8. Batting strategy

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Batting Order

When a team goes out to bat, the best players bat first. The # 1, 2 ,3, 4 batsmen are known as the top order. # 5,6,7 form the middle order and # 8, 9, 10, 11 are the lower order or tail. At any given time there are always two batsmen on the field.

The first two batsmen are called the openers. They are supposed to play aggressively in one-day matches or defensively in test matches. At # 3, 4, 5 are the players capable of playing an anchor role by batting through most of the innings. Usually the best batsman of the team is put at # 3 or 4. This is usually done to prevent him from getting out early. However the line-up is flexible and it can be changed as the scenario of the game demands it.

The middle-order consists of all-rounders and bowlers who can bat a bit. The lower-order consists of the bowlers of the team who are not known for their batting skills.


To score a run a striker can hit it either between two fielders, or just over the fielder's head, out of his reach.  All runs hit with the bat or gloved hand holding the bat are credited to the striker's career statistics. If a batsman gets above 50 runs, it is a notable achievement. If he goes on to get a century (also called a ton), it is considered a major achievement. In test matches batsmen do score double and triple centuries in an innings.

Placement is similar to place-hitting in baseball. A drop-shot is like a 'drop shot' in tennis or 'bunt' in baseball

Most quality batsmen are good timers and placers of the ball. By Placement refers to the ball hit in such a way, that it bisects or trisects two or three fielders to reach the boundary. Timing means the is ball was hit with a minimal amount of force enough to go to the boundary; the fielders are unable to field the ball, despite them chasing the ball up to the boundary.


A shot is named for the style of swing of the bat and the placement of the ball in the field. A shot can be hit in the air or played along the ground. The most common are the drives, where the ball is hit with the full face of the bat and played along the ground. Drives include the square-drive, on-drive, straight-drive, cover-drive and the off-drive.  A lofted-shot is played by stepping a few paces forward and hitting the ball over the bowler's head, usually for six runs.

[Graphic: Names of cricket shots]
  • Names of cricketing shorts

The sweep is an effective shot played against spinners by going down on one knee and swinging the bat, so that the ball goes on the leg-side. The hook shot is played by swinging the bat horizontal to the ground with the ball at shoulder height. The pull shot is similarly played, but at chest height. Both are hit on to the leg-side and are mostly airborne shots. A cut shot is played to the off-side by angling the bat so that the ball deflects off the face of the bat while the batsman swings the bat. Cut-shots also include the square-cut and the late-cut and the slice.

He can also drop it at just outside the pitch area, the drop shot, and run quickly to the other end before the bowler or the wicketkeeper can get to it. A chip-shot is a gentle lob trajectory over infielders, allowing the batsman to get one or two runs. A chip shot usually does not go to the outfield. Unorthodox shots include the slogs, a wild swing at the ball and the reverse-sweep, played like a sweep, but on the off-side. If an edge narrowly misses the hitting the stumps, it is known as a French-cut or Chinese-cut.


[Graphic: Footwork]
  • Footwork showing the weight on front and back foot

The best way to take the opposition bowling apart is by good footwork. What footwork means is that the batsman moves his as feet close to the spot where the ball is going to be pitched. With this he can free his arms and hit the ball as he does not allow it to come in the corridor of uncertainty. The advantages are manifold:

  1. He can place the ball well, as he frees his arms.
  2. By moving close to where the ball pitched, the batsman negates the turn or swing a bowler gets after pitching.
  3. The only disadvantage of moving toward the ball is, if you miss the ball, you can get out stumped.

A shot is played with the weight of the batsman either on his front foot or his back foot. Front foot shots make it easier to play on the on-side, while back foot makes it easier to hit on the off-side.

Rotation of Strike

The key to batting is the rotation of strike. While batting, it is important that both batsmen face the ball by alternating the strike between them. After they run a single (1 run), the other batsman faces the bowling. By rotation of strike, the bowlers are not allowed to settle down into a fixed rhythm as they have to change their line and length to each striker. This is compounded further, if there is a right–left hand combination batting. Rotation also keeps the scoreboard ticking. Rotation of strike is the hallmark of good batting.

A partnership is the number of runs scored between a pair of batsmen before one of them gets out. A solid partnership of fifty runs and above in an ODI or a hundred and above by the top order often cements a base from which the lower order can launch an attack to score as many runs as possible in the latter overs of a ODI match.

A Fall of Wicket (FoW) is the team score at which a batsman gets dismissed.

A ODI innings

In ODI games, the run rate is higher than in tests, typically at about 5 runs per over. In test matches it is about 3 an over. The general trend in batting during an ODI match of 50 overs is as shown below:

Over wise breakdown of a team's batting strategy
0–15 Batsmen have to try and score many runs. The openers have to score quickly. Quick scoring means scoring more 4's and 6's, a few 2's and 3's and scoring of almost every ball faced. This is due to the fact that the first 15 overs have field restrictions that the batsmen can take advantage of. After the openers get out, the next few top order batsmen bat. Usually they bat as the anchor, batting into the last 10 overs.
15–35 In the 16th to the 35th over, the top and middle order usually bat. The scoring rate is not as brisk as the first 15, but this is the period where the teams try and conserve wickets and bat at a steady rate.
35–50 In the last 15 overs, as the overs run out, the batsmen try to hit almost all the balls they face either for a 4 or a 6. This is the period where batsmen throw caution into the winds and accelerate the scoring rate as much as possible, to attain a large score. The more wickets in hand (batsmen not out), the better chances of a rapid acceleration, as the risk in being bowled out has a minimal effect.

In test matches the run-rate is not an important factor. As there are an unlimited number of overs, batsmen can play defensively in order not to get out. The more runs scored, the better for the team.

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