Learn 8 Basic Cricket Shots: How to Play as a Beginner

As a beginner, you need to start with the basics and here are 8 of the most important cricket shots that you will need.

How to Play Cricket Shots

The basics are all about stance, keeping your head still and watching the ball as you start to learn these shots.

1. Straight Drive

How to Play Straight Drive Cricket Shot
This is an attacking shot and a potentially great way to score runs. It’s played to a half volley ball pitched on middle stump and, when executed correctly, travels back past the bowler in an area where there are no fielders.

To play it:

  • Move your front foot to the pitch of the ball
  • Swing the bat through the line, keeping that bat straight
  • Look to hit the ball as it’s underneath your head
  • Follow through while keeping the bat in a straight line

2. Forward Defence Shot

How to Play Forward Defence Cricket Shot
This is, clearly, a defensive shot and is best played to a straight ball on a good length. When played correctly, the ball will travel slowly back towards the bowler.

  • Get your head in line with the ball
  • Move your front foot forwards towards the pitch of the ball
  • Play the ball directly under your eye line
  • Push your weight into the ball
  • Let the ball hit the bat – do not push at it or attempt to follow through
  • Angle the bat downwards so the ball travels directly into the ground

Forward Defence Shot

3. Backfoot Defence Shot

How to Play Backfoot Defence Cricket Shot
This defensive shot is generally played to a short, straight ball which pitches just back of a length. It’s a good choice for fast, bouncy wickets. As the ball pitches you should:

  • Move your back foot to the stumps but keep in line with the ball
  • Shift your weight to the ball of your back foot
  • Keep your head forward
  • Swing the bat down while keeping your front elbow high
  • Meet the ball at the top of the bounce with soft hands
  • Angle the bat down so that the ball drops to the ground on contact

4. Backfoot Drive

How to Play Backfoot Drive Cricket Shot
This is an attacking shot which can be played to a short of a length ball pitched outside off stump. If executed correctly, it will travel to the boundary between mid off and cover.

  • Shift your weight forward and keep your head above the ball
  • Play with a straight bat through the line
  • The top hand controls the bat while the bottom hand punches through to provide power
  • Follow through on the line of the shot and stay in a high position

Back Foot Drive

5. Sweep Shot

How to Play Sweep Shot in Cricket
This is an attacking shot and one that’s a little more complex than the ones we’ve seen so far. However, it can be your best choice for scoring runs against the spinners.

This is a cross batted shot played to a full ball pitching on or outside leg stump and you should:

  • Move your front foot to the pitch of the ball
  • Bend the back knee and get as low as possible
  • Sweep across the line of the ball with a horizontal bat
  • Roll the wrists as you make contact to keep the ball down

6. Leg Glance Shot

How to Play Leg Glance Cricket Shot
This is an attacking shot that relies more on timing than power. It is played to a short of a length ball which pitches on or outside leg stump. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Move both feet back towards the stumps
  • Open the body out so that the chest starts to face the ball
  • Bring the bat through in a straight line but turn it slightly to square leg as you make contact
  • Make that contact with the ball in front of the body
  • Follow through with control in the top hand which ‘glances’ the shot away

back foot leg glance

7. Square Cut

How to Play Square Cut Shot in Cricket
This is another attacking shot but power is definitely needed if it’s going to be executed correctly. Use the following technique to play a short of a length ball outside of off stump.

  • Move the back leg towards the stumps and across to the off side
  • Bring the bat down and across towards the ball in a sweeping motion
  • Make contact with the ball when the arms are at full extension
  • Follow through with the weight still on the back foot
  • The bat should finish above your front shoulder and behind your head

8. Pull Shot

How to Play Pull Shot in Cricket
This is another attacking shot that relies on power. It would be played to a short of a length or short ball which pitches on or outside of leg stump.

  • Move the back foot towards the stumps
  • Open up the body so that the chest starts to face the ball
  • Extend the arms as you bring the bat down from the off to the leg side in a sweeping motion
  • Make contact with the ball at or above waist height: the arms should be fully extended
  • Follow through and roll the wrists to keep the ball down

What are the Hardest Shots to Play in Cricket?

In general, the attacking shots are the hardest to play when you’re just starting to learn the game. That’s why coaches will start by teaching you how to play defensive shots and this will help you to build your technique.

Once that element has been mastered, players will learn to identify deliveries where they can play all the different batting shots they know.