Bowling in cricket isn’t only about getting the opponent batsman out, it’s a form of art itself. In recent times, we often see bowlers use a wide variation of bowling techniques which sometimes leave batsmen completely bamboozled. Suffice it to say, this makes modern cricket a lot more exciting and entertaining to watch.
But first, you need to learn how bowlers use unique bowling techniques to their advantage. Both pace and spin bowlers use separate bowling actions which can be further divided into different bowling categories. So, let’s talk about all these categories so that you can understand how bowlers use different types of bowling in Cricket.
Main Types & Sub-types of Bowling in Cricket
Let’s simplify things first. There are mainly two types of bowling in cricket: fast bowling and spin bowling. But that’s not all. Fast bowlers try to intimidate and outpace batsmen with a wide variety of fast bowling techniques such as bouncers, outswingers, inswingers, reverse swings, slower balls, yorkers, etc.
On the other hand, spinners also have their own bowling variations like leg spin, off spin, arm ball, doosra, and googly to deceive the batter. Besides spin, bowlers also use sliders, carrom balls, and arm balls to keep the opposition batsmen on their toes. So let’s learn all about these magical deliveries in detail.
Fast Bowling: The Art of Speed
Fast bowling, also known as pace bowling is one of the main pillars of bowling in cricket. Fast bowlers are often considered a lethal weapon for a team, especially with the new ball. They usually bowl at around 80 and 90 miles per hour and use their pace to unnerve the batsman. Apart from speed, pace bowling also has some unique varieties which make the bowlers even more unpredictable. Fast bowlers are getting more creative in modern cricket and using new variations to increase their effectiveness.
Top Fast Bowlers in Cricket History
In modern cricket, fast bowlers are using different types of deliveries which make them even more unpredictable and lethal. Some of the most frequently used fast bowling types in modern cricket can be listed as:
- Reverse Swing
- Leg and Off Cutter
- Slower Ball
- Seam Bowling
So let’s learn more about these deliveries and see how bowlers use them to their advantage:
Bouncer: A Lethal Weapon
We often see fast bowlers use bouncers to unsettle the opponent batsman. Bouncers are basically short-pitched deliveries that are used to intimidate the batsman by targeting their upper body. But it’s also true that bouncers can be quite dangerous and the rules regarding this delivery were changed several times to avoid injuries. According to the ICC rule book, bowlers are allowed to bowl only two bouncers per over in both ODI and T20 formats.
Top Bouncer Bowlers in Cricket History
Outswinger: A Perfect Technique
Outswingers are mostly seen in test crickets and there is a good reason behind it. In the longer versions of the game, batters play in a more defensive manner which makes the job of a bowler quite hard. That’s why fast bowlers tend to bowl on the good length so that the ball moves away from the batsman. This way, the batter can get an edge and get caught on the slips.
Top Outswinger Bowlers in Cricket History
|Sir Richard Hadlee||1973-1990||201||262||13018||589||15/123||22.1||2.77|
Inswinger: Right Into the Stumps
Inswinger is the best weapon to use for a left-arm pace bowler when bowling against a right-handed batsman and vice versa. It’s a full-length delivery but this time, the ball is angled back to the batsman. Although it’s a bit difficult to master, it can be quite a delivery when bowled perfectly. Inswingers are very difficult to play even for a seasoned batsman and when the angle is right, it’s a sure success for the bowler.
Top Inswinger Bowlers in Cricket History
Reverse Swing: A Handly Tool to Get Wickets
Both inswingers and outswingers are perfect when playing with a new ball. But it becomes difficult for a pace bowler to generate that similar swing when the ball gets older. So they start to utilize the shiny part of the ball and generate a swing from there. This is called reverse swing and it can be a valuable technique in the later part of the innings. The reverse swing is quite unpredictable and can be lethal against middle-order batsmen.
Top Reverse Swing Bowlers in Cricket History
Leg and Off Cutter: Way of Confusing the Batter
Fast bowlers use leg and off cutters when they have the ability to grip the ball like a spinner. So when they release the ball, it spins towards the leg side or the off side, making the life of a batsman very difficult. It won’t be like a traditional spin delivery, but combining pace with a little bit of spin is nothing short of a deadly weapon. Leg cutters and off cutters are very difficult to master and only a handful of players can truly use them against opponents.
Top Off and Leg Cutter Bowlers in Cricket History
Yorker: Absolutely Spot On!
Yorker is one of the most popular techniques in fast bowling and we all know why. This type of bowling is extremely important, especially during the death overs. A bowler tries to bowl a yorker by targeting the toes of the batsman without giving any room whatsoever. This type of delivery is very difficult to work with because it doesn’t allow the batsman any space to maneuver. But if the bowler gets it wrong, it might become a half volley or full toss and the batsman can hit it for a six.
Top Yorker Bowlers in Cricket History
Slower Ball: A Deceptive Delivery
At one time, fast bowlers relied heavily on pace but it also made them predictable. To counter this, pace bowlers came up with a new trick called the “slower ball”. The slower ball is just like a traditional fast delivery but with a much slower speed. We often see slower balls in T20 matches and batsmen just can’t time these balls due to their unpredictable speed. Sometimes bowlers use the back of their hands or roll their wrists to take the pace off the ball and deceive the batter in an instant.
Top Slow Ball Bowlers in Cricket History
Seam Bowling: Using Seam to Swing
In simple terms, seam bowling is using the seam or the thread of the ball to get some sort of ball movement. If the pitch offers a little bit of movement, bowlers focus on landing the ball on the seam to make it deviate off the surface. If the ball is pitched at the right angle, it will move in an unusual path and completely fool the batsman. With seam bowling, the batsman has little time to react and judge the trajectory of the ball.
