Ashes Zone: Kevin Pietersen gives Sky Cricket batting masterclass
England's Kevin Pietersen gave Sky Cricket an in-depth batting masterclass in the Ashes Zone.
Last Updated: 05/02/14 12:04pm
England's most dangerous batsman gave Ian Ward an insight into his expansive repertoire of shots including his trademark 'Flamingo' and 'Switch Hit' and also explained his thought processes when it comes to tackling the world's best bowlers.
Click on the video above to watch the full session, which began with 33-year-old Pietersen - who has scored over 7,700 Test runs - explaining that when it comes to batting he leaves nothing to chance.
"I never ever go to bed thinking that I haven't done everything that I can because I don't want to lie on my pillow at night going 'why didn't you play that, why didn't you do this?' Pietersen told Wardy.
"I go through everything on practice days - so I'll drive, I'll pull, I'll play balls through midwicket, sweep, reverse sweep, I'll hit over the top - so that every single time that I go to bed I've ticked every single box."
Here's the breakdown...
KP on attacking spin
"I'm very much a pre-meditated batter but also you've got to have a 'Plan B'; 'Plan A' is to dink him over his head and hit it for four or six, 'Plan B' is you defend if it's not there. There's no point in coming down to a ball and just trying to whack him as far as you can and missing it. You've basically got to make sure that the length is perfect for the shot. I'm a great believer when batting that it's all about your head position; I've got no interest in feet! Your head is the heaviest part of your body, so I know I'm batting well when my head is to the ball. Whenever I speak to youngsters I say 'try to kiss the ball' because when your head goes to the ball you are going to strike it better because your eyes look after you."
KP on the Flamingo Shot
"Everybody thinks that it's a cross-batted shot towards the on-side whereas actually you are playing it with a straight bat. I only play it well when my bat is coming through in straight lines. As soon as I start pre-determining a 'Flamingo' - as they call it - my bat comes from gully in an 'S' shape, which basically kills the shot. I played it against Shaun Pollock, Glenn McGrath and a lot of the great bowlers who basically build a trench with their deliveries on a length. If they are not bowling 90mph I back myself to get down to it and play the length and then they are thinking 'is he coming, isn't he coming?'"
KP on the Pull Shot
"The head position is key. The best way to play the short ball is to go at the ball; it's like a boxer boxing on the front foot. When I was growing up I always heard Jonty Rhodes saying 'it's easier to go back then go forward after you've been back'. Mike Hussey was outstanding at this; his head position was absolutely beautiful. He used to drive magnificently through the off-side but anything short he'd [pounce back] and crunch you through midwicket. It's an instinctive shot; you can't say at the back of a bowler's run 'right I'm going to do it'."
KP on the Switch Hit
"The key to playing the shot is working out why you play it; the reason I play the shot is to manipulate fields. I particularly like to reverse sweep leg-spin bowlers who come across into the rough because it takes out lbw and generally if you've defeated a leg-spinner from over the wicket, he'll then come across to dry you up and I don't want a leg-spinner or a left-arm spinner drying me up by making me pad it out. As a kid growing up I used to play a lot of courtyard cricket with my brothers and some days we used to only bat left-handed just to make it interesting."
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