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How to bat against fast bowling
Alec Stewart
By Alec Stewart
Former England batsman

The secret to facing fast bowling is to remember you're in charge.

You have to show the bowler you're not intimidated by their speed.

Alec James Stewart factfile
Alec Stewart in action for England
Date of birth: 8 April 1963
Birthplace: Merton, Surrey
Teams: Surrey and England
Batting style: Right handed
Tests: 133
Test runs: 8463
Test debut: England v West Indies at Kingston, February 1990
Last Test: England v South Africa at The Oval, 2003
Highest Test score: 190 v Pakistan at Edgbaston, June 1992
Test centuries: 15

You also need plenty of mental strength, things like concentration are so important. But most of all you have to back your own ability.

You have to be able to give off an air of confidence and that comes from getting as much practice as you can beforehand.

You need good technique when you're facing a fast bowler.

Practising in the nets will help you develop that technique.

The most important things to remember are to keep your head still and watch the ball all the way.

Don't be frightened of the ball, you won't get hit if you do these two things, so don't be afraid.

You'll recognise the line and length of the delivery and from there you decide which shot you're going to play.

Your reactions will take care of the rest.

You're not always going to get it right, but through experience you'll learn which deliveries to play and which to leave alone.

BELIEVE IN YOUR ABILITIES

You can't be scared of facing fast bowling - in fact I used to prefer facing the quicks.

It's a real challenge, you have to make sure you're up for it.

But it doesn't matter if the bowler's hurling the ball down at 98mph or spinning the ball, you've got to make sure you're not going to give your wicket away.

Shoaib Akhtar in action at the ICC Super Series in Melbourne
Keep your confidence when Shoaib's charging in

I'm big on making sure my own form is up to scratch. Every player, no matter how good they are, always has an off day.

But there will always a big score around the corner, you know you can do it.

You just have to believe in yourself and remember all the runs you've scored in the past.

People often ask me who's the fastest bowler I've ever faced, but it's difficult to say.

Bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar, Brett Lee, Wasim Akram have all bowled very fast in spells to me.

But to tell you honestly, it's pretty much all the same when the speed gets above 90mph!


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