Playing the Short Pitched ball-Problems and Solution
In cricket playing short ball well has always been a premium skill, a skill which measures how good a batsman is. It is a parameter which people use to predict how likely it is that a particular subcontinent batsmen will play well outside Asia.
Why some batsmen struggle against the short ball?
In my opinion there are two reasons for this. Firstly some batsmen struggle because they pick the length of the ball a little late due to which they struggle against short ball. Secondly some batsmen pick the short ball but they lack that clarity in their mind whether to play or duck and if they decide to play then sometimes they get confused whether to play it in the air or use their wrist to keep it along the ground.
What’s the solution then?
Life is not that much difficult for those batsmen who struggle because they lack clarity in their mind because here the problem is more mental than technical and it can be solved by constant practice which will improve their confidence and decision making skills in shot selection. The best part is that this problem can be solved even at the international level.
The problem is more difficult and serious for those batsmen which pick up the length of the ball a little late. Such batsmen can manage to play the good and fuller length ball but they surely struggle against the short delivery and it is very difficult to solve this problem at the international level because once bowlers find out your weakness you will get exposed and they will continuously target your weakness. Therefore it is very essential to solve this problem at the domestic level only. Coaches before teaching all the flashy shots must ensure that the batsmen have acquired the basics of picking the line and length early.
How effective are the temporary solutions?
Some batsmen who don’t play the short ball particularly well have devised some temporary solutions which helps them to get some resistance against the short ball. But the question is how really effective are those in the longer run? For example some batsmen have developed a shot known as ‘The Periscope Shot’ and they have got a little success, but this shot will give you results only when the line of the ball is outside off stump. It will not work when the line is around middle and leg. Also if there is a deep third man then it will be a very risky shot to play. Another example is few batsmen walk across the stumps and guide the ball on the leg side but again by doing this they are exposing their leg stump and increasing their chances of getting out.
The biggest problem with these temporary solutions is that here you are anticipating that ball will be a short ball and you are actually not reading the length of the ball and too much of this anticipation can prove very costly. Once the bowler realizes that you are anticipating every ball to be a short ball then it’s just a matter of time that he will get your wicket and that’s why in my opinion these temporary solutions may not give you benefit in the longer run.
So from this discussion we can conclude that problem of struggle against the short ball can be and must be solved at the domestic level because once you come at the international level you won’t get that much opportunity to learn the basics of playing the short ball.