How to become a better bowler

In cricket, bowling is the action of propelling the ball toward the wicket defended by a batsman. Bowlers bowl deliveries in sets of six, called an Over. Once a bowler has bowled an over, a teammate will bowl an over from the other end of the pitch. The Laws of Cricket govern how a ball must be bowled. If a ball is bowled illegally, an umpire will rule it a No-Ball. If a ball is bowled too wide for the batsman to be able to play at it, an umpire will rule it a Wide.

Bowling Techniques

Fast bowling:

  • Seam
  • Swing

Fast bowling deliveries:

Spin Bowling:

Spin Bowler Deliveries:

 “I think you have got to win the game, so you go in with five (bowlers)” Dennis Lillee  

Mastering Basic Bowling Skills

Bowling actions

A ball is fairly delivered if:

  • Bowler’s arm has reached the level of the shoulder in the delivery swing, and
  • Bowler’s elbow joint is not straightened partially or completely from the point when bowler’s arm reaches shoulder level to the point when the ball has left the hand.

Change up your line of delivery to confuse the batsman:

Bowl different lines to keep the batsman guessing and bait them into making a mistake. Aim for a good length with each bowl. Try to deliver the ball so that it touches down about 6–8 metres (20–26 ft.) in front of the batsman. Bowling a “good length” (where the ball bounces near the middle of the pitch) makes it harder for the batsman to predict the height and angle of the ball by the time it reaches them.

First of all convince yourself that you are the best, because the rest of your life is going to go to proving this to others.”Wasim Akram

Learn to bowl swings:

Swing is an advanced delivery technique that involves getting the ball to curve in mid-air. Keep the ball polished smooth on one side of the seam between innings and leave it roughed up on the other side. The uneven airflow around the ball will cause it to change directions.

Practice bowling Yorkers:

A Yorker is a bowl that lands directly at or just in front of the batsman’s feet, a Yorker forces the batsman to adjust their footing, leading to either a hit on the wicket or a leg-before-wicket dismissal.

Bowling a bouncer:

The key to a good bouncer is definitely the height.  The aim is to get it over shoulder height to the batsman, so the batsman cannot play a controlled shot.

Improving Your Delivery

Take a grip that’s more effective for fast bowling:

Place your fore and middle fingers parallel to the vertical seam running down the center of the ball. Then, wrap your thumb around the bottom so that it rests directly on the seam. The ball should fit snugly in your hand, with no room for wiggle or slip.  Keep a firm grip on the ball, but don’t squeeze it too tightly. This can cause the muscles in your arm and shoulder to tense up, stunting your delivery.

To me, cricket is a simple game. Keep it simple and just go out and play.”Shane Warne

Newball bowling:

New ball bowling is reasonably simple, you want to be hitting a length consistently on off stump and just outside. You want to be bowling a length which gets all three key dismissals involved. Full enough to bowl the batter get the LBW into the game and draw the batter forward to initiate the edge.

“My strength has been the self-belief that has helped me perform at this level. My teammates and family have always been behind me, no matter what happens.” Anil Kumble

Use your wrist to generate momentum:

At the moment of release, snap your wrist and follow through with your entire arm until it comes to a stop just above waist height. Giving the ball a little push as it leaves your hand will allow you to channel your full power into the bowl, adding considerably to your overall speed.

Prioritize speed over precise placement:

Before you start obsessing too much about line and length, focus on getting maximal acceleration. Make each delivery as fast as you can without sacrificing control. High-speed accuracy will come naturally later on, but it’s hard to develop pace once you’ve become set in your ways.

Strengthening Your Mental Game

Study the batsman carefully:

Vary your deliveries and watch how the batsman responds. Alter your line, length, and speed every few throws and observe how the batsman instinctively reacts to different deliveries.  Quick experimentation and analysis will help you understand and exploit their weaknesses.

Stay focused:

Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the taunts or the opposing team’s fans. Your attention should be on the ball, the pitch, the batsman in play and nothing else. It’s crucial that you be able to keep your cool, no matter what turns the game takes.

“You don’t smile much… and I like that about you.”Curtly Ambrose

Build confidence in your skills:

Approach the bowling crease as though you can’t lose. That way, you’ll be able to concentrate entirely on the task at hand rather than worrying about what will happen if you fail.

“If batsmen want drives, they should buy a Peugeot….because they ain’t gonna get any off me.”Malcolm Marshall

Lastly and most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!

Don’t let the stress of a few intense innings take away from your love of the game. At the end of the day, you’re there to enjoy yourself and engage in a little friendly competition.

Article by Hasseb Paracha

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