Bowling (cricket)

From Academic Kids

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Darren Gough bowling

In the sport of cricket, bowling is the action of propelling the ball towards the batsman. A player skilled at bowling is called a bowler.

A single act of bowling the ball towards the batsman is called a ball or a delivery.

There are rules in the Laws of Cricket governing 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 far wide of the batsman for him to be able to hit it, an umpire will rule it a wide.



In the early days of cricketing history, underarm bowling was the only method employed. Initially, all bowling was performed with an underarm action. Later, an English woman, who used to play cricket alongside the gentlemen and whom was attired in the dress of the day for a lady, a long, widely blousing dress, was having difficulty in bowling with an underarm action due to the blousing dress and to counter this she began to bowl with an overarm delivery method.

Soon after, a gentleman who witnessed this action began to employ it in club cricket matches, however, the overarm method was quickly banned and determined to be illegal. It was not until 1864 that the method was finally accepted by cricketing authorities and grew rapidly in popularity amongst all players. By the 20th century, underarm bowling had disappeared from the game.

An infamous "underarm bowling" incident occurred during a One-day International match between the Australia and New Zealand teams, in which the bowler took advantage of the fact that underarm bowling was still legal by rolling the ball along the ground. By doing so he avoided the (unlikely) possibility that the No. 10 New Zealand batsman would score a six from the last ball to tie the match.

As a result of this incident underarm bowling was subsequently banned as not within the spirit of the game.

Goals of bowling

In terms of strategic importance in a game, the priorities of a bowler are, in order of importance:

  1. Get batsmen out.
  2. Prevent batsmen from scoring runs.

Getting batsmen out is the primary goal because once out a batsman can no longer bat in the same innings, so the potential for scoring more runs is gone. Actually preventing the scoring of a run at any point is relatively unimportant, and bowlers will often deliberately bowl so as to make it easier for batsmen to score runs, in order to build overconfidence, tempt them into a miscalculated shot, and thus get them out.

This contrasts with baseball, in which the primary goal of pitching is to prevent the other team from scoring runs. This is reflected in the difference in terminology of attack and defence between the sports. In baseball, pitching is considered the defensive role, whereas in cricket bowling is primarily an offensive role and is referred to as the attack.

Bowling tactics

To achieve the goals of bowling, a variety of tactics have been developed. Naively, bowling directly at the batsman's wicket seems a good idea, as this provides chances to get the batsman out bowled or leg before wicket. However, most batsman are capable of defending against such deliveries, especially if they expect them. A more promising line of attack is to bowl away from the wicket, and entice the batsman to play a shot at the ball in the hope of scoring runs. A mistimed stroke or deviation of the ball in flight can result in the ball being hit in an unintended direction, either on to the wicket or - more likely - to a fielder for a catch.

Some different types of bowling tactic:

Bowling techniques

Bowlers use a variety of techniques in an effort to get batsmen out. Most bowlers specialise in only one technique, though some switch between two different techniques. Each technique involves a body of skills within a general grouping of related bowling skills.

Types of delivery

Individual deliveries can vary greatly, even within a single bowling technique. All bowlers will only bowl a selection of these types of delivery.

See also


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