“The Bat is not a toy but it is a weapon, and the ball is the bullet- they work together, and comes up with a deadly combination.” Cricket fans are all around and whenever it is time for cheering up for their country, no one can beat Indian fans. But not many are aware about the technicalities of the game, and there is much confusion when it comes to different techniques of bowling. Broadly, there are two types of bowling- Pace and Spin. But instead of discussing about both the types of bowling, let’s highlight and discuss only Pace bowling.
What is Pace Bowling?
It is also known as fast bowling and is one of the two main approaches to bowling, the other one is Spin. Fast bowlers, quicks or pace men are the titles or names given to the fast bowlers. Besides these names, they can also be called as seam bowler, a swing bowler or a ‘fast bowler who can swing it’. These bowlers basically rely on speed to get the batsmen out. So, the motive of the bowler is to use the speed of the ball as an advantage against the batsman and thus deceiving him, which results in batsman playing a poor shot or even getting out.
One cannot say that throwing a ball fast, makes one a fast bowler. Holding and throwing the ball in a proper manner is required to be a fast bowler. The fast bowlers hold the ball with the seam vertical, aligned down the pitch, and deliver it so that the ball rotates to keep the seam upright as it travels through the air. The speed of the ball ranges between 130-150 km/hr. There are other type fast bowlers and they are called medium pace bowlers because they use a fast bowling style but the bowl the ball more slowly. Medium pace bowling lies in the range of 110-130 km/hr.
The first thing required by fast bowlers is the Grip. Holding and having a grip is the basic thing. To achieve maximum speed, the bowler is required to hold the ball with the seam upright and to place the index and middle fingers close together at the top of the seam with the thumb gripping the ball at the bottom of the seam. Other thing required is Run-up. The fast bowler is required to rake longer run-up towards the wicket than a spinner for generating the momentum as well as rhythm required to bowl a fast delivery.
Let’s discuss the variety of techniques used by the bowlers in order to deceive the batsman. Various techniques are Swing, Seam, Cutter, Yorker, Knuckle-ball, Beamer, Bouncer etc.
A fast bowler can make the ball curve in flight by aligning the seam of the ball to point slightly towards the left or right and this is called Swing. Swing is assisted by the asymmetrical wear and polishing the ball. If the ball swings towards the rougher side, then the seam is upright. There are categories of Swing- out swinger, in swinger and reverse swing. If the ball swings away from a right-handed batsman that is towards the left from bowler’s view, it is an out swinger. If the ball swings towards a right-handed batsman, which is right in bowler’s view then it is an in swinger. Whereas reverse swing is the swing in which a bowler gets the old ball towards the shiny side of the old ball rather than conventional swing a bowler gets. Sometimes, it is not only the bowler on whom the everything depends but the type of ball, weather conditions also turns out to be reasons as when the ball is new, it tends to swing more, and humidity also assist swing. Less the speed of the ball, more the swing is basic mantra of this type of fast bowling.
The seam of the ball is raised a bit and it can cause the ball to deviate sideways when it bounces on the pitch. The bowler must deliver the ball with the seam held vertically and also rotating about a horizontal axis to keep the seam vertical. If landed on seam, the result is somewhat unpredictable as it can bounce left or even right. There is not much deviation due to seam but for getting a dangerous combination, a bowler can try seam along with swing.
Another technique that the bowlers use is of Cutter. Basically, a fast bowler can spin the ball sideways in his hand as he releases it, by dragging down his fingers down either the left or to the right side. There is leg cutter and off cutter- if the ball cuts away from a right-handed batsman that is from the leg side then it is leg cutter and if the ball cuts towards a right-handed batsman that is from off side, it is called off cutter.
A bouncer is a short-pitched delivery from the bowler which causes the ball to rise up near the batsman’s head. As the ball bounces off the pitch close to the bowler, it allows more time for the bounce to climb high before it reaches the batsman. This type of fast bowling is to push the batsman onto his back foot. Only one bouncer ball per over is allowed in T20Is and ODIs, whereas two per over in test matches.
It is a delivery in which the ball lands on the pitch at the popping crease which makes it difficult for the batsman to defend it with normal batting stance, and often the ball leaves the stumps rattled.
It is a kind off ball which is not thrown with the knuckles but by using fingernails and thus this removes spin from the ball. And some bowlers hold the ball using their fingernail’s tip.
It is a deceiving bowl as it makes the batsman play too early and thus he ends up missing the ball completely or ends up getting out with an easy catch.
It is considered as an illegal as it is dangerous. It passes without bouncing, and directly passes above the batsman’s waist height. It often results in no ball or even free hit.
TECHNIQUE OF FAST BOWLING:
Description: The batter's view of various fast bowling techniques (Source: Research Gate)
Mentioning every fast bowler is a difficult task but some of the best fast bowlers of India is Irfan Pathan, Mohammed Shami, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, Ishant Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Umesh Yadav, and of course Jasprit Bumrah!
Check out here the list of Top 10 best fast bowlers of all time