Sometimes your bowling spell doesn't go to plan and the batsman is the one on the attack.
Now it's time to adapt our plan to take into account how and where the batsman is hitting the ball.
One option is to move a fielder or two around to cut off his favourite shot, and try and force him to play a shot he isn't so comfortable with. This will often lead to his dismissal.
Another option is to leave the field as it is. Instead back ourselves to dismiss him by adjusting our bowling strategy itself. Here we look at how to counter-attack four types of aggressive batsman:
1. The batsman who is playing aggressively against the spin
The batter is cutting and cover driving the off spinner, or playing across the line against the leg spinner. Here the percentages are with you, so simply keep spinning the ball as hard as possible to try and beat the bat. Probe for an error. Work in some simple variations and find the hole. Keep spinning the ball as much as possible. Eventually, he will make a mistake.
2. The batsman who is consistently playing with the spin
Here the batter is cutting and cover driving the leg spinner, and working the off spinner into midwicket. He has now left himself vulnerable to the ball moving in the opposite direction. The killer blow will come from beating the opposite side of the bat to the direction of turn. To do this, use either a googly to bowl him through the gate or an arm-ball to find the leading edge.
3. The batsman who is attacking with cross batted shots
Sweeping and pulling in the order of the day with this batter. The wrong ‘un or a big spinning stock ball will have little effect against the cross batted shots. In this case, we need to vary our flight - especially using topspin and backspin - to get the ball over or underneath the horizontal swing of the bat. A backspinner will get us a bowled or LBW. A top spinner will result in a top-edge or a nick behind.
4. The batsman who is charging down the track or slogging.
These two can be dealt with in the same way. You're looking for a stumping or an aerial shot resulting in a catch. Changes of pace are key here, so that batsman is unable to time his shot. Top spin will also create extra dip and bounce and make the ball more likely to go in the air. If you can make the ball move away from the batsman, you will also have a better chance of a stumping.
About the author: AB has been bowling left arm spin in club cricket since 1995. He currently plays Saturday league cricket and several evening games a week. He is a qualified coach, and his experiences playing and coaching baseball often gives him a different insight into cricket.
The ART of Flight to deceive the batsmen
What spin bowler hasn't heard these clichés in his cricketing career?
"Toss it up" the young spin bowler is so often told. "You've got to flight the ball, give it some air, and get it above the batsman's eye line".
The problem is that experience soon teaches that simply lobbing the ball up in the air does not suddenly make a competent batsman turn into a tail end bunny. Whilst the advice may be well meaning, it completely misses the point. Flight is about deception. There is nothing deceptive about simply bowling the same ball but slower and with a higher trajectory.
So what is flight then?
We are also able to use the same set of techniques to deceive him as to where the ball will pitch in the first place.
This is flight: the art of deceiving the batsman as to the exact location where the ball will pitch.
How do we do this?
Well, first and foremost we use the same technique we use to make the ball turn: by spinning it hard. In the case of flighting the ball, this primarily means using topspin and backspin.
These make use of the Magnus effect to change the trajectory of the ball as it travels towards the batsman.
- Top spin will make the ball drop more quickly and land further away from the batsman than expected. Imagine a tennis player playing a top spin shot with his racquet, hitting over the top of the ball. You can apply this same spin on a cricket ball. How you do it will depend on whether you are a finger spinner or wrist spinner but the effect of spinning “over the top” is the same.
- Back spin will make the ball carry further and land closer to the batsman. Our tennis player would slice underneath the ball to make the shot. Again your method for doing this will vary but think ‘slicing under the ball’ to create the effect.
Using the two in combination makes batsman completely clueless as to whether to play forward or back to any given delivery.