Dear Toby, I have been caught behind the wicket several times already this season, especially against medium-paced bowlers, and I wondered if you could help? John, DURHAM
John, firstly, I would be interested to know what guard you are taking? Ideally, it is easier to judge which deliveries to play and which to leave, if your feet and head are closer to the line of middle and off stump at ball release. A still head makes judgment easier. Also, try not to look to play too square on the off side, which invariably uses less bat width and is a little more risky. TR
Dear Toby, I am a right-handed batsman and am having difficulty playing against left arm in-swing bowling. I am being hit on the pads a lot and have been LBW on the two occasions I have faced left arm bowlers this year. Steve, DORSET
Steve, I would suggest that you "open" your stance a little to the direction that the ball is being delivered from. Position yourself so that an imaginary straight line runs from your feet, hips, head and shoulders towards the release position of the bowler at the bowler's crease. When playing on the front foot against left-arm in-swing, track the line of the ball but wait as long as possible before committing your front foot to its final position. Allow your head, front shoulder and front foot to move towards the finishing - not starting – line of the ball, which will ensure that the appropriate base is created for the stroke and that the full bat width can be presented to the ball. TR
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