Modern-day cricket is nicknamed as a ‘batsman’s game’ because of the huge runs scored and chased across formats. T20 has introduced fast-paced games where batsmen are less patient to wait for the right ball, instead of being innovative to score all around the ground. When batting style and cricketing shots have evolved on a large scale, bowlers remain traditional sharpening existing skills to keep up with the modern game. It isn’t like bowlers don’t innovate but the foundation of fast and spin bowling has always been the same. This is a guide on how to bowl in cricket; the types of bowling styles, variations, and tricks.
How to bowl fast in cricket
There are two standard types of bowling – fast and spin bowling accompanied by some variations in terms of pace. Fast bowling consists of a long run-up to the bowling crease followed by loading which involves a jump and the delivery. Professional fast bowlers take a run-up distance of 22m. It’s safe to load and jump at least a metre before the crease so that you wouldn’t cross it and bowl a no-ball. The strengths of a fast bowler are fast bowling, swing, and bounce.
Fast Bowling tips
- Your Run up forms your rhythm
- Focus on perfecting your non-bowling arm
- Ensure momentum through the crease
- Your wrist position is vital
- Focus on the target
How to bowl in cricket: Types of fast bowling in cricket
- Swing Bowling – Inswing & outswing
Swing bowling in cricket: A crucial part of fast-bowling is to swing the bowl, especially the new ball. The weather and wind are important factors but the trick is to maintain a smooth surface and release the ball with the seam facing the batsman, but slightly inclined to the direction in which you need it to move.
- How to bowl Inswinger in cricket: An inswinger is a swing bowling variation that starts from the offside of a batsman and swings to the legside through the air. To bowl an inswinger, first hold the seam straight with the thumb underneath it. Angle the seam slightly to the leg-side pointing the leg slip and make sure that the shiny surface is facing towards the offside.
- How to bowl Outswinger in cricket: It’s the right opposite of the inswinger; swings from legside to the offside of the batsman. The grip for an outswinger is to hold the seam vertically facing the first slip region and the shiny surface of the ball should face the legside of the pitch. The amount of swing that can be generated depends on the weather, condition of the ball, and bowling action.
Bouncer in cricket: The taller you are, the more will be the bounce you can generate as a bowler. Legends like Dennis Lillee and Shoaib Akhtar are known for their lethal bouncers. The bounce in a pitch is an influential factor. Pitches in subcontinent countries don’t have as much bounce as in countries like Australia, England, and New Zealand. In such pitches, bowlers try to skid the ball pitching it on a good length.
- How to bowl Bouncer in cricket: This is the maximum utilization of the bounce in the pitch. A well-directed bouncer will pitch in the short-length region and bounce off to a height between shoulders and head. You would need great strength and control to bowl and ideal bouncer. In limited-overs cricket, a bowler can bowl only one bouncer per over.
How to bowl Yorker in cricket: A yorker is the most perfect delivery to bowl in cricket by a fast bowler in order to restrict the batsman. It means to bowl right at the blockhole, i.e between both the batsman’s leg. It’s one of the toughest balls to play for any batsman as they won’t get enough room to play a shot or the elevation to hit the ball far unless they anticipate it and play innovative shots like scoop or ramp.
How to bowl Slow ball: The slow ball is a deception. When the batsman is expecting a stock fast delivery, an unexpected slow ball destroys the timing of the shot played by the batsman. There are normally three ways to bowl a slow ball:
- A cutter – During the release of the ball, the bowler twists his wrist to turn the ball into a right-handed batsman’s direction which will take away the pace of the delivery and slightly deviates it to the respective direction.
- How to bowl leg cutter: James Faulkner and Jofra Archer are masters of this particular delivery. It’s delivered using the point and middle finger. When the ball is released, you use your middle and point fingers to spin it from the leg-side to the off-side of a right-handed batsman. It takes away the pace and bounce of the ball but a great amount of practice is required to bowl a leg cutter.
- Back of the hand – When the bowler turns his wrist vertically and releases the ball over the top of his hand, the batsman may get deceived as at first sight, the delivery seems like in normal speed.
- How to bowl a Knuckleball – This is the newest version of a slow ball. As the name suggests, the ball is delivered using the knuckles. As the batsman cannot see the fingers of the bowler, it’s hard to decode the speed of the ball until it reaches him/her.
How to bowl in cricket: How to bowl a Spin
A brilliant spinner is always a menace for the batsmen. The art of spin bowling involves less physical effort but is a great piece of mind game. Spin bowlers have far more variations than a fast bowler. Let’s explore the mastery of spin bowling.
Spin bowling tips
- Grip the ball accurately
- Know the pitch conditions
- Make use of fingers
- Use varitions
- Drift the ball
How to bowl in cricket: Types of spin bowling
- Leg spin
- Carrom ball
Off spinners or off-break bowlers normally spin the ball from the offside to the leg side of a right-handed batsman. A left-arm off-spinner is called a left-arm orthodox bowler. Both grip the ball in a similar way and use their fingers to spin it. The variations of an off-spinner are:
How to bowl off spin: The stock delivery which turns from off-side to the leg-side of a right-hand batsman and vice versa.
Off Spin Grip
How to bowl Doosra: Doosra is the most lethal weapon in their arsenal. A doosra involves the same grip but an extra twist of the wrist makes the ball turn contrary to the standard off-spin, i.e., from the leg side to the offside of the right-handed batsman.
Doosra Bowling Grip
How to bowl Carrom ball: The carrom ball is a very recent variation. It may spin like an arm ball, off-spin delivery or doosra depending on the angle of the grip which makes it harder for the batsman to pick from their hands. Just before the release, the bowler snaps the fingers and delivers using the middle and ring finger to bamboozle the batsman.
Carrom Ball Grip
How to bowl the arm ball: One of the easiest variations of an off-spinner is the arm ball. It is the type of delivery that floats like it will spin but goes straight instead.
Variations of leg-spin
A leg spinner turns the ball from the leg-side to off side of a right-handed batsman and vice versa. A left-handed leg spinner is known as a chinaman. Leg-spin bowling is one of the hardest bowling styles but once you master it, you become the go-to bowler for any team. Rather than the fingers, this breed of bowlers uses their wrists more effectively. These are the common left-spin variations:
How to bowl leg spin: It is the basic delivery that spins from the leg-side to off side of a right-handed batsman.
How to bowl a top spin: Equivalent to the arm-ball in off-spin, a top spinner looks like a standard leg-break, but refrain to deviate and goes straight to the batsman.
How to bowl googly: The googly is the most dangerous delivery from a leg-spinner. It can be delivered if you twist your wrist a little more so that the back of your palm faces the square region of the ground.
Googly Ball Grip
How to bowl flipper: When the ball pitches and skids low through the pitch, it’s called a flipper. There is no typical grip or bowling style to bowl a flipper but every bowler invents their own style of bowling it. It’s a great ball to use on deadly turning tracks.
Flipper Ball Grip
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