Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Types of bowlers in cricket
In the sport of cricket there are two categories of bowler: pace bowler and spin bowler. Pace bowlers rely mostly on the speed of the ball to dismiss batsmen, whereas spin bowlers rely on the rotation of the ball.
Pace bowlers, or fast bowlers or pacemen, rely on speed to get a batsman out. This type of bowler can be further classified according to the speed at which they bowl the ball on average. These classifications are not official, but are used by the media to give a fair idea as to how fast a bowler bowls. For this reason, the following table gives only a general idea as to the speed divisions.
|Fast (Express)||90 +||145|
|Fast-Medium||80 - 89||129 - 145|
|Medium-Fast||70 - 79||113 - 129|
|Medium||60 - 69||97 - 113|
|Medium-Slow||50 - 59||80 - 97|
|Slow-Medium||40 - 49||64 - 80|
|Slow||below 40||below 64|
Bowlers in the slow and slow-medium range are non-existent in professional cricket as a batsman will find it very easy to hit the ball at that speed. Most pace bowlers are medium-fast to fast. In general, bowlers of this type (if they are right-handed, as most are) are described as "Right-arm fast", "Right-arm medium-fast", and so on. Brett Lee of Australia and Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan are the fastest bowlers in the history of the game.
Swing bowlers are pace bowlers who, apart from being fast, use the seam of the ball to make it travel in a curved path through the air. This is achieved by systematically polishing one side of the ball, while allowing the other side to become roughened and worn. The differing airflow around the two sides will cause the ball to swing in the air, toward the roughened side. By changing the orientation of the ball in his hand a bowler may, therefore, cause the ball to swing into or away from the batsman. In addition to a well polished ball, other factors help the ball to swing, notably damp or humid weather conditions. Medium and medium-fast bowlers tend to swing the ball more than the outright fast bowlers.
Though younger pace bowlers tend to rely exclusively on speed, as bowlers age they tend to develop this more sophisticated art of swing bowling. Swing bowlers are more effective than sheer pace bowlers as the swing can confuse a batsman. Wasim Akram of Pakistan was a master of this skill, and was capable of causing an older, misshapen ball to swing the opposite way from normal, i.e. toward the shiny side. This is known as reverse swing.
Seam bowlers or seamers are pace bowlers who attempt to land the ball so that the raised stitching (the seam) hits the ground, causing the ball to deviate when it bounces. The ball is held with the seam upright, and backspin imparted by the fingers so that the seam maintains its vertical orientation as the ball travels through the air. Good pace bowlers can combine the disciplines of swing and seam, giving them a chance to take wickets when the conditions are not conducive to swing bowling.
Pace bowlers frequently dismiss batsmen through variation and deception. A batter who has been "softened up" by a series of short bouncers, that pass through around head height, or even hit the batsman, may tend to look to play the next ball on the back foot, and thus be susceptible to a full length yorker delivery, that bounces at his toes. Many bowlers also develop a "slower ball". These are bowled with the same arm action as their normal delivery, but come slower from the hand, usually due the bowler gripping the ball differently or cocking his wrist at the last moment. With luck, the batsman will misread the pace, and have finished his shot before the ball arrives. Other common variations include the leg cutter and off cutter, medium pace deliveries bowled with a spinner's wrist action, that can sometimes bounce like spin bowling.
Spin bowlers or spinners rely on rotation of the ball to get a batsman out. The spin on the ball makes its movement hard to predict, particularly when it bounces, hence spin bowlers try to deceive batsmen into making a mistake. Speed is not crucial in spin bowling, and spinners tend to bowl in the slow-medium to medium-slow range, around 45-55 mph. There are two categories of spin bowling: wrist spin and finger spin.
Wrist spinners are bowlers who use their wrists to spin the ball. A right-handed wrist spinner is known as a leg spinner and his mode of bowling is known as leg break. A leg break ball will move from right to left from the bowler's point of view, or from the leg-side to the off-side for a right-handed batsman. Shane Warne of Australia and Anil Kumble of India are two of the contemporary bowlers of this type.
Left-handed wrist spinners, who are much rarer than leg-spinners, are called chinaman bowlers, after an early left-arm wrist spinner of Chinese descent who bowled for the West Indies. A ball delivered in this way will spin from the off-side to the leg-side for a right-handed batsman. Paul Adams of South Africa is the best-known current chinaman bowler. Australian test cricketer Brad Hogg is another current exponent of left arm wrist spin.
Finger spinners make use of their fingers to rotate the ball. A right-arm finger spinner is known as an off-spinner and the mode of bowling is known as off-break. The ball will appear to move just as the chinaman does, from off to leg for a right-handed batsman. Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka, the most successful bowler in history, is an off-spinner, although his bowling style is rather unusual. Indian Harbhajan Singh also employs this bowling style.
Almost all left-handed bowlers are finger spinners. As a result this style has no fixed name and the bowling mode is simply known as left-arm orthodox. The ball turns like a leg break, from leg to off. Ashley Giles of England and New Zealand's Daniel Vettori employ this bowling style.
A bowler equally skilled in both types of bowling is known as a mixed bag or an all round bowler. Such bowlers are rare. One bowler of this type is Sachin Tendulkar of India, who can bowl both leg spin and medium pace. The great West Indies all rounder, Sir Garfield Sobers, could bowl effectively in almost every style.
Bowling styles are often abbreviated in scorecards (and in player profiles on the Wikipedia) as follows:
|Pace bowling||RF||Right-arm fast|
|RFM||Right-arm fast medium|
|RMF||Right-arm medium fast|
|LFM||Left-arm fast medium|
|LMF||Left-arm medium fast|
|Spin bowling||OB||Off break (right-arm)|
|LB||Leg break (right-arm)|
|LBG||Leg break googly (right-arm)|
|SLA||Slow left-arm orthodox|
|SLC||Slow left-arm chinaman||