Bowling technique is all about spin, speed and accuracy
Rock solid bowling technique will ensure that bowlers do what they do best; take wickets. Whether a player is a fast bowler or spin bowler, possessing the correct bowling technique will ensure that the concession of runs is kept to a minimum and batsmen earn every single run.
Bowling falls into two categories; pace bowlers and spin bowlers. The technique needed to execute each method places very different requirements on players and involves specific skills. It is generally the case that every team will have a mix of specialist pace bowlers and spin bowlers to add variety to the attack.
Fast bowling, also known as seam bowling, is normally used at the start of matches when the cricket ball is new. This allows players to get more bounce and pace into their deliveries. Spin bowling can be used to mix up the attack and forces batsmen to alter their batting stroke as the ball is delivered at differing speeds and is liable to bounce at various angles. Spin is very often the best technique to use if the pitch is becoming cut up and cracks appear as the ball will bounce on rough areas and prevent the batsman getting a clean strike on the ball, and can often lead to lbw (leg before wicket) dismissals. Each player will have a slightly different approach to bowling and working on improving technique is a vital part of cricket training.
Fast bowling technique will involve a number of different deliveries. These are:
- Reverse swing
This delivery will move the ball from the batsman’s off-side to the leg-side. It will be a slower delivery because the player has to put a degree of spin on it. The best place to land an off-cutter is just outside the batsman’s off-stump.
To execute this delivery, the index finger is placed along the vertical seam with the middle finger about two centimetres away. The ball rests against the third finger with the thumb underneath the ball. When releasing the ball the index finger and middle finger roll along the side of the seam which allows the thumb to pass over the top of the ball thus generating spin.
This technique will move the ball in the opposite direction to an off-cutter. The ball bounces on the leg-side before moving to the off-side.
The fingers are in a similar position to the off-cutter except that the thumb is brought around under the ball to create opposite spin.
An in-swinging ball will move in the air from the off-side of a right-handed batsman to the leg-side. Factors such as weather and pitch condition can affect the amount of swing generated but the most important thing to remember is the grip. Players should also be constantly shining the ball on one side.
The index and middle fingers should grip the seam in a vertical position with the thumb on the seam underneath. The seam should be angled towards the leg-side on release.
This delivery will swing from the off-stump of a right handed batsman in the direction of the slip fielders. The later the ball swings the better as this gives the bowler a better chance of getting the batsman caught out behind the wicket.
The fingers are in a similar position to the in-swinger. The difference is the shiny side of the ball is to the right of the seam.
Reverse swing is a relatively new phenomenon in cricket and the technique involved is still not fully understood. The basic principle of reverse swing is that the ball swings in the opposite direction to how it should i.e. an out-swinging delivery will in-swing and vice versa. It does not tend to happen until the ball is getting old.
The rough side of the ball will begin to act like the shiny side as it travels through the air thus altering its flight trajectory. It is a difficult skill to get right.
The main types of spin bowling are:
- Left-arm spin
This is the most commonly used type of spin delivery. The ball is bowled at the off-side of a right-handed batsman before turning to the leg-side. The spin is generated by the index and middle fingers. The more revolutions on the ball the better chance of generating more spin once the ball bounces.
To execute the delivery, the joints of the index and middle fingers are spread across the seam with the ball resting against the third finger. Turning the wrist and index finger in a clockwise direction will generate spin. Use both fingers to “rip” the ball on release.
Leg-spin turns the ball in the opposite direction to an off-spinner. It is sometimes referred to as wrist-spin because the bowler uses the wrist to generate the revolutions on the ball.
The top joints of the index and middle fingers are across the seam, with the ball resting between a bent third finger and the thumb. When releasing the ball the third finger will generate most of the anti-clockwise spin. Flick the wrist so that the palm finishes facing downwards.
Left-arm spin uses the same bowling technique as a right-arm off-spin. The difference is the bowler will normally come around the wicket when pitching to a right handed batsman and the ball will spin in the opposite direction to an off-break delivery.