Clues from the Blues: Bowling at the Death

Sport University Sport

6946074097_888e4e496b_o1. The Slower Ball

The slower ball is used to upset the rhythm of the batsman. There are a number of ways to bowl it but the key is to bowl it without changing your action and so leave the batsman with too little time to change his shot selection. There are a number of different deliveries that are proven to work, ranging from rolling your fingers down the side of the ball upon release to widening the grip of your fingers on the ball. The key is to practice as many variations as possible in the nets when the stakes are low, and see which deliveries are most effective. This will vary from bowler to bowler, depending upon their action.

2. The Bouncer

If you bowl a good pace on decent wickets, you can use the shorter ball to restrict the batsman’s scoring area, and with a well set field you will keep the runs down. There are two ways to use the short ball, as a stock ball or as a shock ball. Batsmen who aren’t comfortable playing the ball when it’s aimed at their ribs will struggle to score against the ball being accurately bowled at chest height. This can be used in variation with a yorker or slower ball to keep the batsmen, guessing as to what ball is going to be bowled. On the other hand, the bouncer can be used equally well as a shock ball, a surprise delivery that stops the batsman premeditating a front foot slog. With both these tactics, it is important to set a good field. Variations are many, but a deep midwicket, deep square leg and fine leg cut off the boundaries and hopefully take the catches.

3. The Yorker

The yorker, as we know, is a fast ball pitching at the toes of the batsman, usually around the popping crease. This is the classic ball for death bowling: full and straight. This ball is effective as it is hard to score off, and is a wicket taking ball if the batsman misses. However, it is a hard delivery to bowl as the margin for error is small, variation in length either way can turn the bowl into a full toss or a half volley; both deliveries will need to be fetched from the boundary. Like the bouncer, field setting is key and if the yorker is a ball you can bowl well, setting your fielders at long on and long off will restrict boundaries. With all death bowling, the key is not to be average at all the types of bowling, but to become really good at one or two. There is no substitute for practice, but have the conviction to bowl the trickier delivery if you feel it will reap reward.


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