Notice the short ball, step back, extend the arms, and boom!
Despite pull shot being the stroke that comes naturally to every cricketer, this horizontal bat stroke requires more courage than skill. When executed properly, the pull can create the most effective opportunities to score towards the leg side region.
It can also be said that playing the pull shot is one way of putting your life at risk because of the line and length involved in it.
Pulling the ball is a way of telling the bowler that you are ready for any attack. And also, it is considered as one of the bravest acts in cricket.
The trend of pulling the ball started when the cricket pitches began to provide extra bounce and nip for the cricket balls. Instead of dodging from the soaring bouncers, some brave batters came up with the plan of attacking the bounce of the ball through this pull shot.
As cricket got forward with evolution, the pull shot technique also got improved, and consequently, the pull shot gets molded into a deadly weapon in modern-day cricket.
Even though many batters can play the shot, there are only some batters in cricket who can play it more comfortably with ardent passion.
Among those rare batters, we have listed the top ten extremely talented pull shot players in cricket.
So let’s go through the unique approaches of the pull shot by the best in the business.
The Master Blaster in the 1980s started playing this shot when hitting across the line was considered taboo. When every other batsman were aghast by the steaming bouncers, this Antiguan batsman dispatched the bouncers over the fence with both brain and brawn.
Initially, his pull shot came up with the support of his front foot press. Later he improvised it by playing the stroke with the back foot. The possessor of a tall image and broad shoulders moves across the stumps to negotiate the bouncers aimed at him—furthermore, his hard way of pulling motivated other West Indian batsmen to play the stroke. Vivian Richards was a batter of dominance, and his eerie pull shot shows the glimpse of it.
When every other player has to rely on their back foot, Rohit is one player who uses his front foot to play the pull shot. The Mumbai born batsman stands tall and chances his arms to send the ball over the square leg or mid-wicket region. Since the quality of timing the ball is a natural gift for the MI skipper, Rohit’s pull shot has become the best watch to see.
Apart from these, he has great hand-eye coordination, which fetches him more time to listen to the ball’s length. Eventually, this modern way of pulling the ball has made him the deadly and expensive customer of short balls.
The cricket world has moved on to a different phase since the retirement of the former Australian skipper. But still, the sight of Punter’s pull shot gives us goosebumps and raises the question of its possibility. The Australian batter shuffles across to keep the ball down the leg, which provides him with the opportune angle to dispatch the ball over the rope in the square leg. As a matter of fact, he connects the ball so close to the body, although he extends his arm to connect the ball too early.
Right from his backlift till the bend of his back towards the off-stump, we can enjoy every ounce of seconds when he performs the magical pull. In fact, he used this shot as a statement of his attitude. Pull shot from Punter is one of the best sights in cricket.
Virat’s Australian Tours so far plays a major role in showcasing his pull shot skills. The initial back foot movement in his shuffle sets him ready to tackle the bouncers, followed by the rotation of his body as soon as he connects the ball. Also, his back foot plays the prominent role of balancing his whole body during the pull, while the front foot moves along with his rotating body.
As a result of his mastery in this shot, Virat has become a good predictor of bouncers, which has aided him to have this stroke among the top four shots he uses to score in Tests.
Here’s a tweet from ICC asking their followers to choose the best pull shot player:
It was the Windies batters in the late 1970s, who were the first to play the pull shots restlessly to the bouncers that aimed their helmets. The legendary Gordon Greenidge is one among those legends who showed us the courage of facing the bouncers. The Barbadian had a specific pull shot style while there was no helmet protection for the batsmen’s face.
During the process of pull shot, the West Indian batsman moves towards the off stumps and gingerly makes the horizontal swing of the bat. Speaking his footwork, he lifts the front foot knee upwards to his chest, which gave him the generous power to the bat swing, and his back foot does the job of balancing the lower body.
Timing the ball wasn’t given more importance; still, his weight transfer and hefty bat swing had set all the tones to send the ball to the square leg region.
Brian Lara’s shuffle is the key to his pull shot. The shuffle leads him to have a slightly open chest that puts him in a better position to throw the bat towards the ball. The unique factor about Lara is his backlift.
As his backlift makes the bat face the point fielder, the subsequent process of bat swing towards the leg side becomes so natural to him. Addedly, the high backlift pressures him to bring the bat quickly to the ball, which in turn provides copious power to the stroke.
As a result of his significant backlift and bat swing, Lara has made himself the hardest puller in cricket.
Sachin was the one who can bring the aesthetics out of every shot he plays. Especially while pulling, Sachin prefers to guide the ball more than hitting it hard. Even in pulling the ball, Sachin followed his mastery techniques.
Frankly, it doesn’t look easy when Sachin plays it; still, the timing he can produce within the fraction of seconds can astonish everyone.
The little master always used to do the brave act of moving offside for the short balls, which puts the ball right into his body line and guides the ball with precious timing. Even the sixes that came out of his pull shots were manufactured with sheer middling of the ball.
Stokes is a modern-day cricketer with the excellent combo of timing and bat swing. The English all-rounder empowers his bat swing to play the spectacular pull shot. The only job of his upper body is to bend backward to get the space to swing his bat. Interestingly the young and energetic Stokes opens his body with his front foot to swing his arms and gets the angle right to send the ball with force.
Addedly, Stokes’ height factor becomes an advantage, and it helps him in keeping his head over the ball while pulling. Undoubtedly, Stokesy is one of the bravest batters to pull who doesn’t get bothered by the pace of the ball.
This Australian leftie doesn’t get offended by the short balls bowled at his body. Warner is gifted with quick hands and great hand-eye coordination due to more early cricket in the fast and bouncy Australian tracks. Warner also acknowledges the short ball so quickly, which is why even the new ball bouncers give him more time to react with the pull shot.
Especially his knack of choosing the chest height length to pull makes him a good puller. The Australian opener has the natural power and timing, Warner’s pull shot has groomed to be the feast for the spectators.
The entertaining and aggressive Proteas batsman has a special dote towards the pull shot. The pull shot of Herschelle Gibbs adds more feather to his swagger image. This shot from the Proteas batsman is his one way of disdainful act towards the fast bowlers who charge in with pace.
Interestingly Gibbs possessed a different variety of pull shots. He could stand tall and pull it over the mid-on region, and at the same time, he can even roll his wrist to make the ball go towards the square leg region with stylish body rotation. Without any doubt, he is the most elegant and savage shot maker of pull all over the leg side regions.
What is more common among the batters in the above list is their dominating attitude. They always wanted to be on top of the bowlers while they hated getting defeated.
One must require a fighting character to execute this pull shot more effectively. These proper executors of the pull shots are match-winners of their respective teams.
Even though a single mistake while pulling would have made their lives in trouble, these champs have found comfort in making this stroke.
Since the bouncers and pull shots have become the new normal in this era of cricket, the way the new-gen batters are making this stroke makes cricket an otherworldly sport.
Thanks to the pull shot that gives more engaging factors to the game of cricket.