If you are a cricket fan, and you love watching the game (like me :-)), then surely you must have seen that cricketers tap the pitch or the ground during the game while they are batting! I have always wondered why until I found the reasons!
So, why do cricketers tap their bat on the Pitch while batting? Cricketers tap their bat on the pitch often to assess the pitch, flatten the cracks to avoid uneven bounce or even sometimes to simply overcome their nervousness.
In most cases, tapping the bat on the pitch can be attributed to the aforementioned reasons. However, there are multiple other reasons why a batsman would exhibit such behavior during a match. Let’s look at seven of the most common reasons (in no particular order of priority) –
1. Identify and flatten the cracks to avoid uneven bounce
The behavior of a cricket pitch can often be uncertain. However, what is certain is that cracks on the pitch cause the ball to deviate from its trajectory. It can even surprise the batsman with a sudden high or a low bounce. This uneven bounce, more often than not, causes a batsman to lose his concentration, or worse, his wicket.
Thus, when a new batsman walks in to bat, one of the key things that he does is really tap the pitch a little where the ball had an erratic bounce or wherever he sees a crack in the pitch in the hope of making it even. This can help in restoring a normal bounce.
This may be seen more commonly among the new batsmen as they are often unaware of the exact locations of the cracks. However, even a well-settled batsman can be seen conducting this activity when they suddenly get surprised by the ball bounce on the pitch.
2. Make Bowlers Wait
Cricket is not just physical but also a psychological game. There are times when a batsman is feeling under pressure. This could be as a result of some fiery piece of bowling by the opposition or even due to the pressure created using other tactics such as sledging. In such cases, the most optimal thing to do is to slow things down. Make the opposition team wait for a little longer and utilise that time to assess the situation. As long as the batsman doesn’t take guard, the bowler can’t bowl the ball. This creates an opportunity to break the rhythm of the bowler and the bowling team.
Many players use different methods to increase the wait time. Players like MS Dhoni might open the left glove and put it back, then repeat the same for the right glove. Some players just prefer having a look around the ground to see the field position but also to take this time to break the rhythm of the bowling team. While others will just walk down the pitch and just tap on the pitch serving a dual purpose of flattening the cracks, but most importantly, make the bowlers wait.
3. Reduce Impact of the Bowlers’ Footmarks
Often during a cricket match, the condition of the pitch changes as the match progresses. One of the many factors that affect pitch deterioration is the footmarks caused by the bowlers of the opposition team. When the bowler has bowled the delivery, by virtue of inertia, the bowler ends up running on the pitch unintentionally. This leads to wear and tear of the pitch making the ball spin or even bounce erratically. In fact, this very phenomenon one of the key strategies that many captains consider when choosing the bowlers for a team.
Thus, you may see batsmen walking up to certain sections of the pitch and tapping it in order to resettle the top layers of the pitch in the areas that have been impacted by the bowlers’ run-up. This is often a common sight in Test Match Cricket as opposed to a T20 cricket match as the latter tend to be short in nature owing to less wear and tear.
4. Overcome Nervousness
A batsman can feel nervous due to reasons more than one. Sometimes, a cricketer may feel nervous when they come in to bat. This is especially so when they are playing their first match. While on other occasions, it could be due to the opposition team putting pressure on the batsman or when a a batsman gets hit!
It is important to ensure that a cricketer maintains his calm especially when batting. More calm the batsman is, more comfortably he will be able to play the ball.
As a result, many a time, a batsman can be seen walking down the pitch and tapping on it in order to calm his nerves. Cricketers have various methods of coping with their nervousness. Players like Derek Randall would start talking in the middle of the match in order to avoid nervousness. Virender Sehwag was known for whistling or singing while batting. Tapping their bat on the pitch while batting is another method that may cricketers adopt to overcome nervousness.
5. Remove Stones (or other particles) from the Pitch
There are times when it is not necessarily a crack on the pitch or a bowler’s footmark this is the cause of the problem. There can be elements on the pitch that can either distract or cause problems for a batsman while batting. Cricketers often notice small stones or tapes or other such elements that land on a cricket pitch. While the source of such objects may not matter and may be difficult to identify, it becomes important for a batsman to remove this foreign objects from a pitch.
Thus, you may see a batsman walk up to such alien objects on a pitch and either tap their bat on the pitch or even bend and pick it up in order to completely remove them from the pitch.
6. Focus during a Long Innings
As a batsman, a cricketer loves playing a long innings that allows him to score a double or even triple hundred. Such innings require determination and a great deal of focus.
Playing a long innings, especially during a test match, can get monotonous (Yes, even for a cricketer!). This can lead to lack of concentration for the batsman and eventually him getting out!
In order to focus and maintain concentration, batsman often taps their bat on the pitch.
7. Communicate with the Batting Partner
As you may be aware, a batting team has two players batting at the same time to score runs. In order to avoid losing a wicket, a healthy level of communication is often very important.
Cricketers are often seen tapping their bat on the pitch while walking to the other end of the pitch to talk to their batting partner. Sometimes, this activity is as a result of a habit that a batsman has. While some other times, the two players pretend to tap on the pitch in order to walk up to each other to communicate.
There are several reasons why cricketers tap their bat on the pitch while batting (as mentioned in this post). Sometimes, there may be more than one reason. But, I hope this post has helped you understand some of the most common reasons. Next time you notice a batsman tapping their bat on the pitch, think about the aforementioned reasons and do let us know if it matched with yours!
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