The sweep is a shot used by many batsman against spin bowlers. It is a shot that is usually played down the leg side, ideally deep into fine square. Many players choose to use a sweep shot in response to a weaker delivery by the bowler, that perhaps languishes slightly down leg side.
A great sweeper of the ball was Brian Lara, who used the shot to devastating effect in many a Test match against England, including his world record breaking 375 against England in 1994.
It is also possible to reverse sweep a ball which requires swinging the bat from the leg towards the offside. Mushtaq Mohammed, a prominent Pakistani batsman in the 1970s pioneered the use of this curious and unorthodox shot.
It is probable that you will play a sweep shot when the ball is clearly headed down leg side. This will require you to lead in line of the ball with head and shoulder. Place your lead foot in line with the incoming ball and bend the front leg until in a kneeling down position, with the knee of your back leg on the turf.
The head should now be naturally positioned above the knee of the lead leg. Swing the bat from high downwards across your body to connect with the ball in front the pad. When you strike the ball the arms need to be fully outstretched and with the shoulders facing directly back down the pitch.
On the follow through, most batsman roll the wrists to keep the ball from flying too high. Ideally, a well executed sweep will be hit low and deep down leg, preferably avoiding all fielders.
Timing is crucial to avoid the ball spinning off the edge of the bat into the hands of the fielders in slip or the wicket keeper. If you are faced with a very tricky spin bowler, be certain you know which way the ball will spin before setting up to strike a sweep shot.
In reverse sweep shots, the same technique and position is assumed but in reverse – swinging the bat from leg to offside. If well executed, this shot can prove devastating.