Role of the eyes.
‘Keep your eyes on the ball, before and at the time of impact’, is the universal principle that governs all ball games. Your head remains steady till the impact and then and only then is it lifted to see where the ball is going. Watch a top-notch golfer playing and you will understand what I mean. He keeps his eyes on the spot where the ball was even after the impact and lifts his head to see where the ball has gone, much later. In other games like snooker, hockey, football, table tennis, lawn tennis etc., the principle remains the same.
In cricket, the field setting can easily distract a young batsman. He may lift his head before the impact of the bat with the ball to play it in the gaps. This is not right. All you have got to do is to remain focussed on the ball. You will get used to knowing exactly where the fielders are by glancing around the field before the delivery, but once you settle down to face the delivery, your primary job is to play the shot.
Young batsmen have the tendency to look at the gap – where they intend to hit the ball – even before the impact between the bat and the ball. Since the eyes are not on the ball, any late deviation or bounce after the ball pitches is not noticed by the batsman and thus very often an uppish shot results. Trying to hit the ball too hard may also cause the batsman to close his eyes or lift his head at the impact, thus causing the ball to be played in the air.
As you progress into better grades of cricket you will find that the quality of bowling goes on improving. Top class bowlers will not bowl the same type of delivery too often in an over, though from afar you do not notice much difference. Only the batsman at the crease knows what is happening in those last few microseconds. After pitching, the ball might jump or just squat, turn sharply or go straight through, deviate off the seam or cut sharply or at times may not come on to the bat as fast as the batsman had expected. In such a situation, taking your eyes off the ball before impact can be fatal, especially on a pitch that is playing tricks. So, inculcate the habit of keeping your eyes glued on the ball from the time the ball is released by the bowler to the time the bat meets the ball. After the shot is played, the eyes follow the ball to see if a run is possible. Also, if you have decided to leave a particular delivery, watch it till it hits the ‘keepers gloves. This way you will know how much the ball is deviating or bouncing after pitching.