Range-hitting has changed the dynamics of Powerplay. The batsmen who practise this form of brutal but scientific strokeplay start with an enormous advantage in Twenty20 cricket.
Why do some batsmen keep clearing the fence with astonishing regularity while others walk back having been caught in the deep? The answer lies in range-hitting.
Range-hitting is a specific drill where the batsman places cones at different corners of the ground – where the boundaries are – and then strikes the ball only with the intention of clearing them.
He could use a RobotArm, a bowling machine or even regulars. The batsman expands his range and enhances his power in a calculated fashion.
Range-hitting is done with the intention of going over the fielders stationed on the fence. And Range-hitting is not reckless striking of the ball. For instance your head has to be still and low when you make contact with the ball for it to travel the maximum distance.
And when your head is still and low, your eyes are invariably focused on the ball. So, your head is still, your eyes are on the ball and you hit the ball with a lovely, free swing of the willow. More often than not, the sphere lands in the stands!
You also have baseball techniques coming into Range-hitting. There is this transfer of weight from the thighs and hips as the ball is struck rather flat and with frightening force.
In fact, transfer of weight, as much as a still head, is the key in every aspect of Range-hitting.
Now, the bats are super strong, the batsmen are muscular having worked out in the gym. But then, it is Range-hitting that lends them the cutting edge.
In fact, after his incredible 32-ball 74 with nine sixes for Rajasthan Royals against CSK in the ongoing IPL, Sanju Samson said, “I think range-hitting is what the game demands in this generation. I had time to work out in these five months [lockdown period] and I think I have increased that ability.”
Range-hitting is the name of the new game.