Good fast bowlers, also called pace bowlers, are the prize of a successful cricket team, but not all fast deliveries are the same: Strike bowling, swing bowling and seam bowling are all types of fast deliveries. Depending on the method used, a batsman might have anywhere from .05 to .09 of a second to decide how best to deal with the delivery, and some shots are better than others against fast bowlers.
Eyes on the Bowler
Watching both the ball and the bowler will give you an idea of what’s coming next, so that you can decide what to do. Assess the bowler for clues in his stance and his behavior first, then keep your eyes level with his hand. If he is holding the ball with the tips of his fingers, it is an indication that his delivery might be slower. A steady line of sight on the ball can increase your reaction time if indications are that it is going to be a fast delivery.
An on-drive shot can be effective against fast bowlers if they err and over-pitch, causing the ball to bounce too close to the batsman. Hit it mid-on or to the left. A hard square cut shot works well with enough room off-stump, or the area in front of the wicket farthest from your legs. The best and easiest shot response to a fast bowler is over his head.
How you raise your bat in preparation for the delivery can be instrumental in besting a fast bowler. According to ImproveYourCricket, a low back lift increases the time you have to gauge the ball coming at you. The higher your bat, the more time it will take you to connect with the ball. This can allow the ball to get past you to your wicket. A straight bat, setting up with the face of your bat toward the batsman, reduces the area where the ball can get by you. A backfoot defense is a standard remedy against fast bowlers if you use a straight bat and keep your feet firmly planted.
A faster delivery does not mean a batsman must react sooner. If you jump the gun, you can still swing before the ball is to you. Take your time and follow the ball with your eyes as it reaches you.