The hook is one of the most spectacular and also one of the most dangerous shots in cricket. It is a response to a short, high ball which involves the batsman striking the ball close to its apex, on a level somewhere between his head and his chest.
The batsman is at risk of being struck in the head or body by the fast-flying ball is he misses it at this close range. Furthermore, because of the high point of impact, it is very difficult to roll your wrists over the ball. By consequence, the hook shot will generally mean the ball is in the air, although some of the best practitioners (such as Australia’s Ricky Ponting) are adept at keeping the ball down.
When attempting a hook, you need to watch the ball and make a quick judgement as to whether or not you will need to attempt such a high, powerful shot. As the ball approaches, step back in order to give yourself as much distance as possible, before leaning forwards into the shot, extending your arms to their full length.
It is important to move quickly, but you need to keep your body firm, well-balanced and steady, and keep your eye on the ball at all times. After the contact, your momentum will probably swing you round so that your body rotates to the far side, or you turn on your feet.
For a good example, look at Alvin Kallicharan’s playing the hook shot while batting for the West Indies in the 1975 World Cup.
You can practice the hook by trying to hit high, fast balls across your body. However, it is fairly dangerous and you should always wear protective headgear when attempting a hook shot.
The Hook Shot