5 Tips to for a Fast Bowler:
In the previous post, I wrote about the Classification of Fast Bowling. In this post, I am going to write about the basic techniques of fast bowling. These techniques are the best buddies for a fast bowler. All the bowlers know it very well. The better the basics, the better a bowler can bowl. Cricket Bowling.
1. Cricket Bowling: Grip.
This is the first thing a fast bowler needs to do. To bowl the ball with control, he has to grip it correctly. The basic fast bowling grip is to hold the ball with the seam upright. It helps to achieve the maximum speed. The grip needs to place the index and middle fingers close together at the top of the seam. The thumb would grip the ball at the bottom of the seam. The image to the right shows the correct grip.
The first two fingers and the thumb should hold the ball forward of the rest of the hand. The other two fingers should be tucked into the palm. The ball is held quite loosely so that it can leave the hand easily. Different grips will deliver ball with different variations. You can see swing and seam bowling below. The bowler usually holds their other hand over the hand gripping the ball. They do it until the latest possible moment. As a result, the batsman can’t see what type of grip he or she is employing. So the batsman can’t prepare accordingly. Cricket Bowling.
2. Cricket Bowling: Wrist Position.
In fast seam up bowling, the idea is to hit the pitch with the seam. The way to do that is to release the ball with a vertical seam. The wrist must be following right behind, facing the batsman. If the wrist does not follow the fingers, the seam will wobble and be less effective.
Swing bowling takes this principle and allows you to encourage late swing. You can achieve it through both wrist and angled seam position. If you want to bowl out-swing, you soften the wrist a little so the wrist almost leads the fingers. If you want to bowl in-swing you keep the wrist firmer. Perfect wrist position helps the bowler to swing and seam the bowl at will. Its best examples are Dale Steyn and James Anderson. Cricket Bowling.
3. Cricket Bowling: Run-up.
A fast bowler needs to take a longer run-up toward the wicket. Because they need to generate the momentum and rhythm required to bowl a fast delivery. Fast bowlers measure their preferred run up in strides and mark the distance from the wicket. It is important for the bowler to know exactly how long his or her run-up. They need to terminate it at the popping crease. If the bowler steps over this, he or she will have bowled a no ball. A no ball means the bowler will have to bowl again. It awards a penalty of one run to the batting team. It provides free hit to the batsman in ODIs & T20s. It also allows them to score additional runs with a reduced risk of dismissal. A balanced run-up helps a fast bowler to bowl with control and save energy. It also reduces the chances of injuries. Cricket Bowling.
4. Cricket Bowling: Action.
At the end of the run-up the bowler will bring his or her lead foot down on the pitch. They need to keep their knee as straight as possible to generate speed. This can be dangerous due to the pressure placed on the joint by the action. Knee injuries are common amongst fast bowlers. The pressure on the leading foot is very high. Some fast bowlers cut the front off their shoes to stop their toes from being injured. The toes are repeatedly pressed against the inside of the shoe.
The bowler will then bring their bowling arm up over their head. Then they release the ball at the height appropriate to where they want it to pitch. Again, the arm must be straight. This is a stipulation of the laws of cricket rather than an aid to speed. Bending the elbow and “chucking” the ball would make it too easy for the bowler to aim accurately at the batsman’s wicket and get them out.
Fast bowlers have an action which leaves them either side-on or chest-on at the end of the run up. A chest on bowler has chest and hips aligned towards the batsman at the instant of back foot contact. A side on bowler has chest and hips aligned at ninety degrees to the batsman at the instant of back foot contact.
A bowler’s action does not affect the speed at which they bowl. It can limit the style of balls that they can bowl. This is not a fixed rule but side on bowlers generally bowls out-swingers. Front on bowlers generally bowl in-swingers.
A variant on the fast bowler’s action is the sling. In this action, the bowler begins his delivery with his or her arm fully extended behind their back. The slinging action generates extra speed, but sacrifices control. Current internationals that employ a slinging action include Fidel Edwards, Shaun Tait, Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson. Cricket Bowling.
5. Cricket Bowling: Follow Through.
After the ball has been released, the bowler “follows through” at the end of his or her action. This involves moving to the side and taking a few more strides to slow down. Striding on to the pitch at the end of a delivery can damage the surface. It will create rough patches on the surface, which spin bowlers can exploit to get extra turn on the ball. It is illegal according to the laws of the game. Bowlers who run onto the pitch can be warned. After the third warning, the bowler gets disqualified to bowl for the inning. Follow through helps the bowler to lose the strain of bowling. Cricket Bowling.
There are some other important things apart from discipline. A fast bowler has to be physically fit throughout his cricket career. Above mentioned techniques and fitness helps a fast bowler to play more than a decade. Balance with these techniques reduces the amount of strain and pressure from the body. That is tough to do and needs a lot of discipline and luck.
I hope you like the post. If you have any doubts regarding the content, I would like to answer that. In my next post, I will write about the importance of line and length in fast bowling.