So you want to be a fast bowler

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by Kevin Keys

So you want to be a fast bowler

Nearly every young cricketer dreams at some stage of being a really fast bowler, hurling the ball down at the batter at blistering pace, watching him ducking and diving to avoid his fearsome bouncers, watching the stumps cartwheel out of the ground or the umpire’s finger heading skyward after he has trapped the batter in front with a lethal yorker.

Unfortunately, the ability to bowl really fast is available to only a few who are blessed with the necessary physical attributes of suppleness and flexibility, a fast arm action, a strong back and the ability to develop considerable power through the crease. For the majority of young cricketers speed potential is limited and they need to concentrate on the art of swing, cut, seam or spin to make up for a lack of real pace.

So you want to be a wrist-spinner

This is an ambition to be encouraged as quality wrist-spinners are a rare breed today. There will be many occasions when you will face discouragement and frustration and will be tempted to give up your dream and switch to finger-spin or pace bowling. Try to resist this temptation and stick with it. You are attempting to master the most difficult of bowling arts and the future rewards are worth the short term pain.

Your job will be to take wickets, rather than to restrict runs. You must be aggressive in your approach and look to attack the batter. You will need a supportive coach and a captain who has faith in you is prepared to use you as a wicket-taker at the possible risk of some expensive overs.

Learn how to bowl straight

A good basic action will enable you to bowl straight. With minor variations it applies to all types of bowling – both fast and slow. Ensure that your bowling action is smooth, safe and efficient. The best way for this to be done is to have your bowling action analysed through video. Modern video cameras are a brilliant coaching tool in cricket, especially in the coaching of bowling. Slow motion and frame-by-frame analysis will enable an experienced coach to identify faults or aspects of your bowling action that need attention.

Learn to run up straight, go through the crease straight, and follow through straight. If you consistently do this, and you have an efficient bowling action, the ball is likely to go straight.

Remember, bowling straight means bowling at the stumps. Eight out of every ten deliveries should be directed at those three sticks. If you think about it, two of the common methods of dismissal require that you bowl straight – bowled and lbw. If you are not consistently bowling straight you are significantly reducing your chances of taking wickets.