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Old 5th December 2011, 03:39
Genghis's Avatar
Genghis Genghis is offline
PPCL Best Bowler
Debut: Nov 2005
Venue: Brisbane, Australia
Runs: 12,615
Ask The Expert: Batting tips

PakPassion is delighted to announce the next edition of our Ask the Expert section. This time we be focused on - Batting. Thanks to all who sent in questions.

Who better to discuss this with then Mohammad Haroon. Haroon is a former first class cricketer who has been coaching for many years. He is currently undertaking the ECB Level 4 qualification and has worked with many international cricketers over the years, including Mohammad Asif.

Haroon's work can also be found at PitchVision.

roshan s
Age: 19
Level: College team
Position: Middle order bat, usually 2nd down and sometimes as opener
I am a right-handed batsman and I am really struggling playing leg spinners and left arm orthodox bowlers. Please suggest some tips on batting against leg spinners and left arm orthodox bowlers.

Mohammad Haroon: The reasons a batsmen could struggle against leg spinners and left arm orthodox bowling is not picking the length early enough, not taking into account the type of wicket or the angle of the delivery coming towards batsman. So I would suggest, try to pick the length early and try not to predict if the ball is going to pitch up or short, be ready for all the lengths. Secondly, try to read the wicket and see how much the ball is going to turn this will bring more confidence in your game. Then look at the angle the ball is approaching to you so that your feet movement is more effective. And lastly, if possible watch the ball more efficiently in the air to see the number of revolutions a bowler is putting on the ball

roshan s
Age: 19
Level: College team
Position: Middle order bat, usually 2nd down and sometimes as opener
Are trigger movements necessary? Sometimes I use back and across trigger movement against medium pacers, which gives me time to play horizontal shots like the pull and hook shot. The disadvantage is that sometimes I miss the straight ball and get lbw.

Mohammad Haroon: My personal opinion is that trigger movements are not for everyone. They are not something to easily adapt to or get rid off. So whatever is working for you is suitable for you. To bring technical changes in the game I always suggest specialist one to one session with a coach.

If you are getting out to straighter balls, it might be due to lack of practice or being complicated in your thought process. To address this issue, you just need to practice more. Practice against bowling machine or throw-downs by mixing the length of the ball.

roshan s
Age: 19
Level: College team
Position: Middle order bat, usually 2nd down and sometimes as opener
Can you suggest specific forearms and shoulders exercises or various other exercises that help to add power to the shots?

Mohammad Haroon: To play any sport requires certain level of power strength and flexibility. To play cricket we do not only need power and strength but flexibility too. Appropriate gym work requires keeping in mind all three things to bring improvements in a player. Too much bodybuilding can decrease your flexibility.

It is not only the forearms which bring power into the shots, in fact our base which are legs, thigh and groin area needs to be strengthened too. Lunges and squats are very good exercises as these will help give you better transfer of weight into your shots. To help build your forearm and shoulders, what you can do is use a bat and ball and hold the bat from the handle with both hands and gently bounce the ball in a continuous motion with small dabs on the face of the bat. Spread your arms so that they are not too close to the chest and start gradually bouncing the ball, closely watching the ball. When you are comfortable, take one hand off and try it again with each hand. This is a brilliant exercise to work on your forearm and shoulders and I have seen lots of cricketers benefit from this. In addition, it increases hand-eye coordination. Light weight training is effective as well.

Age: 21
Level: BackYard Cricketer
Position: Middle Order bat
I am really struggling to sweep the ball, please advise how I can improve this aspect of my game.

Mohammad Haroon: The sweep shot is played on the length not on the line of the delivery so every ball which pitches on the leg side doesn’t mean it could be swept. Normally a sweep is played on a good length ball which is about four yards from the wicket. Sweeping on a ball that is too full in length or too short in length is not a safe option. Some batsmen try to hit too hard while sweeping, which makes the sweep, shot riskier. Try to time the shot by using the pace of the ball rather than hitting it too hard. Keep the head still and pick the right length. Start practising with a pre-established position of sweeping and gradually play from the stance. This will help improve your ability to sweep.

Age: 26
Level:Sunday League
Position: Opener
Over the last season, I have serious issues in playing the ball that is coming onto my legs. Most of the times the ball that pitches anywhere and comes in towards me is blocked or hit on my pads, really no chance to play them across the line. Overall I feel I have lost my leg side game unless the ball is pitched short.

Mohammad Haroon: Try to pick the line and length early and get into the right position to play the shot. Try not to hit the ball too hard and use the pace of the bowler. Try to keep your toes towards the line of the ball and keep your head still.

Age: 19
Level: Grade Cricket
Are there any specific exercises for improving your reflex times, reflexes, and reacting to the ball faster in general while batting.

Mohammad Haroon: This is something which can be done in throw-downs or with a bowling machine by keeping the distance short and with rapid fire all the while keeping safety in the mind. Initially use rapid fire tennis balls under arm throw downs from 6-8 yards then gradually move on to cricket balls and then use a bowling machine with quick fire bowling by keeping realistic speed. Playing squash is useful for improving reflexes too.

