what is shuffling ?
coming across the line of the ball before it is bowled. When a batsman position himself by moving across his stumps before the release of the ball, than he is shuffling across the line of the ball, or moving across to be in line of the ball.
Why do batsmen shuffle ?
Confidence factor, to gain early confidence. Batsmen love to get the feel of the match situation when they come to bat. Therefore early in their innings most of them attempt to play every ball bowled, or will attempt to play those which are in their vicinity. Usually they are lured by half-volleys bowled around or outside off-stump. And if they are able to succeed in scoring runs of those balls, than they get hungry for more, and try to reach for every ball bowled to them, in turn creating a habit of shuffling across the line of stumps.
This skill of shuffling is not a trained or practiced one, it stems from habit acquired during a match, and during training period, only few batsmen train this skill. Its usually done against fast bowlers, and hardly you see a batsmen shuffling across to a spinner. As it would be very difficult for him to adjust in less time.
Some experts say, this habit is acquired from limited over matches, where scoring runs at a faster rate is the most important factor, however i disagree, because back in 70s/80s when limited over games were far and few, we would still see lot of batsmen shuffle across the line, and most of them were English batsmen.
What are its strength and weakness.
Strength : Batsmen gain their confidence, as they are able to score runs by reaching for balls that they would generally leave, and scoring zone becomes wider. It works for some time….
Weakness: When you shuffle you misjudge the line of the ball, leading to L B W or bowled, or at times under edging the ball. Yet the biggest drawback for batsmen who are shuffling is ‘blind zone’. They become restricted in scoring runs when they shuffle(either side of wicket) hence they maneuver their shots. Their vision of scoring area is totally altered, they require more effort to find gaps, and always wary of missing the line of the ball. A lot of players feel they are well balanced batsmen(one is Kevin Pietersen) but the fact is they have been shuffling for so long, that it has becomes a part of their batting, unknowing habit has filtered in. However some have mastered the art of shuffling, and hardly getting caught in line of the ball, viz Hashim Amla. Amla like KP has a wider stance, but he is more of back foot batsmen, who tends to use the box more efficiently than any other batsman have seen. Surprisingly he hardly becomes a L B W victim.
Here is a link to list of L B W victims in all formats.
Here is a video explaining the detail of shuffling. : http://youtu.be/3xvkUBlIres