Why take a guard at the crease?
Simply, it is to have a clear idea of where your off stump is. When batting, you can almost stand and move anywhere you desire, so it’s important you know where it is before you move, and even more important in the early part of your innings I’d say.
Having said that… Why is Jonny Bairstow batting from outside off stump against Sri Lanka’s finger spinners, (where the ball pitches and moves into your body) yet takes a more ‘conventional’ set up against wrist spin (where the ball pitches and moves away from your body) and pace bowlers?
Jonny’s batting super strengths
● Has a huge selection of sweep shots
● An incredible athlete
● Incredible judge of pitch and conditions
● Picking the length of the ball very early
● He has a plan for every bowler
Here you’ll see Jonny talk about how he changed his set up and why it’s made him more successful.
I’m thoroughly enjoying Jonny’s batting masterclass vs finger spin today. Pre-delivery, Jonny sets up on roughly on middle stump, then triggers across completely concealing his stumps just before release, (occasionally further, depending on how wide in the crease the bowler’s feet land)
Batters do this mainly to eliminate LBW, as more often than not, the ball’s ‘impact’ on the pads will hit outside the line of the stumps when playing the front foot defence, therefore, you can’t be given out, moving across also alters angles of where the ball comes from; generally, off-spinners want to pitch on or just outside off stump to turn the ball back onto the stumps,
Interestingly, Jonny uses a different approach when he plays a ball turning away from him (wrist/leg-spin, or a left-handed finger spinner) he tends to press forwards, allowing bowlers to see the stumps, he presses more of his weight onto his front foot, putting his head over the top of off stump, allowing him to have a better flow of body mass creating enough space for the hands to work.
Next time you are in the nets or the garden, practice batting outside off stump against finger spin, discover what challenges this poses if say, the ball goes onto to hit leg stump.
Source: ECB website, arabnews.com and timesindia