Mar 27 2014
by Kevin Keys
Outswing and Inswing?
Be careful here. You may be better off perfecting your natural ball, as experimenting with inswingers if you are a natural out swinger may negatively affect your action, leading to you losing the ability to bowl outswing. Using the off-cutter as your main variation is sensible because it uses an action which is much closer to outswing. Leave learning inswing until later years when your action is set and unlikely to be upset through experimentation.
As a bowler you should attack the batter by studying his strengths and weaknesses and then entice him into a false stroke. Feed him deliveries that he plays well to make him over-confident or complacent, then bowl him a delivery that appears the same but is in fact slightly different. Perhaps it is slightly slower or quicker, fuller in length or shorter, a bit wider, or given a bit more air. You will often find the batter walking back to the pavilion with a puzzled look on his face. However, you will know the reason for his puzzlement.
Be a hostile bowler
This does not mean that you are constantly trying to hit or hurt the batter. It means that you regard the batter at the other end as your enemy. The warfare between the two of you is psychological. You must believe in gaining ultimate victory over the batter. However, never let your hostility extend off the pitch and don’t become a temperamental performer on it. Glaring at the batter, pulling a face, stamping your feet or throwing up your hands at your dreadful fate when the batter has played at and edged the ball through the slips, is childish and will quickly get you and your team disliked.
Be aware that even if the batter looks comfortable, he has been forced to solve one problem after another. Every ball you bowl to him is another problem to be solved and, therefore, a potential wicket-taker. You need to persist, confident that in the end it will be the batter who will falter, not you the bowler.
Use a bowling marker
In order to mark the starting point of your run-up, don’t do it by scraping a mark with your spikes, use a bowling marker. They can be purchased from your cricket equipment supplier and should be part of your team’s kit bag. If your match has official umpires appointed, they will supply the markers.
Look after the ball
You may be given the task of opening the bowling with the new ball. Keep the ball in as new condition for as long as possible. Polish the ball at every opportunity as the shiny new ball swings more than the dull and soft. Remember that every delivery that the batter leaves is a wasted effort. Make the batter play at every ball, so that you maximise the use of the shine on the ball and the hardness of the seam. The hard new ball will naturally bounce more than the softer older ball and the ability to generate uncomfortable bounce is one of your main weapons as a bowler.
Keep the seam of the ball dry and clean. If the outfield is damp, use a towel to keep water from getting in to the seam so that it does not swell, lose its shape and become like a piece of soap in the hand. Remove any clumps of dirt or grass from the ball, particularly from the seam.