Hand gestures made to the umpire before taking guard

When batters come to the crease, they have to ensure that they are appropriately covering the stumps while taking a guard that is suitable to their style of play.

There are four ways in which a batter can take guard. One is by marking the area with the bails. This was routinely done by West Indies player Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Another method of marking this area is by rubbing that area of the popping crease with the shoes. Batters can also mark their guard by placing the bat in front of the stump against which they want to take their guard and asking the umpire if it needs any adjustment. The fourth method is discussed below.

As batters get ready to take guard, they indicate something with their fingers to the umpire. These indications are numbers. When the batter indicates one, it means that they want to take their guard in line with the leg stump. When the batter indicates two, it means they want to take their guard in line with the off stump. The umpire or the batter at the non-striker’s end assist the batter on strike and guide them in their guard.

Batters have to be careful while taking a leg stump guard as it can have an influence on the decision of a wide ball. Batters stand outside the leg stump to prompt the bowler to bowl on the leg-side to force a wide. They then move towards the off-stump and let the ball pass behind them thinking that it would be called a wide. However, since their initial guard was outside the leg stump, the umpire will rule in favour of the bowler.

Taking guard is an important aspect for batters to ensure their position which gives them the freedom and liberty to hit the shots they prefer.

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