Age: 30
Level: Amateur level
Position: Lower order
I have a tendency to play every ball on the back foot. Even though my first movement may be the front foot, naturally I end up on my back-foot. How do I resolve this? I have tried to talk to myself between balls, but it just doesn't seem to work.

Mohammad Haroon: There are very few batsmen in the world who are equally good on both front and the back foot. So it should not be a big worry as long as you have your positives working for you all the time. If you have a strong back foot game, it is still a very good skill. If you want to improve on your front foot game, go in the nets and get some throw-downs in the nets and get used to playing on the front foot.

The other thing I am gathering is that you are talking too much to yourself when batting. I think you need more practice so that you do not need to talk to yourself when out in the middle. When the ball is coming towards you, you need full concentration to face the ball. Let the decision-making become a part of your game. The only way to achieve that is to practice more on both the front and back foot as effectively as you can.

Age: 30
Level: Amateur level
Position: Lower order
I am very uncomfortable playing with a helmet. It seems the visor is always in my vision and hence I generally don't play with one. Am I wearing the wrong type of helmet, or not wearing it properly? Or is it just a matter of just practising with a helmet?

Mohammad Haroon: Equipment is very vital in cricket. If you have proper and suitable equipment, it makes the delivery of your skill easier. Your helmet as you have rightly said, is disturbing you as it is preventing you from sighting the ball, and hence you need to look at the equipment. The helmet may not be of good quality or I suspect that maybe you do not have the correct size helmet. There are helmets available which are adjustable, in that you can move the visor up and down.

I strongly believe that modern cricket demands modern equipment as well. Before players would play without helmets, now I think a helmet should be worn as it gives you extra safety and allows you to play more freely without the fear of getting injured. Cricket is very much a professional game, so it is important that you look after yourself with the right quality safety gear.

Age: undisclosed ( but old!)
Level: Occasional player
Position: Specialist No 11
Have a question about stance:
Imran Khan had some weird stance where his bat was never on the ground but held in such a way that, at least to the untrained eye, it was ready to hit the ball - I try copying that but always get bowled as I am never able to get my bat down in time!
Is this a good stance or should I be happy with the traditional bat on ground stance?

[B][color=blue] Every person is different from another in the way we think and the way we react, our limbs and our movement pattern are different. There are fundamentals which should be put right in place. Some players like Graham Gooch, Chris Broad, Imran Khan, Amir Sohail – they would keep their bat high in the air at delivery and it would work for them. If you are able to play all your shots by keeping your bat on the ground, there is no reason to try and change it solely because one of the elite players in the world do it so. There are many cricketers who played without keeping the bat in the air. It is a matter of personal ease and technique. Try not to fix something which is not broken.

Level: Club Cricket
Position: Opener
I have a high back lift stance and I am very comfortable with it facing the faster bowlers, but I generally cut my backlift and take much lower stance against the spinners, so should I keep it this way or stick to one stance?

Mohammad Haroon: This is a good question. When we keep the bat in the air to face a bowler, our bottom hand becomes slightly loose on the grip of the bat handle. For some batters it is easier to come in the line of the ball but at the same time our ability to hit the ball over the fielders becomes less effective. Generally top order batters don’t want to hit the fast bowlers in the air over mid on or mid off so this technique is adopted by those batsmen who just want to use pace of the quick bowlers. However, when it comes to face the spinners, its better we have strong bottom hand grip on the handle so that we can generate extra power to play the shots.


I recently moved up from the middle order to open. I am mainly a front foot player and can play a decent pull but sometimes struggle to put away fuller deliveries angled towards my pads. I think it has to do with balance at the crease. If so, how could I work to rectify that?

Mohammad Haroon: Before you were facing a semi-new ball lower down and now you are facing a new ball. When you are opening and facing a brand new ball, you need a different timing for your shots. Technically your front toes should be pointing towards where the ball is coming from. This makes it easier to play on the leg side. To maintain balance while playing towards leg side, try and keep your head in the line of the ball rather than falling over towards off side.

Cover Drive
Age: 21
Level: Club Cricket
Position: Middle Order
I have seen coaches saying that for a pull shot you should go across the stumps and then play, however, if one plant his front foot towards the direction of the ball [meaning where it lands] and then transfer his weight on back foot and plays the stroke wouldn't this be okay?

Mohammad Haroon: One defined technique is not for every one. Cricket has moved on, and nowadays players are batting with different techniques. If you watch Chanderpaul playing and see some other world class players play, they all have different techniques. Important thing is that you maintain your balance while batting.

Pull or hook are normally instinctive shots so if you are effectively playing these shots on front or back foot with good success rate I would not suggest to change anything. Viv Richards and Ricky Ponting, two fantastic hookers and pullers with different techniques one gets his front foot away from the line of the ball and plays on the back foot while the other brings his front foot towards the line of the ball and make contact with the bat even on the front foot.
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