What’s Your Grip for Cricket?
This article is designed for you to know the types of grips you can use with your hands in cricket. Read my other articles for the other basics of batting.
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Let us now dwell on the ‘grip’ factor. If a batsman were to score runs slowly the critics would attribute it to his peculiar ‘grip’. I do believe in the traditional, old-fashioned way of playing cricket, but I am not against improvisation or modification, depending on the situation of the game and the batsman’s abilities or idiosyncrasies. I feel it is better to learn to play in the orthodox manner for building a strong foundation. However, if a batsmen has an unorthodox grip and still manages to amass runs he should not change his grip because it would then affect his natural talent (which is a God-given gift).
In the orthodox grip, both hands should be close together, with the left hand on top gripping the handle firmly and the right hand below, comparatively loose vis-a-vis the left hand. The gap between both hands should not be more than one inch. A ‘V’ is formed by the first finger and thumb (of both hands), which should be in the same line and pointing between the splice and the outside edge of the bat (Approximately one inch of the handle should be visible above the left hand)
Normally, a driver of the ball would have his ‘Vs’ closer to the outside edge to the outside edge of the bat so as to facilitate his wrist to move freely in order to execute the drive shot or play the defensive stroke comfortably. For the check drive (also known as ‘forward push’) and defensive play, the batsmen would normally keep their ‘Vs’ in the line of the splice, which restricts their follow through. I would suggest that the grip of the ‘V’ should be in the middle of the splice and the outside edge to enable the batsmen to play strokes and defend well at the same time.
Some players adopt an unorthodox grip; for instance, one hand would hold the top of the handle and the other the bottom. Nevertheless, they may be able to play their strokes comfortably and effectively. Into this category fall Javed Miandad and Asif Iqbal, who were exceptionally talented players.
I used to changed my grip while playing against pace and spin in order to control my strokes. Against genuine pace and sometimes against medium fast stuff, my right hand would be near the bottom of the handle and the left hand close by. I would hold the handle with a firm grip because, against quick bowlers, it becomes necessary to control the shots as most of their deliveries are short in length and one could play with more authority off the back foot, especially strokes such as square cut, pull and hook.
When playing off the front foot, you need not hit the ball hard because even a check drive or a push will fetch you runs. You may not be able to smash the ball very hard, but, again, the basic idea is to score runs. I always found that holding the bat in a slightly lower grip gives one better control.