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Basic Bowling Advice
Written by Administrator   

Bowling.

At our level of cricket, batsmen tend to get themselves out. The eyes light up with dollar signs, the feet dance, the bat swirls and when the dust settles they've been stumped or popped up a catch to cover.

So the key to bowling at this level is to bowl straight. Make the batsman play the ball. Wide balls cost runs, extend the game, tire the bowlers and can easily be the difference between a win and a loss.

The key to bowling straight is getting the arm over straight. As batting is best done with a straight bat, so bowling is best done with a straight arm. A round-arm or slinging action requires a very precise release point for the ball to find its way to the stumps. With a straight, upright arm, direction is more assured and length is the deciding factor. But if it's straight then the batsman has to play it!

The importance of a run-up to the rhythm of a bowler cannot be overlooked. However long or short it is, find it. Take strides and then run until you feel you reach a natural crescendo that would coincide with your delivery of the ball. Repeat it until it feels natural. Measure it out and remember it. Or run it out in reverse, starting from the bowling crease. Mark it. Not worrying about your run-up or where your feet are going to land means you can concentrate solely on what you're going to do with the ball in your hand. Stuttering up to the crease means you arrive and suddenly think, "Oh! I'm here now. I suppose I'd better sling one down." Find your run-up.

Don't be afraid to consult the captain as to the field you want set. If you're bowling a load of pies on both sides of the wicket then the captain will (quite rightly) tell you to bowl six balls in the same place but if you have a trap you want to set then try it.

Again, at this level, batsmen usually only have a couple of shots, one of which involves the word heave. Suss out the batsman. If he doesn't like it short, get him on the back foot. If he's happy to lean back and glide, entice him forward. Vary your pace. You're the one with the ball. Make the batsman dance to your tune.

If you want to know how to swing, spin or otherwise make the ball sit up and talk, then I suggest you consult some serious coaching manuals. Or ask an expert!

 
The Concept of Line and Length

To the experienced and thoughtful bowler, after learning how to grip the ball the other essential skill is to understand the concept of line and length. This skill, whilst not difficult to understand or even implement, seems to be well beyond many of our bowlers. Well worry no more.

 
The Bowling Line

The bowling line is the phrase used to describe the path of the delivery in terms of proximity to the stumps when looking from either end. A good line would be one where the ball is around 2 to 4 inches outside the line of off stump. A ball bowled in this line will necessitate the batsman to play at shot at it in all cases as he cannot be sure that it will not move back to hit the stumps. (This imaginary area is the so called 'Corridor of Uncertainty')

Any delivery, irrespective of the length, that pitches on or outside middle/legstump direction should be fairly straightforward for a batsman to play a scoring shot.

 
The Bowling Length

Having got the line right, then the factor that determines the difficulty the batsman has in playing an attacking shot is the length. The 'length' is the phrase used to describe the point of contact between the ball and the pitch. If you pitch the ball too close to the batsman or too close to yourself then the batsman will have an easier shot to score runs.

The following figures show both good and bad lengths and the name given to the type of delivery.

 
Yorker

yorker

 

 

 

 

 

A ball which pitches on the ground exactly at the bottom of the bat. This type of delivery is very difficult to score runs off. It is a very difficult delivery to bowl as the smallest margin of error can turn it into a run scoring full-toss or half-volley.

 
Long Hop

longhop

 

 

 

 

 

A ball which gives the batsman ample time to see any spin/movement that may happen. It allows him to play a cross batted shot (which is a more powerful shot) and to control where he places the shot.

 
Full Toss
fulltoss

 

 

 

 

 

A ball which lands on the bat without first touching the ground. As the ball will not pitch it is unlikely to move/spin and the batsman has a free shot to place the ball wherever he wants.

 
Half Volley

halfvolley

 

 

 

 

 

A ball which is pitched in such a position that it will strike the bat immediately after it begins to bounce. A half-volley will allow the batsman to play a drive at the ball with little or no chance of hitting it in the air. This then becomes another type of delivery that favours scoring rather than wicket taking.

 
Good Length

goodlength

 

 

 

 

 

A ball which doesn't allow the batsman to play either forward or back with any certainty. This type of delivery (along with the yorker) is the delivery that should be strived for. It makes run scoring very difficult and risky.

 

 

 

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