While on the surface, cricket may seem like a normal, conventional sport; you have a ball and a bat and you try to hit the former with the latter. While in reality, there is more than what meets the eye. To understand the game and play it properly, you must acquaint yourself with a certain knowledge of the game. More importantly regarding the two main instruments associated with the game: the cricket ball and the bat and it’s more important to know the various techniques to grip a cricket bat and ball.
In cricket, there exist several methods to hold or grip the ball and the bat. This depends on the preference of the player or other related aspects of the game.
Gripping Techniques of the Cricket Bat
Learning how to hold/grip a bat properly is essential in becoming a proper batsman. This enables the player to have more control and improve his/her technique. The following are how one can hold a bat properly:
|S.N||Grips of Holding the Bat|
|1||V – Grip|
|2||‘O’ Shaped Grip|
|4||Donald Bradman’s Grip|
|5||Open Face Grip|
This is the most conventional and recommended method of holding the bat. The majority of the batsmen prefer this as it gives them more control. You do as follow:
- The initial step involves keeping the bat on the ground with the flat side downwards.
- After that, make a V with both hands with your thumb while they are in front of you. The ‘V’ in both hands should be in a line with each other. For a right-handed batsman, the right hand should be in front of the left one, and for a left-handed batsman, the left hand in front of the right one.
- Finally, grip the handle of the bat, the two ‘V’s facing downwards throughout.
O-shaped Cricket Bat Grip
Batsmen who use a heavier bat prefer this method. This grip primarily involves the usage of the backhand. Steve Smith is one such batsman who uses this grip.
- The ‘O’-shaped grip involves some changes in the previously discussed ‘V-shaped grip.
- For the ‘O’-shaped grip, all the fingers of the bottom hand will be required to hold onto the bat.
- It should be kept in mind that though playing in this grip enhances the shots towards the leg side; caution must be taken while playing shots on the off side.
This grip is named after one of the greatest wicketkeepers of England, Alan Knott, who is believed to have produced this grip.
- To hold a bat in the Knott Grip, begin with the ‘V-shaped grip. Then rotate until the back of your top hand and the back of your bottom hand is in the same direction. The rotation should be clockwise if your top hand is your left hand and counterclockwise if it is your right.
Open-face bat grip
This is rather an uncommon grip and is used by batsmen in dire situations. It is less of a grip and more of a style of holding the bat.
- The grip requires the player to slightly rotate his bat towards the offside as the bowler is bowling and hit it.
Donald Bradman’s Cricket Bat Grip
Regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time, Bradman devised a technique that he believed helped him score runs. Also referred to as the rotator technique, critics were not fans of his technique and often voiced their disapproval of it. It’s another thing that Bradman did not pay any heed to it and continued using it.
- To get this grip, the first one needs to begin with the ‘V’ grip.
- Once the ‘V’ grip has been done, rotate your bottom hand and your top hand should also be rotated with the wrist directly behind the bat.
Also Read | How Cricket Balls Are Made | Step-by-Step Guide-- Advertisement --
Gripping techniques of the cricket ball
As mentioned earlier, there also exist different methods of gripping the ball which helps in producing different movements by the ball. Let us go through them.
For Leg spin, we have the following:
- Leg break
For Off spin, we have the following:
- Off break
- Carrom ball
- Arm ball
For fast deliveries:
- Reverse swing
- Leg cutter
- Off cutter
- Slower ball
How to Grip the ball for the different deliveries
Variations of Leg Spin
To grip the ball for a leg break delivery, the ball is bowled by holding the cricket ball in the palm with the seam running across under all the fingers. As the ball is released, the wrist is rotated to the left and the ball is flicked by the ring finger, giving the ball an anti-clockwise spin as seen from behind.
For a leg-spinning delivery, the ball is placed into the palm with the seam parallel to the palm. When the ball is bowled, the wrist is cocked as it comes down by the hip, and it moves sharply from right to left as the ball is released, adding more spin. The ball preferred to be tossed up to provide flight. As a result of this, the ball, instead of spinning in the usual direction, will spin in the opposite direction.
A slider is bowled similarly to that of a traditional leg break, but instead of imparting sidespin with the third finger, the bowler allows his fingers to roll down the back of the ball, providing a mixture of sidespin and backspin. A slider delivery carries to a fuller length and bounces less than the batsman might expect, thereby catching the batsman off guard.
Squeezed out of the front of the hand with the thumb and first and second fingers, a flipper delivery keeps relatively lower than a stock ball after pitching and can be very difficult to play.
Variations of off-spin
An off-break delivery is bowled by holding the cricket ball in the palm with the seam running across under all the fingers. As soon as the ball is released, the fingers roll down the right side of the ball, rotating the ball in a clockwise manner.
The bowler delivers the ball with the same wrist action by locking the wrist and using the index and ring fingers instead of the usual index and middle fingers. This gives the ball spin in the opposite direction to that for an off-break, causing it to spin from the leg side to the off side to a right-handed batsman.
The ball is held between the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger, and, instead of a conventional release, the ball is squeezed out and flicked by the fingers.
An arm ball is delivered by rolling the fingers down the back of the ball on release. This puts a backspin onto the ball, which does not turn much after pitching. Rather, it travels straight in the direction of the arm. By keeping the seam upright, the bowler can also hope to obtain some outswing away from the right-handed batsman.
An inswinger is bowled by holding the cricket ball with the seam vertical and the first two fingers slightly across the seam so that it is angled a little to the leg side. Once the ball has worn and been polished so that one side is rougher than the other, the rough side is placed on the leg side. The ball is placed on the pad of the thumb. This thumb position locks the wrist in a position inclined to the leg side.
An outswinger to a batsman can be bowled by aligning the seam to the left marginally, towards the slips, and placing the roughened side of the ball on the left. To extract consistent swing, a bowler can also rotate his wrist toward the slips while keeping his arm straight. To a right-handed batsman, this results in the ball moving away to the offside while in flight, usually outwards from his body.
To bowl a leg cutter, a right-handed bowler pulls his fingers down the left side of the ball, rolling the ball out of his hand over the little finger, in an action similar to bowling a leg break, only at a higher speed. Doing so changes the axis of spin to make it more like a leg break, which makes the ball deviate to the left after pitching.
To bowl an off-cutter, a right-handed bowler pulls his fingers down the right side of the ball, in an action that is rather much similar to bowling an off-break, only at a higher speed. Doing so changes the axis of spin to make it more like an off-break, which makes the ball deviate to the right when it bounces on the pitch.
To bowl a knuckleball, the bowler places the ball on the knuckles of his index and middle fingers. The delivery manages to deceive the batsman since from the batter’s perspective, the ball appears to be a stock delivery. But to the batsman’s surprise, when it is released, it is slower than expected.
A slow ball is usually slower than any stock ball. A slow ball can be achieved by any of the following methods:
- Bowling from the back of the hand
- Bowling with split fingers
- A knuckleball
- Leg cutter
- Off cutter
- Cross-seam ball
- Palm ball, etc
Read More | How Cricket Bats Are Made? Step-by-Step Guide