England’s Dawid Malan is not the No.1 ranked batter in T20i cricket for nothing. Composed and deliberate at the crease, he also packs a powerful punch when on the attack.
In the nets at Newlands last week, Dawid played one crunching drive over the top. When the amateur cricketer tries to copy such a shot we usually force it, hit too early and hit way ahead of our body.
Dawid shows here the secret to a strong and confident drive over the top.
• He stands back in the crease to give himself that extra split second to see the ball. This means he has to be super aware of his stumps when hooking and cutting, but the extra bite of time is what makes the difference for him, and it’s clearly working (ranked No.1!).
• He doesn’t push out at the ball… he lets it come to him. In fact, he plays this aerial drive almost in line with his front pad. Again, that gives him time to see the ball and adjust for any late movement.
• He holds his backlift super late. This might well be the key to success for every struggling batter out there. By keeping the bat up high (basically up near his ear) through until effectively after the ball has pitched on the turf, it means that (aside from having extra time in which to adjust his stroke) he has had to develop the skill of super-fast bat speed in order to hit the ball before it slips past him. This faster bat speed has a big hand in improving one’s timing of the ball as well, and when your timing is spot on you don’t need to force things at all. And that’s when most batters are at their beautiful best.
Finally… what a beautiful sound off the bat that is (unless you’re a bowler!).