Back-foot strokes are often underestimated in
comparison to front-foot ones, purely because to
the naked eye they may not seem as attractive.
Make no mistake though, the former take as much
skill and finesse to execute perfectly, as the
It probably isn't the most glamorous of shots,
but is a definite must in the armor of
international batsmen, especially the openers,
what with fast bowlers running in to deliver
soaring-paced on a bouncy first day track.
The best way to deal with a ball pitched just
short of good length early on in the innings,
when taking is risk is not worth, is to play the
back-foot defensive. It is essential to meet the
ball at the top of its bounce is such cases,
which could be done by going back on one's
crease. It is also requisite, so as to prevent
losing one's wicket, to play the back-foot
defense with a relaxed grip, thus reducing the
chances of edging to fielders close-by.
The back-foot should be well in the crease, with
the line of the off-stump. The front elbow
should rise up in line with the ball, while the
bottom hand should rest loose on the handle. It
is also necessary that the entire weight of the
body is concentrated on the front.
It is one of the one elegant-looking shot in the
game, although it is as difficult to execute as
impeccable it may look. One needs to have a
fluent feet movement, to perform it with the
required timing, as it relies less on power, and
more on technique. It brings a bucketful of runs
within the mid-on to cover region; however,
batsmen usually prefer to play the straight
drive on the front foot, rather than the back.
It is utterly important that while playing this
shot, the batsman poses erect on his feet, with
his head right over the ball, and thus the
entire weight of the body forward. This will
ensure that when the bat contacts the ball, the
latter wouldn't pop to nearby fielders.
The top hand will control the stroke, while the
bottom one will provide whatever power that is
necessary to propel the ball in the direction
chosen to hit. The bat and hands should follow
through the line of the shot, and finish at a
It is the most apt shot for a ball delivered
wide and short outside the off-stump. Although
this shot can bring a lot of runs, it is all the
most dangerous, because if not executed
perfectly, it could lead to all sorts of edges,
which would only lead to one's downfall.
The head should stay steady and right on top of
the ball, while the entire weight of the body
should be shifted to the back-foot, which should
move towards the stumps. If the head drops back,
with the weight, the shot will inadvertently be
made a mockery, as one can easily lose control
To keep the ball down, to avoid any chances for
close catchers, it is important that a high back
lift is used. The bat should be brought down and
across, scalping the ball at full extension. The
wrists should follow the motion immaculately,
with the bottom hand controlling the shot. The
follow through is as important too: leave the
weight on the back foot with the bat finishing
over the front shoulder and behind the head.
Pull Shot and Hook Shot:
The concept of both the pull and the hook shot
is quite similar. It's just the applicability
that varies. While the pull shot, which is also
much easier to control, is played to a ball
which is around the waist height, the hook shot
is used to counter one between the chest and
a) Pull shot:
The rear foot should get across to the off
stump, with the line of the head outside that of
the ball. The front foot needs to swing to the
leg side, so as to open oneself up. The head has
to remain steady, as just a small unevenness
will cause an ineffective and potentially
The bat should be swung across within the
optimum possible time, so that it meets the ball
in front of the body. To prevent hitting in the
air, the wrists need to be rolled over a little.
To ensure the best possible timing, the follow
through too needs to be executed perfectly, with
the head keeping still and the weight
transferred on the front leg.
b) Hook shot:
It is more risky than probably any other shot,
purely because controlling it is difficult.
Since the wrists can't possibly roll over while
playing the shot at its particular height, the
ball is bound to stay air-borne for the initial
The footwork should be quicker for this shot, as
compared to pull shot, because there's less time
to counter the ever-increasing height of the
ball. The concentration should be at quite a
high level, since a misjudgment in the bounce
can result in missing the shot altogether,
The follow through is a little different. Both
feet should move around, and point towards the
trajectory of the ball, after having been hit.
Either that or the weight shouldn't transfer
from the back to the front foot, unlike the pull
shot. And if you aren't wearing a helmet, it's
best to duck rather than try for it.
It's very important that one should master this
shot in order to execute it perfectly
perennially. Power has little to do with the
execution, the control of the shot lies entirely
on how well the wrists are used, so as to use
the pace of the ball to guide it through the
area around the square leg.
Both feet should move towards the stumps,
opening up one's posture, without exposing the
middle and the leg stumps. The head though,
should be forward, and just in line with the
The contact of the bat should be made in front
of the body, so time the swing as per that
particular judgment. The bat should come down
relatively straight, with the face turning
towards the leg side as approaching the ball.
The top hand should take over the control of the
shot from then on to orientate the direction,
with the wrists guiding the timing.