Imagine playing swing bowling in the powerplay overs against a new leather ball. Those inswing deliveries would be lethal. Coming in quick, with pace and zip, and hitting your pads, the perfect recipe to get you out leg before wicket. But, cricket involves a ton of batting techniques, each designed to suit different situations during a game. Of all the techniques, the flick shot in cricket is one of the most stylish and effective strokes a batsman can play to counter those inswingers aimed at hitting your pads. Just make use of the wrists and send those deliveries towards the boundaries. We’ve all seen players like Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and so many other batsmen play the stroke gracefully. But there’s probably not a player who has made this shot their own more than Virat Kohli.
In this Article by ZAP, let’s dive deep and understand everything about and learn how to play the flick shot in cricket.
What is the Flick Shot in Cricket?
The flick shot is a stroke played to the leg side of the ground at the long on to fine leg fielding positions. It is played against the balls pitched at the full length or good length and in line with the stumps or toward your batting pads. It is the best counter to in swinging deliveries towards your pads, but your technique needs to be on point because if you get it wrong, the ball will hit your pads and you’ll be out leg before. The stroke is played by closing the face of the bat, with your wrists and guiding the ball onto the leg side. The range of this stroke is the entire leg side, from the square leg fielding position to the long on fielders.
How to play the flick shot in cricket? A detailed Guide:
The Stance and Grip:
Keep your batting stance simple, with your shoulders facing the bowler. The grip also needs to be simple, but there are some things you need to keep in consideration. To play any stroke, you need to keep your hold on the cricket bat light so that you can do your wristwork effectively. Also getting get the best cricket batting gloves that add flexibility to your batting and don’t compromise with the protection.
Eyes on the ball:
There are not all deliveries that you can play this stroke against. So always keep an eye on the ball and just wait for those that pitch full or good length in the middle and leg stumps. Also, keep your head position stable, because it is the heaviest part of your body and leads the rest of it and its weight along with it. Wear a cricket helmet which is super comfortable and and doesn't add unnecessary weight onto your head.
The Balance and Footwork:
To master the flick, your body must be aligned correctly, your head straight, and your stance well-balanced. The tricky part is transferring your weight to the backfoot while elegantly leaning on your front leg.
The Importance of Wrist work:
Once the ball is under your eyes and you’re in position, just close the face of your bat and guide the delivery onto the leg side. To hit the ball out of the park, just use your wrists to play the ball up in the air. To do this successfully, you need a bat with an amazing ping, which with just a wand of the wrists and not much power.
What are the ideal deliveries to play the flick shot?
The shot is best played to deliveries angling in towards you and is more like a pressure release stroke. Though the best deliveries are on the middle stump and leg stump, some players like KL Rahul, Steve Smith and Surya Kumar Yadav have showed that with continuous practice and a strong wristwork, you can even play the stroke against deliveries on the off stump.
Also, the stroke is often used by batsmen to disturb the line and length of the bowlers. if it is difficult to score runs because the bowler is consistently bowling tight lines, this stroke is used to disrupt the bowler's rhythm and manipulate the field.
Flick Shot in Cricket: Tips and Tricks
Now that you understand the basics, let's dive into some valuable tips to master the flick shot.
Practice Makes Perfect
Like any skill, practice is crucial. Spend time in the nets, facing deliveries of different lengths and lines. Try playing all versions of the flick, the on drive, the helicopter shot, the leg glance and the pickup shot. This will help you get accustomed to the quick decision-making required for the stroke in a real life match situation.
Watch the Best
Observe how batting maestros of play the stroke. Watch their footwork, how they adjust their body to play the stroke against deliveries with different lengths, lines and pace. Players like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, and Steve Smith have perfected this shot. Analyze their technique and try to emulate them in your nets sessions.
Have a cool and composed mind, do not pre commit and wait for the right delivery to time the stroke. Also, improper wristwork and tension in your wrists or upper body can hamper your shot. Stay relaxed and let your wrists do the work. It's all about finesse and timing.
Which player plays the best Flick Shot?
Steve Smith, an Australian batsman, scores the majority of his runs on the leg side. He has a really unorthodox batting style, which has worked really well for him thus far, particularly in tests. Smith is one of the top flick players in Test cricket and scores a ton of runs off it. Because of his mastery of this stroke, bowlers just know that getting him out LBW will be extremely difficult, therefore hitting the pads is the last option.
Virat Kohli is among the greatest batsmen of the modern era and is a player with one of the best wristwork. He can play this stroke even to deliveries that are bowled in the middle stumps because he makes good use of his bottom hand. He is undoubtedly one of the best at performing the flick shot. It is essential that bowlers avoid bowling straighter to him because of his exceptional strokeplaying ability. A significant portion of Kohli's runs are scored on the leg side with this stroke contributing to a large amount of runs, but he's also the player with one of the best cover drives.
Sanath Jayasuriya, one of the greatest all-rounders of all time is also known for his power-hitting majorly in the powerplay overs. He was the player who revolutionised explosive batting as an opener. But he was also known for his flick. His pickup stroke was one of his most effective strokes against fast bowlers in Test and ODI games.
Credit: GkAiM - A Treasure of General Knowledge
Holding nearly every record in existence, Sachin Tendulkar is regarded as the best batsman the game has ever seen. Because of his exceptional conviction in the cricket shots he played, he is referred to as the "God of Cricket" by the people. In addition to being the best at playing the straight drive, he was also an excellent flick shot player. He played it elegantly against all the balls on the pad. Watching him bat in any format was truly delightful, and he holds the record for being the leading run-scorer in both One Day Internationals (ODIs) and Test matches.
KL Rahul is one of the most technically talented players and the flick, or to be more precise, the pickup shot is a stroke that he owns. Playing it often, and hitting a ball for a maximum, in the powerplay overs, it is very pleasing to watch him play the stroke.
The way that Suryakumar Yadav executes his batting technique simply amazing. Having experience playing rubber and tennis ball cricket on difficult cement tracks, he developed a distinctive set of unorthodox strokes that included the flick shot. What sets him apart is his ability to play it with ease from almost any position, as well as from any line and length of delivery.
Different Versions of the Flick Shot in Cricket:
The leg glance too is a very similar stroke to the flick shot. The leg glance is played to deliveries at the batting pads, by just a wand of the wrists to redirect the ball onto the leg side. While with a flick the ball goes a bit straighter, the leg glance involves using pace on the delivery to play it behind the stumps.
A pickup shot in cricket is the extended version of the flick shot but involves less footwork and relies heavily on the batsman's wrist work. It is KL Rahul and Quinton de Cock’s trademark cricket shot and it is used against full-length and good length deliveries to hit them towards the midwicket and fine-leg fielding areas. The stroke is known for its efficiency and ability to generate power with minimal body movement.
Q - Who is the best flick shot player in cricket history?
Though there are many batsmen with great technical ability like Sachin Tendulkar, Joe Root and Kane Williamson who play this stroke very well which also looks very pleasing, there’s nobody famous to play this stroke more than Virat Kohli.
Q - How do you hit a flick shot in cricket?
Here are the 5 steps to follow:
Keep your eye on the ball.
Move your weight back onto your back foot as the ball approaches.
Just as the ball is about to bounce, flick your wrist forward and down.
Keep your bat close to your body and follow through with the shot.
Aim to hit the ball in the gap between the fielders.
Q - Which is the favourite shot of KL Rahul?
KL Rahul has stated that the cover drive is his favourite stroke to play, but there are hardly people that disagree that his pickup shot is one of his best strokes.
Now that you have learnt about how to play the flick shot in cricket, here are some more articles you need to read to take your game to the next level.