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Gear | Pace bowling | Off spin | Leg spin | Cut off the pitch | Swing

Fast Bowling:
  • The secret to being a successful fast bowler is having the desire to bowl fast. Unlike fast medium, medium pace and slow medium bowlers, fast bowlers are the ones who deliver the ball consistently over the 140 kmph. speed during a spell. This needs tremendous stamina and physical fitness and one should have the natural aptitude for it.

  • Fast bowlers are the ones who hurry the batsman in their shot and threaten to cause injury. There is no one action which is suitable to all and the best way is to build up the speed gradually and deliver the ball when you have reached the peak of your speed.
Basic Technique:
  • The fundamentals that every fast bowler must possess are a correct grip, a smooth efficient run - up, a well balanced rhythmical delivery stride, a high delivery action and a deliberate and smooth follow through.

  • The ball should be held in the fingers and must not touch the palm of the hand. The basic grip for any fast or medium pace bowler is placing the index finger on the left side of the seam and the middle finger is placed on the right side of the seam, which is upright.

  • The thumb is placed directly underneath it with the ball resting on it lightly but not gripped tightly. The pressure of the finger on the ball should be just firm, not too tightly that it releases late from the hand. The fingers must feel like the extension of the wrist holding the ball. Various grips to bowl different types of balls are given in the next section.

  • [ Video of the fast bowling grip ]

Run - up:
  • The run up is very important to be able to generate speed. The ideal run up is one where you start slowly and build up your speed till you reach the peak at about 3 or 4 strides from the crease and maintain this speed into the delivery stride and action.

  • Gradual increase in speed is important and try not to run more than what is necessary.

  • Saving energy is vital for the effectiveness of a fast bowler over a period of time. The best way to know what is correct for you is to go to an open field and mark a spot on a clear stretch of ground. From here close your eyes and run, gradually picking up speed and then deliver the ball. A friend can mark the spot your back foot has landed. From here walk normally to the spot you marked earlier and this will be the exact number of steps to take when you mark you run-up before bowling.

  • This exercise is to be done three or four times and the most smooth and efficient one must be selected. When taking the run up in a match start from the bowling crease as this is the place where your back foot has to land.

Delivery stride Actions:
  • About 3 or 4 strides from the bowling crease you must start preparing to get into the delivery stride. The acceleration is stopped and the speed is maintained. You can bowl the ball either with a side on action or with a Front-on action. Both are equally effective and you should choose the one coming most naturally to you.

  • For a side on bowler, in the last step before the delivery stride, turn the body slightly to point the left shoulder to the batsman.

  • Then jump, arching the back at the same time and land on the right foot with the foot parallel to the bowling crease. The left foot lands in front with the toe pointing towards fine - leg.

  • The front arm is rotated high and the eyes are looking at the batsman slightly to the left or right of the shoulder. The wrist is cocked back slightly and the left arm pulls the body down and passes behind the body.

  • The weight transfers from the back to the front and the ball is delivered from the highest point possible. The left knee gives in a little & then straightens to maintain the balance and the body pivots pulling the right leg in front till the right shoulder is pointing down the wicket.

  • The entire action is like a cartwheel in motion and the hands complete the full circle.

  • Bowlers with front-on action in their last step before delivery, the back is arched a bit and both the feet land pointing down the wicket. The jump is negligible, but the arching brings the ball down sharply from a height. The head is steady and looking at the batsman from inside the front arm. The left arm pulls the body, transferring the weight forward and the bowling arm finishes behind the left side of the body.

Follow through:
  • Whatever the run up and action, a fast bowler must have a fluent follow through. This is necessary as stopping too fast puts a strain on your legs and back.

  • As the action is completed the motion must take you down the wicket slightly to the left. Avoid turning too quickly or running straight on to the `danger' area of the pitch.

  • Try and exaggerate the follow through. At all times the head is upright and the eyes are watching the bat or stumps, as the case may be.