How to play a perfect pull shot? A number of batsmen have struggled to find the answer to this rather simple question. Quite a few experts emphasise on the need to roll the wrists over the ball so as to avoid getting the top edge and being more in control of the stroke. It is, however, easier said than done.
West Indies great Brian Lara was an exponent of nailing the pull shot to perfection. With his typical Caribbean flair, accentuated with a famously high backlift and a silken pirouette, Lara's pull was a sight to behold. Now an expert at Star Sports, Lara recently showed the technique to play the shot correctly.
Lara, 51, cited the examples of Mumbai Indians' opener Quinton de Kock and Rajasthan Royals' Ben Stokes, both of whom were out attempting the pull shot recently, to illustrate his point.
"They are two guys who love to play the hook and pull shot. In Ben Stokes’ case, the face of the bat is closed and in de Kock’s instance, the bat face is open. Stokes got played on and that, in itself, shows you a little bit of a problem that they have as batsmen," Lara said on Select Dugout.
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Lara, the only man to score 400 runs in a Test innings, further noted that batsmen need to get in the line of the ball before attempting the shot. The next important tip to consider, according to Lara, is to make sure the bat face is closed at the point of contact with the ball, not before, as was the case with Stokes' dismissal. Likewise, the bat face shouldn't remain open after the contact between the bat and ball is made, unlike what de Kock did.
"Now, the line of the ball is important. Now, what I would like to see from them both is that, they get in line and try. The first thing you have to start with is that your bat has to be open, but it got to be closing on contact with the ball. It cannot be closing before the ball like Ben Stokes or remain open like de Kock.
"Both gentlemen are very successful with that shot as well, but the line is important. Now, if you take that line and you bowl that line on leg stump, both shots from de Kock and Ben stokes become good shots, because Ben Stokes is now pulling with his body and line with the ball, which is good, face is closed, pulling it down. In de Kock’s situation, if you have seen, he got a couple of big sixes. He is helping the ball on the way, so that’s perfect. But when it is outside the off-stump, you got to be able to get on top," Lara added.
"Remember this youngsters, get on top and as you make contact, coming from open to close, not close to close or not open to open. So, that’s one of my little thoughts of what I saw.”
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