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Struggling Batsman Needs Advice on Facing Pace


Cricket Spectator
Hi all.

A bit of background so you know where I currently stand. I played cricket regularly as a junior and stopped around the age of fifteen to pursue other interests. At age 28 I decided to start playing again and found myself a club where I struggled, having not held a bat in 13/14 years. Frustration and weekend work patterns meant I gave it up again after struggling through one and half seasons. Last summer, eight years later and about two stone heavier I decided to try again, and I'm determined to stick with it. Played six games last year scoring a total of three runs. This year I've played five games so far and hit one run.

My biggest issue is facing pace bowling. I'm not used to facing the kind of speeds I'm coming up against. I only seem able to hit the ball if its straight at my pads. If it's going down off it seems the ball has already passed me before I can even work out if I should be on front or back foot, let alone make shot choice. I've had some time in the nets but my friends I have bowling to me at practice are not at the same level as some of the opposition we face so can't recreate the speeds I need to get used to. At the speeds I'm facing at practice I manage to have a decent knock, but I'm really struggling on match day.

My team have an approach of if you don't bowl you bat, so as to ensure we all get decent involvement in the game. I don't bowl so I'm often high in the order sometimes even opening so I'm always against the opening bowlers.

So does anyone have any suggestions of how to improve my reactions against pace without having the ability to recreate the speeds in a practice environment. Bowling machines are an option if I can find a facility but as far as I know they don't mix it up and once you know the line and length its set to you can easily be ready for the ball.



International Vice-Captain
Facing high speed pace tends to be easier if you just try to nudge the ball around rather than hit it early in your innings.


Whatever it takes!!!
I have not played any decent level for a while now but it is all about getting used to the pace. Like srb said, what I try to do usually is not to premeditate much, react to the ball, let your body get used to the speed at which the ball is coming over a few deliveries and then once you feel comfortable enough with the positions you are getting into, then you can think of trying to hit it.

Of course, in limited overs games, it does not always work, so when you are trying to hit out as soon as possible, one thing I tended to do was to visualize myself facing the bowler even from the other end and mimic the foot movement as you face (not the hands)... And of course trying to figure out either the line or length and adjusting your shot accordingly instead of trying to line up both, which, for me, usually needed more time facing the bowler to get used to it.


International Captain
This is just my experience and it may not work for you but it genuinely helped me. I started using the back and across trigger movement. Before that I used to stay absolutely still.


State Captain
One thing is to be sure that you are actually looking at the ball when it when it is released. From experience, you may think you are doing so when in fact you are picking it up early in flight. You really need to concentrate on the release point.

Against the fastest bowlers I've faced, I used no backlift and simply tried to position the bat in the way of the ball, holding it forward with the face down the pitch as if already playing a defensive stroke. It was not the best for scoring runs—relying on inside edges onto the pad going square of the wicket—but I did at least stay in.


State Captain
You can take one of the best bad tail-enders as a role model here, although he still does not have that face pointing quite down the wicket:

I doubt too much batting advice will be taken from Jim Higgs, but desperate situations call for desperate measures.

Edit—And I do mean this seriously. Staying in is ninety per-cent of low-level batting.
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