the point of contact without altering your grip.
- Premeditating the shot- deciding to play the shot before the bowler has bowled the ball. Wait until the ball is released from the bowlers hand before deciding to play the shot.
- Playing the sweep too early in the innings before getting your eye in. Wait until you are set and know how the pitch is playing and what the bowler is doing before attempting the shot.
- Trying to hit the ball too hard. Good timing and technique is better and more effective as you need to reduce the risk as much as possible.
- Playing the shot to deliveries which are either too full or too short, so good judgement of length is required.
Remember that the sweep and reverse sweep are quite hard shots to master and carry quite a lot of risk, so make sure that if you intend to use them, practice the shots in the nets and in training to get a feel for the shot and so you know when to play it; so that when you come to use them you are confident and skilled enough to do so.
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