Monthly Archives: May 2007

An under-used cricketing weapon

Any (Indian) kid in the street will tell you what length to bowl at the fag end of a one day innings. Full. Preferably, yorker length.

Yorkers, however, are not every bowler’s cup of tea. If you under pitch, you end up delivering a half volley which is easy meat for one and all. If you over pitch, it’s somewhat better. But with the bats becoming more powerful than ever, especially meaty at the bottom, low full tosses can also travel the distance (as shown by the likes of Abdul Razzak, M S Dhoni and Mark Boucher).

So you can’t rely solely on your length to restrain the batsman. Then, how about using an unfamiliar angle to accompany the fullish length? Very rarely in cricket, have we seen a right hand (fast) bowler bowling round the wicket to a right hand batsman. The predominant reason, I believe, is the fact that the bowl will invariably pitch outside the leg stump, resulting in virtually no chance of an lbw. But between overs 40 to 50, the emphasis is usually on saving runs, more than picking wickets and this tactic can turn out to be masterful in that.

The reason I say the above is that many sloggers like Razzak, Dhoni and Boucher favour the on side (esp. midwicket) for hitting their big shots so you play into their hands when you angle the ball into them. By coming around the wicket, the right arm bowler can bow full, a bit wide of the off stump and create a difficult angle for the on-side hitters (with the odd bouncer thrown in).

Having said what I have, this method is no panacea. Against players like Kallis, Michel Clarke and Jayewardene who hit inside out superbly, you may be better off over the wicket, spearing into their legs.