Bowl on one side of the wicket

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by Kevin Keys

Bowl on one side of the wicket

This really means bowl on or outside off-stump. As most of your matches will be limited-over contests with little or no margin for error on wides outside leg stump, it makes sense not to bowl there. It is amazing how many junior cricket matches are won by the team that bowls the fewest wides.
Maintain pressure from both ends

Bowlers should work in tandem. It is important for bowlers and captains to understand this. A bowler may wearily slide onto a dressing room bench at the end of a day’s play without a wicket to his name, but immensely satisfied with his contribution. How is this? It is because of his consistency and tight-fisted bowling which has caused opposition batsmen to get out to the other bowlers through rash strokes or suicidal running between the wickets.

Look after the pitch in your follow-through

If you bowl close to the stumps, make sure you run off to the side of the pitch as soon as possible after you deliver the ball. The Laws of Cricket do not allow you to run straight down the pitch after delivery because of the damage to the batting surface which will occur from your spikes. Ask your coach to check your follow-through at net practice to make sure that you are complying with the relevant law.

The bowler and his captain

Out in the middle is not the time for lengthy discussions about tactics and field placings. These should have taken place before play. In the event of a disagreement on the field, a sensible captain should allow his bowler to have the final say.

The bowler and his wicket-keeper

Make a friend of your wicket-keeper. He is in the best position to advise you on your bowling, what is working well and what is not working so well.
The bowler and the umpire

The bowler will have to accept umpire’s decisions (opinions) far more so than batsmen or fielders. He will have far more opportunities to feel dissatisfied with decisions that don’t go his way. Remember that the umpire is the only one who is both stationary and solely concerned with judging the event that has just occurred. He is in the best place to make a correct decision as to whether the ball would have hit the stumps in an lbw appeal or whether it took the edge of the bat. As the bowler, you are moving and are not in a direct line with the stumps, so will see a different picture from that of the umpire. Accept the decision without dissent, or question, and move on.

Senseless appeals

It is not true to say that it doesn’t matter how many appeals you make because it is the umpire’s job to make a decision. Senseless appealing, where you know that there is no possibility of the batter being out, is against the spirit of cricket, is irritating to spectators, is time-wasting, and is likely to lead to unnecessary bad feeling between the two teams. Leave this out of your game.

When things don’t go your way

There will be plenty of occasions in your bowling career when things don’t go your way. You will have plenty of catches dropped off your bowling, misfields that result in runs, snicks, edges and mishits that just evade the fielder’s hands, slog shots off good deliveries that fly to the boundary. Wishing to show disappointment or even anger is a normal human reaction, but in the end does you or your team-mate no favours. Getting angry in such situations will almost certainly lead to you bowling poorly in the coming overs as the tension in your muscles and your thinking processes will almost certainly lead to a significant loss of rhythm.

Remember that we are all fallible human beings who are not perfect and who make mistakes. The fielder did not deliberately drop or misfield the ball and no one is more disappointed than he is. Do not let the emotion of the event have any effect on your bowling. Instead, remember that it can only take one delivery to turn things your way again. Grit your teeth and continue with your quest to out think the batter.