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Bat well soon

Dipesh: I`m from the UK, I love to watch and play cricket, Sadly, I have very little space in my garden and the only shot i can play is the straight drive, which i am very good at, Is that the hardest shot to play, and if not, which one is?

WV Raman: Dear Dipesh, if you are good at playing the straight drive, then quite obviously you have the ability to play through the line, which is what every batsman is taught to do. A straight drive is the safest and most productive shot. What may be slightly difficult is playing it in the gap between the stumps and the fielder at mid-on.

Dipak: I can drive on the rise, but sometimes I get excited and come on the front foot and drive at a ball which is moving too much, which means I nick it. How do you know when to play on the front foot and when to play on the back foot?

WV Raman: Dear Dipak, from your second question, I think that your problems are not due to the extra movement of the ball but it is due to the misjudgment of length. Try and see if you are driving on the up to a delivery that is short of a length. With regard to judging the length of the delivery which dictates your reaction, watch the ball closely and see the point at which the bowler releases the ball.

Tabarak Khan: What's the best way to play a yorker?

WV Raman: Dear Tabarak, the best option is to try and dig the ball out as soon as it pitches. Do not try and hit the ball hard as a good yorker rarely gives you the time to play an attacking shot.

Pranav: I seem to either play too offensive or too defensive. I usually open the innings and after the first five overs my score would be 5-6 runs as I am supposed to just hold one end. Then if I go for shots, I just get out! Any suggestions as to how I can improve this? I play in USA and the pitches are really, really slow.

WV Raman: Dear Pranav, i would suggest that you play the ball more on its merit. The reason I am saying this is because you seem to be playing more on a pre determined manner which is not helping you in shot selection. Also get to the crease with a free and open mind instead of having one particular mind set.

Neil: I practice a lot to play off the front foot but when I play a match, I don't go the front foot even if it is a ball to be played on the front foot.

WV Raman: Dear Neil, it may be due to the fact that you are aware of the length that is bowled at you in the nets. Ask someone to throw a few deliveries at varying lengths and see if you play off the front when the length demands you to.

Ritin Halai: Does a high back lift affect a player's batting? And also is it bad to use a heavy bat?

WV Raman: Dear Ritin, a high back-lift need not necessarily affect someone's batting as long as the downswing is in sync with the speed of the delivery. The weight of the bat again is once for you to choose after trying out bats of different weight.

Umesh: 1. Whenever I play an on drive, the ball hits the left pad and goes to the offside. What is the solution?
2. How can I play an attacking shot with minimum risk to a rising ball just short off a good length outside the off stump?

WV Raman: Dear Umesh, the ball is bound to hit the pad if you are either right in line with the ball or if you have gone too far across while playing an on-drive.
Try and get your front foot beside or inside the line of the ball which will give the opportunity for the bat to make contact with the ball. As far as your second question is concerned, try and play through the line. You can punch the ball down the ground if you gauge the pace correctly and get on top of the bounce.

Syed Abdul Salam Sartaj: Give me some tips as to what we have to keep on our mind when we go out to bat. Also could u tell me which position is good for batting - No 4 or No 5?

WV Raman: Dear Syed, the best thing is to go in to bat with an open mind and suggest to yourself that you will play straight for as long as possible. As regards the batting position, it does not really matter unless you play in a limited overs format all the time.

Chris: I am a batsman and open for my team. I play very slowly, but all of a sudden I get frustrated and try to accelerate the scoring and get out soon and though I play well at the nets and have confidence in my shots I lack this attitude in the match. Can you please help me to improve in this aspect and tell me how to play my shots confidently?

WV Raman: Dear Chris, if you get bogged down, then there is every chance that you will end up playing a rash shot in frustration. The best thing is try and pick up singles and thereby keep rotating the strike. Moreover, if you succeed in picking up singles frequently, it will do a world of good for your all round confidence.

Akhil Gupta: My question is with regard to chasing high totals rather than technique itself. In club cricket, when we chase high scores of close to 300 in a 50-over contest, we bat as if we are the team batting first, ignoring run rates etc. and this seems to remove most of the pressure. At the end of 50 overs, if we have batted better than the opposition, then we win. What do you make of this approach to the game? Would you agree with chasing in this way? Please explain why.

WV Raman: Dear Akhil, it is a question of how you look at things. There is nothing wrong with your theory but a couple of quick wickets do build pressure on the team chasing. This happens even in international cricket. But as long as your theory works well for your team, there is no need to change the formula.

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