Top Seam Bowlers in Cricket History
When the word ‘speed’ comes up in any discussion, the first thing that comes to our mind is something to do with a competition or racing. But cricket is one such place where speed does represent a competition of some type, yes, but not exactly. Here, the concerned person even slows down for the betterment…
Spin Bowling: The Magic of Spinning the Ball
Spin bowling is a beautiful form of art where bowlers try to deceive batsmen by changing the direction of the ball. Legendary cricketers such as Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan have revolutionized spin bowling with new varieties and techniques that can completely outclass opponents. Bowlers who master the art of spin bowling are called spinners. The main difference between fast bowling and spin bowling is that instead of speed, spinners use their fingers and wrists to turn the ball movement.
Top Spin Bowlers in Cricket History
Spin bowling is all about deceiving the batsman with unpredictable movements of the ball. To master this beautiful craft of deception, bowlers often use various types of spin deliveries. They can be categorized as:
- Leg Break and Off Break
- Top Spinner
- Carrom Ball
- Arm ball
Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty details of these spin bowling types and see how the magic of spin bowling changes the game!
Leg Break and Off Break: Unsettling the Batsmen
Leg breaks and off breaks are one of the most common techniques of spinning the ball in cricket. Off spinners bowl off breaks by spinning the ball from the off side to the leg side to hit the stumps. On the other hand, leg spinners bowl off breaks by turning the ball away from the batsman. The movements of off breaks and leg breaks depend on how bowlers grip the ball. If bowled correctly, they can be one of the deadliest weapons that can change the course of the match at any moment.
Top Leg Break and Off Break Bowlers in Cricket History
Googly: The Ultimate Weapon for Deception
Googly is one of the few tools that make a leg spinner decisive and ruthless in a cricket match. Usually, leg spinners spin the ball from the leg side to off side so that the ball turns away from the batsman. But leg spinners have mastered a new trick: Sometimes they bowl the leg breaks but they act like off breaks. These deliveries are called the famous ‘Googly”. With the googly, a leg spinner can turn the ball in both directions, making the batsman completely deceived in a cricket match.
Top Googly Bowlers in Cricket History
|Shahid Afridi||1996-2018||524||516||17737||541||7/ 12||32.78||4.62|
Doosra: A Secret Weapon
In simple terms, doosra is just like a googly but for an off spinner. Since leg spinners use googly to turn the ball in both directions, off spinners have doosra to make them just as unpredictable as a leg spinner. Off spinners move their wrists in a way that makes a stock off break ball turn away from the batsman and that’s widely known as the “doosra”. Spinners like Saqlain Mushtaq and Muttiah Muralitharan popularised this new trick in cricket and since then, it has become a go-to delivery for off spinners.
Top Doosra Bowlers in Cricket History
Top Spinner: The Surprising Element
The top spinner is a different technique that doesn’t focus on turning the ball. Instead of spinning the ball, sometimes bowlers focus more on bounce and length to add an element of surprise. In top spin, bowlers twist their fingers to generate more bounce and release the ball faster than usual.
Top Spinner Bowlers in Cricket History
Carrom Ball: Unpredictable Turns
As the name suggests, spinners bowl a carrom ball by flicking the fingers just like striking a carrom board puck. In 2008, Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis was able to demolish India with the magic of his carrom ball. The delivery requires the spinners to grip the ball in a unique way and that’s why, the ball turns in a very irregular fashion.
Top Carrom Ball Bowlers in Cricket History
Slider: Power of Variations
Sometimes leg spinners bowl sliders to mix things up and add some variations to their bowling. Instead of spinning the ball, leg spinners roll their fingers and release the ball in a fuller length. This way, the ball skids straight on without much turn and catches the batsman in double mind. Sliders also don’t have much bounce, so this makes the delivery even more challenging for the opponent batter.
Top Slider Bowlers in Cricket History
Arm Ball: Catching Batsmen Off Guard
The arm ball is bowled with a straight-arm action, resembling a fast bowler’s action. It doesn’t spin much and moves straight, often catching batsmen off guard. Off spinners use the arm ball by rolling their fingers just before the release which allows the ball to go straight.
Top Arm Ball Bowlers in Cricket History
|Shakib Al Hasan||2006-2023||424||461||19168||684||10/124||28.02||3.89|
Through generations, bowlers have invented different types of bowling in cricket and enhanced the beauty of this sport. These variations in bowling not only made the bowlers unpredictable but also generated a whole lot of excitement and fun. We tried to uncover some of the masterful techniques here so that the next time you’re watching a cricket match, you can appreciate the true artistry of bowling.
In short, there are basically two types of bowling in cricket, fast bowling and spin bowling. Fast bowling has various techniques like inswing, outswing, reverse swing, yorker, etc. Similarly, slow bowling also has variations such as off spin, leg spin, doosra, and googly.
Yes. A bowler can change his bowling style from spin bowling to fast bowling. However, he or she has to inform the umpire before delivering the ball.
In fast bowling, if the ball swerves in the air after the release, it’s called a swing. And if the ball changes its path after it hits the pitch, it’s called a cutter.
If the bowler doesn’t concede a single run in an over, it’s called a maiden over in cricket. If the bowler gets a wicket and doesn’t give away any runs in an over, it’s called a wicket-maiden over.
Usually, bowlers in cricket bowl at a speed of 40 to 100 miles per hour. Fast bowlers generate more speed and sometimes can bowl over 100 miles per hour.
The Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan has taken the highest number of wickets in the history of cricket. He took a total of 1347 wickets in all international cricket formats.
When a bowler takes three wickets in three consecutive balls, it’s called a hat-trick in cricket.