Bowling action

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Components of a typical bowling action Bowling action.png
Components of a typical bowling action

In the sport of cricket, the bowling action is the set of movements that result in the bowler releasing the ball in the direction of the batsman.

Cricket Team sport played with bats and balls

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of which is a 20-metre (22-yard) pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps. The batting side scores runs by striking the ball bowled at the wicket with the bat, while the bowling and fielding side tries to prevent this and dismiss each player. Means of dismissal include being bowled, when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, and by the fielding side catching the ball after it is hit by the bat, but before it hits the ground. When ten players have been dismissed, the innings ends and the teams swap roles. The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches. They communicate with two off-field scorers who record the match's statistical information.

Contents

The bowling action can be broken down into a number of parts:

Grip (cricket bowling) cricket technique

One of the key factors in cricket bowling is the grip. Variation in grip has a major influence on the outcome of a delivery. Below is the grip for an inswing delivery. To produce the grip for an outswinging delivery, you simply have place your fingers on the other side of the seam. For a right hander you would slightly angle the seam so that it is faced towards first slip.

There are certain principles that apply to all parts of the bowling action, such as balance, athleticism and keeping the movement flowing in a narrow corridor directed towards the batsman.

Bowling (cricket) cricket delivery

Bowling, in cricket, is the action of propelling the ball toward the wicket defended by a batter. A player skilled at bowling is called a bowler; a bowler who is also a competent batter is known as an all-rounder. Bowling the ball is distinguished from throwing the ball by a strictly specified biomechanical definition, which restricts the angle of extension of the elbow. A single act of bowling the ball towards the batsman is called a ball or a delivery. Bowlers bowl deliveries in sets of six, called an over. Once a bowler has bowled an over, a teammate will bowl an over from the other end of the pitch. The Laws of Cricket govern how a ball must be bowled. If a ball is bowled illegally, an umpire will rule it a no-ball. If a ball is bowled too wide of the striker for the batsman to be able to play at it with a proper cricket shot, the bowler's end umpire will rule it a wide.

Coaching books describe idealised bowling actions. But good coaches are well aware that many successful bowlers employ their own unique styles and some give birth to new, improved technique. The above links all describe the most commonly taught techniques.

Approach

The approach is the motion of the bowler prior to bowling the ball. It is also known as the run-up.

A spinner's approach differs from that of a medium pace or fast bowler, but certain principles remain the same:

The strides of the bound, back foot contact, front foot contact and the first stride of the follow through should all be in line to give a balanced action that flows towards the target. Medium pace and quick bowlers usually employ a straight approach that is aligned toward the target. Spin bowlers, on the other hand, tend to have more varied approaches.

Other recommended elements of the approach are:

Bound

The bound is a jump that allows the bowler to transition from the run-up to the back foot contact position. For a chest on bowler not much transition is needed. So, many chest on bowlers have a low, short bound. In contrast, side on bowlers need to rotate their bodies through ninety degrees and so tend to have a longer, higher bound. A high bound can lead to the knee on the back foot collapsing and so lose momentum.

Delivery stride

Delivery stride is the stride during which the delivery swing is made, whether the ball is released or not. It starts when the bowler's back foot lands for that stride and ends when the front foot lands in the same stride. [1]

Back foot contact

Back foot contact is position of the bowler at the instant when the back foot lands on the ground just prior to delivering the ball. For a right-handed bowler, the back foot is normally the right foot.

An alternative name for back foot contact is coil.

Alignment

To avoid back injury it is important that the hips and shoulders are aligned at back foot contact. This can be done in any of the following positions:

An action that fails to align hips and shoulders at back foot contact is termed a mixed action.

Other coaching points

Front foot contact

Front foot contact is the position of the bowler at the moment when the front foot hits the ground just prior to delivering the ball. For a right-handed bowler the front foot is normally the left foot.

