Square Cut in Cricket: When you hear about Cricket what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? A bat hitting a ball which leads to the ball going across the park? If that’s your answer then let me correct you for good! Though Cricket revolves around Bat & ball, it is not merely just a bat randomly hitting a ball. There are various techniques in cricket that both batsmen & bowlers execute to produce a great piece of entertainment for their fans.
For a bowler, it’s essential to hit a delivery that is perfect in terms of line & length. While for a batsman it’s crucial to understand the line & length of delivery & then time a short accordingly. There are a plethora of shots that a batsman can play considering the nature of delivery. And today we are going to understand more about a widely practiced square cut shot in Cricket.
Don’t worry we won’t get you bored, in fact, you will love to know more about the square cut shot & how beautifully square cut is played in cricket.
Square Cut in Cricket & How it is Played?
A square cut shot as the name suggests is played square of the wicket on the off-side. It is the most widely played shot in cricket which is played against the back of the length or short deliveries that are wide outside the off-stump.
Getting confused? Let me explain in a simple way! A square-cut is often played on deliveries that are bowled outside the off-stump generally wide in nature. As the bowl is wide & outside the off-stump, it provides enough room for the batsman to hit the ball with full force resulting in a boundary or a six.
Deliveries that are closer to the body are not suitable to play this shot as there is a risk of chopping the ball onto the stumps & getting dismissed cheaply. This shot is played for deliveries that are outside the off-stump as a batter needs sufficient room to play this shot aptly. Though square-cut shots are mostly played on the back foot, they are also played on the front foot on rare occasions when the batsman faces a slow delivery.
Got fascinated by knowing how beautifully batters use square-cut shots in cricket? If yes then let’s quickly dive into how the square-cut shot is played in a perfect manner!
Steps to Play a Perfect Square Cut in Cricket
- The moment a batsman decides to execute a square cut shot he would immediately take his one foot in a backward position. If you are a right-foot batsman then your right foot will go backward & across towards the ball. And if you are a left-handed batsman your left foot will be placed in a similar direction.
- The batter will accompany his backward leg movement with a huge back-lift as he waits for the ball to pass on the off-side.
- The moment ball passes the batsman around his waist height & begins to surpass him, he will swing his willow across in a horizontal manner ‘cutting’ the ball towards the off-side.
- If the batter wants to execute the shot properly, it is important for him to move across enough to ensure there is enough room for the bat to swing in full force.
If all the steps are executed properly you would definitely end up smashing the ball for a boundary or a six.
Watch this video
Video Courtesy: Videojug.com
Types of Square Cut Shot in Cricket
Th major difference in the types of the square cut-shot is the direction in which the ball is hit. There are three variants of the classic Square Cut shot, but the execution of all remains the same:
- Square-Cut: A Classic shot played against medium-paced or fast bowling. With the bowler bowling a short wide outside off-stump delivery, the batsman moves back & across to hit the ball in the perpendicular direction towards the point region.
- Late Cut: This shot is played a little late than the regular cut shot. Played against spin bowling, the batsman waits for the ball to almost pass him & then directs it towards the third man region (a region near the boundary).
- Upper-Cut Shot: The modern cricketing shot, the upper-cut shot is used against a pretty short delivery mostly a bouncer wide outside off-stump. The batsman moves backward & cuts the ball upward in & around shoulder height mostly above the slip cordon. If the shot gets timed perfectly then it could straight away land in the stands.
We have got a deep understanding of the Square-Cut shot. Now let’s have a look at the stalwarts of World Cricket who have mastered the art of hitting a square-cut shot.
Top 5 Batters who aced the art of hitting Square-Cut Shots in Cricket:
Square cut shot & Virender Sehwag are just like ‘made for each other’. Virender Sehwag who is known as one of the best opener batters in World Cricket is the master of square-cut shots. The way he had executed & timed the cut-shots across all formats was next to perfection. Whether it’s the classic short ball wide-cut short or the upper-cut shot over the third man to bouncers, Sehwag made a point to smash the delivery straight into the stands
However, Virender Sehwag’s signature shot has been the upper-cut shot, using it he took the world-class bowlers to the cleaners.
Viru’s Epic Square-Cut Shot’s Glimpse:
Video Courtesy: Somnath S
2. Chris Gayle:
Chris Gayle’s power-hitting abilities are not hidden from the world outside. One of the most powerful openers in World Cricket, Chris Gayle has played myriad shots to get the better of bowlers. But one of the powerful weapons in his arsenal is the square-cut shot. If Chris Gayle gets anything short outside off, he will make a point to deposit it into the stands with a perfect square cut shot. His hand speed & reach has helped him to master the art of hitting a well-crafted square-cut in cricket.
For the unversed, the ‘Universe Boss’ has the ability to punish both pacers & fast bowlers for a boundary or maximum with his pummelling square-cut shot.
3. Alaistar Cook:
One of the World’s best opening batters in Test format Alastair Cook is another renowned name who has nailed the skill of playing a square-cut shot in cricket. With 12472 Test runs in his kitty, Alastair has made a point of executing cut shots to their best in the longest format.
With the habit of building long innings, Alastair often used square-cut shots to keep the scoreboard ticking. If a bowler happens to deliver a short-length off-stump delivery to Cook then he would surely get the beating as the opener would make a point to smash it for a six or four with the help of his favorite cut shot.
Alastair Cook’s Cut Shot taught by the legends himself:
Video Courtesy: England & Wales Cricket Board
4. Gordon Greenidge:
Former West Indian batting legend, Gordon Greenidge was one of the ardent users of the square-cut shot in cricket. Unlike many other West Indies players of his era, Greenidge had a copybook technique & his execution of square-cut is perfect than most of the other batters.
While executing the cut shot he used to keep his head still all the time & as soon as he picked up the length he would go on the backfoot before getting the bat down with a heavy chop on top of the ball’s bounce. The result used to be a sure-shot boundary or a maximum.
There have been a plethora of batters better than Greenidge but no one has mastered the art of a cut shot the way he did it.
5. Sanath Jayasuriya:
One of the Sri Lanka’s legendary batters, Sanath Jayasuriya is another one who aced the art of hitting a square-cut in cricket. The square-cut shot was one of Jayasuriya’s signature shots & by using it he brought bowlers under pressure. The moment Jayasuriya stroke a cut shot it would either surpass the point fielder or land on the roof for a six. Jayasuriya’s fast hands, great timing & strong forearms made the cut shot from his willow a nightmare for world-class bowlers.
Isn’t the concept of square-cut & how beautifully it has been used by the batters in World Cricket fascinating? If yes then stay tuned to Cricketflciker for more such intriguing write-ups & latest Cricket News
Note: The list is not given in a specific order. Few of the batters who have used square-cut near to perfection have been included in the list.