10. Bowling

Google AdSense

A well placed field, synergised with good fielding greatly enhances the bowler's bite. The cardinal sin bowlers commit is the bowling no-balls and wides that offer free runs to the batsmen.

The bowlers always look to get the batsmen dismissed. Good, aggressive bowling to a batsman's weak areas often can lead to his dismissal. A good economy rate under three an over puts some pressure on the batsmen in ODI matches. A notable achievement for bowlers if they can get a five wicket haul – a fifer, in an innings. In tests, a ten-wicket haul in then match is considered an achievement.

Pace bowling

Accurate bowling marked by a good line and length makes it difficult to score off. Accuracy is the key, to quality bowling. Variation such as changing the pace of the ball, seam bowling, flippers etc. often flummoxes batsmen and could lead to their downfall.

Aggressive bowling for fast bowlers could also be short-pitched bowling to the batsmen's chest. Pace bowler may also pitch it up, by pitching the ball closer to the striker coupled with seam bowling, resulting in less time for the deviation to show; look at how breaks work. Ergo, there will be less time for a striker to make necessary adjustments. The ideal place to pitch the ball will be far enough the wicket to prevent the batsman from reacting, but short enough for the deviation to take the edge. Pitching it too short and the batsman will be able to react, pitch it too full and the width of the blade will cover any sideways movement.

[Graphic: Bowling length]
  • Bowling length

This image on the left shows the length that a bowler bowls after the ball pitches. Green bands (#5 & 8) indicate good deliveries. Red (#1) is poor. Purple (4 & 6) bands vary depending on the bowler's skill. The central green (5) band is a good length to bowl. The red band on top is a wide-ball. The purple and brown bands are short-pitched deliveries, and the brown (2) are the bouncers. The green band (8) at the bottom is the yorker. The blue (7) are the full-pitched deliveries, which are easier to drive.

[Graphic: Bowling line]
  • Bowling line
The figure on the right depicts the lines that bowlers bowl. The red band (#1) is a wide ball in test cricket. The pink bands (1 & 2) are wides in an ODI match. The yellow (3) bar is a poor delivery, liable to be hit for runs. Purple (4) is depends on the type of bowler, as some bowlers are exceptionally good at that line, and green (5) is the corridor of uncertainty, the best line to bowl for most bowlers. #2 on the right is negative bowling in test cricket.
A composite image below, of the above two, may be made to find out the ideal line and length that a bowler should bowl. #5 is the best area to bowl, #4
[Graphic: Composite image of line and length]
  • Composite image of line and length
varying and #2 a poor line.

During the final overs of an ODI match, pace bowlers try to bowl the ball in the block-hole, an effective delivery in such situations as it is extremely difficult to hit such deliveries for more than a single. Bouncers are an extremely effective mechanism to startle the striker in playing a false shot. Quality bowlers bend their backs more while bowling to get a 'true' bouncer, which is a full-pitched delivery instead of short-pitched, but having a sharp lift off the pitch surface. A shooter is the opposite of this, it skids instead of bouncing.

One of the most lethal deliveries of a swing bowler is the reverse swing in which the ball can begin to swing towards the polished side rather than the rough side. Reverse swing generally occurs when the ball is worn down considerably. Reverse swing tends to be stronger than normal swing, and to occur late in the ball's trajectory. This gives it a very different character to normal swing, and because batsmen experience it less often they generally find it much more difficult to defend against.

Spin bowling

Good spin bowling involves a high degree of accuracy. A wayward delivery would be easily hit for many runs due to the lack of pace in the delivery. Spinners always bowl after the fast bowlers complete their spell of a couple of overs, as they like the softer ball. Quality spinners have a great loop, turn and bounce making their deliveries almost unplayable. If spinners get some drift too, they become all the more lethal. Spinners almost never bowl in the death overs – the last ten overs in an ODI as they can be smacked easily for boundaries.

For spin bowlers, the good length deliveries are at a much lower height than pace bowlers or else it is easy to hit them for runs.

Overs of an ODI Match

Breakdown of the match – over-wise
Overs What happens
0–15 The first few overs the fast bowlers rule. Here batsmen look to hit the ball for many runs, as there are fielding restrictions. A run fest in this period.
15–30 The 12th to the 30th overs, spinners and medium pacers bowl. Usually wickets fall during this period.
30–50 After the 30th over, batsmen are looking to accelerate the scoring. The experienced bowlers of the team bowl here. Being economical here is vital. But wicket taking really slows the pace of the run making. So usually the fast bowlers come on to finish their quota of 10 overs. Playing a spinner in the last 10 overs is risky, as it is relatively easier to hit a spinner for 4's and 6's.

Weather Conditions

Weather Conditions
Weather Result
Hot Ball is softer, more spin.
Cold Harder ball, bounces more, harder to field.
Windy Ball swings more.
Dew Bowling is difficult, as there is no grip.
Humid Softer ball, more swing.
Cloudy Ball swings more.
Elevation (above msl) Ball zips faster through the air.

Pitch conditions

Just before the match starts, the pitch is inspected and depending on its nature, the amount of runs in the first innings scored can be estimated, and whether the winning captain would prefer to bat, or bowl first.

Pitch Conditions
Pitch Type Result
Hard Bouncy and fast aides fast bowlers, good to bat.
Soft Slow, helps spinners and medium pacers.
Dusty Spinners delight
Flat & smooth Batsman's paradise, lots of runs scored.
Sprinkle of grass Ball bounces more, ideal for the fast bowlers.
Moist Very difficult to score runs (known as a sticky wicket)
Uneven Low scoring match, hard to score runs.
Cracked surface Aids spinners
Inclination Ball breaks (angle changes) after pitching

Field Conditions

Field Conditions
Field Type Result
More Grass Easier to field, ball travels slower and less 4's scored.
Less Grass Ball zips away to the boundary for 4.
Large outfield Less 6's & 4's, but more chances of the batsmen getting 2,3 & 4 runs by running between wickets.
Small Outfield More 4's & 6's, High scoring game.
Soft ground Less 4's, easier for fielders to dive around.
Moisture on ground Less 4's
Small gradient, with the pitch slightly elevated as compared to the boundary Ball races to the boundary.

Most viewers come to see ODI matches because of the large runs scored owing to the tailor-made pitches that make stroke-play easy. In test matches, pitches are balanced, sometimes favouring the bowlers in order to achieve a result. In such cases, when batting is difficult, batsmen have to play carefully and end up scoring slowly. This is known as grafting for runs.

Google AdSense