To become an excellent batsman in the game of cricket, every player should know how to hold a cricket bat in a precise manner. This will give you more control on the pitch and help you with better shot making. The grip that a player uses in handling the bat serves as the bedrock upon which a player’s batting technique rests. Even the slightest alteration to the grip can make a considerable impact on a player’s gameplay. Although the conventional style is generally deemed as the optimal approach, it is vital for each player to discover what suits them best. The legendary, Donald Bradman, himself utilized an unorthodox grip. Even the South African Great, Faf du Plessis uses an unconventional style, but is supremely successful. Hence, do not shy away from experimenting to discover your own innate style.
There are a few different ways you can use it to hold a cricket bat. The most widely used and the most basic technique taught to all young players is the V Grip. However, there are several styles as well, the O method, the closed face grip, and the open face style. Let's learn how to hold a cricket bat and examine each style in more detail:
The V Grip – The Orthodox way:
The V-Grip is the most conventional and recommended style for players as it allows for greater control over your shots.
Hold the handle in a V as follow:
- Lay the bat on the ground flat side down.
- Hold the handle making a V between your thumb and the index finger and with V pointing down keep the Vs parallel to one another.
- Hold it keeping your right hand at the bottom and the left hand at the top, with two fingers' space between your hands.
- Ensure that your lower hand is held loosely and comfortably.
The O Grip:
The O-Shaped Grip might be more appropriate for people who like a heavier willow. Although it is employed for cross-batted shots, this style may make it more difficult for a player to play through the off-side.
Here is how to hold the cricket bat and simple pointers to remember when using the O technique:
- Begin with the orthodox style, then make adjustments to create the 'O' shaped method.
- In the 'O' shaped technique, your fingers will be fully under the bat, rather than just the tips.
- To achieve the 'O' shaped grip, rotate the 'V' counter clockwise (for right-handers) or clockwise (for left-handers).
- With the 'O' shaped style, your hand will be oriented horizontally to the ground when holding the handle with the flat side downwards.
The Knott Grip:
An excellent cricketer from England, Alan Knott, was a wicket keeper who was extremely skilled at catching the ball, but was also a proficient batsman. He held the handle differently than most people. Depending on who was bowling the ball, he would even alter the way he handled the bat. Today, numerous athletes imitate his technique to hit tough balls.
To know how to use the knott grip, follow these steps:
- Start with orthodox style on the bat.
- Rotate the top hand clockwise if the left hand is top, counter clockwise if the right hand is top.
- Keep rotating until the back of the top hand almost faces the same direction as the back of the bottom hand.
- 'V' formed by the thumb and forefinger of the top hand should open upwards if holding the flat side of the bat towards the ground.
The Open Face Grip:
Although it is not frequently employed, the open face grip in cricket might be useful when a batsman needs to be inventive in order to get runs. Using the open face style, you can easily hit yorkers out of the park, which other ways are difficult to hit. Players like Jos Buttler use the open face grip to hit the ball on the off side, which is difficult to do with a vertical bat. The likelihood of hitting the ball off of the middle of the bat increases with the open face technique.
Here is how to use the open face grip technique:
- Start with the orthodox V method and rotate the handle slightly in your hands as the bowler is running into bowl.
- Expose the face of the bat to the off side of the field.
- Don't use this grip too often as it compromises your ability to play deliveries on the leg-side.
- Using it at the right time can allow you to score runs against deliveries that might usually be extremely hard to hit.
- Having a plan of how you are going to attack the yorker is key to being a great batsman in modern day cricket.
A batsman must have a secure grip, yet there is no one ideal technique to hold the bat. Many elite players have had unconventional grips, like Dhoni, Steve Smith and they still have been very successful. How high or low to hold the grip is a common query. While some athletes, like Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, prefer a lower grip for more control, others, like Andre Russel and Adam Gilchrist, prefer a higher grip for flow. What you find comfortable is what matters most, when you ask the question, How to hold a cricket bat?