Point of release

The point of release is the position of the ball in relation to the body at the moment when the ball is released. It is crucial for the arm to be stiff, not bent, [2] and the wrist rather looser, to ensure smooth release of the ball, and sufficient bounce off the pitch. Otherwise, the action will resemble chucking. The left shoulder ought to be somewhat towards the stumps, the arm beside the bowler falling away, having just before this stage been pointing directly at the stumps.

For fast bowlers at the point of release the back of hand will be facing in the opposite direction of the batsmen facing the pending delivery. The front of the upright wrist and tips of the index and middle fingers all point to the target. For spin bowlers the wrist may well be at various angles at release point. This is because one is trying to create drag on a particular side of the ball, not propel it straight as per the section above.

James Anderson in his follow through while bowling to Michael Clarke. Anderson bowling to Clarke.jpg
James Anderson in his follow through while bowling to Michael Clarke.

Follow through

The follow through is the motion of the bowler after releasing the ball.

See also

Related Research Articles

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In cricket, underarm bowling is as old as the sport itself. Until the introduction of the roundarm style in the first half of the 19th century, bowling was performed in the same way as in bowls, the ball being delivered with the hand below the waist. Bowls may well be an older game than cricket and it is possible that cricket was derived from bowls by the intervention of a batsman trying to stop the ball reaching its target by hitting it away, though bowling per se continued as in bowls.

Glossary of cricket terms Wikimedia list article

This is a general glossary of the terminology used in the sport of cricket. Where words in a sentence are also defined elsewhere in this article, they appear in italics. Certain aspects of cricket terminology are explained in more detail in cricket statistics and the naming of fielding positions is explained at fielding (cricket).

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Batting (cricket) a skill in the sport of cricket

In cricket, batting is the act or skill of hitting the ball with a bat to score runs or prevent the loss of one's wicket. Any player who is currently batting is denoted as a batsman, batswoman, or batter, regardless of whether batting is their particular area of expertise. Batting players have to adapt to various conditions when playing on different cricket pitches, especially in different countries - therefore, as well as having outstanding physical batting skills, top-level batters will have lightning reflexes, excellent decision-making and be good strategists.

Pace bowling Bowling technique in cricket

Pace bowling is one of two main approaches to bowling in the sport of cricket, the other being spin bowling. Practitioners of pace bowling are usually known as fast bowlers, quicks, or pacemen. They can also be referred to as a seam bowler, a swing bowler or a 'fast bowler who can swing it' to reflect the predominant characteristic of their deliveries. Strictly speaking, a pure swing bowler does not need to have a high degree of pace, though dedicated medium-pace swing bowlers are rarely seen at Test level these days.

Swing bowling is a technique used for bowling in the sport of cricket. Practitioners are known as swing bowlers. Swing bowling is generally classed as a subtype of fast bowling.

Seam bowling is a bowling technique in cricket whereby the ball is deliberately bowled on to its seam, to cause a random deviation. Practitioners are known as seam bowlers or seamers.

An inswinger is a type of delivery in the sport of cricket. It is bowled by swing bowlers.

Run out method of dismissal in the sport of cricket

Run out is a method of dismissal in the sport of cricket governed by Law 38 of the Laws of cricket.

Law 41 of the Laws of Cricket covers unfair play. This law has developed and expanded over time as various incidents of real life unfair play have been legislated against.

Delivery (cricket) single action of bowling a cricket ball

A delivery or ball in cricket is a single action of bowling a cricket ball toward the batsman.

Stumped

Stumped is a method of dismissing a batsman in cricket. The action of stumping can only be performed by a wicket-keeper. A batsman is stumped if, from a legitimate delivery, the wicket-keeper puts down the wicket while the batsman is out of his ground and not attempting a run.

