Imagine this: you are locked in a fiery battle with a fast bowler. The bowler has the ultimate weapon that can put you in trouble - the bouncer. He bowls it like a cannon, aimed to give you the scent of the leather ball. But you are prepared, and confident, to unleash the perfect counter. You play a stroke, and the crack of the bat and the ball is a thunderclap. The ball transforms into a tracer bullet and races to the boundary on the leg side. This counterattacking stroke, and the perfect answer to all the short ball tactic by the bowlers is the pull shot in cricket.
In this chapter of Learn with ZAP, let’s get deep and learn how to play the Pull Shot in Cricket well.
What is the Pull Shot in cricket?
Bouncers and short pitched deliveries are a common strategies in the modern game to test and put the batsmen in trouble. Bowlers often use it in the powerplay as a surprise, in the death overs in limited overs games to stop batsmen from scoring runs, or as a short ball tactic in the test format. But there’s one player who has mastered countering this tactic and even made it his favourite shot. It is Rohit Sharma’s pull shot, his trademark. The pull is a raw display of power and aggression. To play it, you need to hit a short-pitched delivery, bowled in your body line, towards the leg side boundaries, in the long leg and mid wicket fielding areas. To play the pull cricket shot well, you must accurately judge the line and length of the ball, have quick footwork and transfer of weight and have a good follow through after the stroke.
Credit: Cricket World
The Technique and Mechanics of the Shot:
The essentials of a good batting technique, the right grip, correct footwork, the transfer of weight and your timing are the pillars on what a successful execution of the pull shot sits upon. You need to master these aspects of batting completely to master this cricket stroke.
So, let’s learn how to play the pull shot in cricket perfectly:
The Grip and Stance
- A strong grip is important to impart power and precision to your hit. The bottom hand gives all power in the and the top hand gives it the direction.
- You can read How to hold a cricket bat by ZAP to understand more about the various grips you can use to hold a cricket bat.
- The batting stance is very important as you need to be in a position to play the ball with confidence and commitment.
- Start with your normal stance as the bowler takes his run up, and with your trigger movement, you can come to a semi open position to enable better visibility and ease of movement.
Footwork and Body Position
- In order to play the stroke with accuracy, proper batting footwork and body positioning are essential.
- You need to effectively transfer their weight onto the backfoot while keeping your head stable.
- Have you waist a little bent to provide a strong, flexible motion.
- Shift your body weight along while you swing your bat towards the leg side to play the short-pitched deliveries.
- Some players like Rohit Sharma, can even play this shot from the front foot.
- Practice judging the ball well and performing a lightning quick transfer of weight onto the backfoot with your body open and facing the ball, to gain mastery over the technique.
Credit: Hindustan Times
Timing and Shot Selection:
- Timing is key to play any shot. Judge the bowler’s line and length and decide if the ball is bowled.
- If it is short and towards your body, it is suitable for you to go ahead with the stroke.
Pick the right delivery and then select whether to pull the ball off the front foot or the backfoot and whether to just nudge the ball or to swing it hard.
Keeping all the steps in mind, swing your bat and try to middle the ball. If you're confident, powerhit the ball into the stands. Or just try to nudge it into the gap for an easy double. Though reading this seems very easy, it’s very important to practice relentlessly to always execute the shot well.
Common Mistakes to Avoid:
While playing the shot, you can make a ton of basic mistakes that you need to learn how to avoid.
- Misjudging the line and length of the ball,
- Playing across the line
- Mistiming the shot
- Not playing the stroke with full commitment
- Losing control due to over aggression
All these can all lead to you playing a bad stroke and cost you your wicket. Have mental clarity to play each ball one at a time, be aware of the fielding set up by the bowling side and the bowler’s trap to prevent any such error.
Training Drills to Improve your Pull Shot:
- First and foremost, start watching videos of the batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ricky Ponting playing their pull shots and try to learn from them. Look at and understand their footwork, their hand-eye-body coordination and motion and try to implement them in your game.
- Practice playing in a real match scenario against a bowling machine or in a throwdown session with your coach at the academy.
- Shadow practice can help you get better with the footwork and transfer of weight. Keep in touch with your coach at your academy and consult them frequently to develop a better technique.
Importance in the Modern Game:
As the formats of the game get shorter and shorter, batsmen are not scared to take risks and score runs. So, however well the bowler bowls, batsmen will always try to hit the ball out of the ground. And as bowlers use bouncers and short pitched deliveries in order to contain runs and pick wickets, the pull shot will be a powerful reply.
The pull shot in cricket embodies the fusion of power, skill, and calculated aggression. In the modern game, it has become one of the most important weapons in a batsman’s arsenal. The right technique, timing, and shot selection, can help you harness the full potential of this stroke. And NEVER FORGET- PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, so continue working and some day you’ll be a maestro too.