Wrist spin Type of spin bowling in cricket

Wrist spin is a type of bowling in the sport of cricket. It refers to the cricket technique and specific hand movements associated with imparting a particular direction of spin to the cricket ball. The other spinning technique, usually used to spin the ball in the opposite direction, is finger spin. Wrist spin is bowled by releasing the ball from the back of the hand, so that it passes over the little finger. Done by a right-handed bowler, this imparts an anticlockwise rotation to the ball, as seen from the bowler's perspective; a left-handed wrist spinner rotates the ball clockwise.

Finger spin is a type of bowling in the sport of cricket. It refers to the cricket technique and specific hand movements associated with imparting a particular direction of spin to the cricket ball. The other spinning technique, generally used to spin the ball in the opposite direction, is wrist spin. Although there are exceptions, finger spinners generally turn the ball less than wrist spinners. However, because the technique is simpler and easier to master, finger spinners tend to be more accurate.

In the sport of cricket, throwing, commonly referred to as chucking, is an illegal bowling action which occurs when a bowler straightens the bowling arm when delivering the ball. The Laws of Cricket specify that only the rotation of the shoulder can be used to impart velocity to the ball – a bowler's arm must not extend during the bowling action. If the umpire deems that the ball has been thrown, they will call a no-ball which means the batsman cannot be given out from that delivery. Current regulations of the International Cricket Council (ICC) set the legal limit of 15 degrees of permissible straightening of the elbow joint for all bowlers in international cricket. This law applies between the point at which the bowling arm passes above shoulder height and the point at which the ball is released. The limit is to allow some natural flexing of the elbow joint which happens during the course of legal delivery.

The England team were very unhappy with the umpiring of the 1958–59 Ashes series, in particular the questionable actions of some bowlers in the Australian team. The televising of Test cricket was in its infancy and the notion of Test umpires using slow-motion replays or other modern techniques was considered absurd. Instead the umpires had to make judgements based on what they saw in a split-second, and honest mistakes were accepted as part and parcel of the game. However, touring teams sometimes felt that there was a natural bias towards the home team which led to some acrimony. Keith Miller thought "Mel McInnes, Colin Hoy and Ron Wright were our leading umpires in the 1954-55 M.C.C. tour of Australia, and I have no hesitation in saying that McInnes gave the finest exhibition of umpiring in a Test series that I have experienced". The England team thought well of him too, but in 1958-59 he lost the confidence of the England players and himself, appeared hesitant and gave some surprising decisions. In the Fourth Test he hesitated to give Ken Mackay out even after the batsman walked after snicking a catch off Brian Statham. Later Colin McDonald should have been run out when Fred Trueman flattened the stumps after his runner Jim Burke ran round the back of McInnes. McInnes gave him out, but then changed his mind and gave him not out as he had not seen whether Burke had made the run or not. On his next ball McDonald sportingly pulled his bat out of the way of the stumps to give Trueman "the easiest Test wicket I have ever taken". Trueman was affected again when he batted, given out caught by Wally Grout off Richie Benaud when he had dropped his bat and missed the ball. The England team became dispirited by the umpiring mistakes and, believing the officials to be against them, lost heart. As Fred Trueman wrote

...the Australian umpires demonstrated as much impartiality as a religious zealot. We just couldn't get favourable decisions and they no-balled England bowlers left, right and centre...one of the umpires consistently no-balled me...It was annoying, especially as this umpire seemed to allow Gordon Rorke to bowl with both his feet over the front line!...I suffered, as did others, from appalling umpiring decisions when batting...It was unbelievable."

Injuries in Cricket could be classified as direct injuries or indirect injuries. Direct injuries are due to impact with the cricket ball, bat or ground. Indirect injuries occur mostly overuse due to repetitive movement. The most commonly injured body parts are lower back, thighs, shoulder and hand. Fast bowlers have the highest injury prevalence rate followed by batsmen.

References

  1. Laws of Cricket Appendix D Archived 24 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Cricket". The World Book Encyclopedia. 4. Chicago: World Book. 1995. p. 197. ISBN   0-7166-0095-1.