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Thread: Why can some people bowl fast?

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    International Captain thierry henry's Avatar
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    Why can some people bowl fast?

    ok, this thread might need to be moved to cricket chat or deleted or something as it's not exactly a cry for help, more just a general discussion about players with interesting actions or who are deceptively quick/slow, etc.

    There are a couple of international cricketers in particular who bemuse me with the pace they are able to extract.

    Agarkar- despite being much maligned, he can bowl around 140kph quite regularly. This is despite being, if I am not mistaken, EXTREMELY small of stature- he looks to me to be about 5'7'' and must weigh next to nothing. Furthermore, he doesn't even run up fast- as a matter of fact, he has one of the most ponderous approaches to the wicket I've seen, he just ambles in. Furthermore, there are no great theatrics to his action, it is very compact, no great exertion at all. So how does he do it? What am I missing? What does Ajit have that the rest of us could never replicate?

    Sreesanth- Same thing, another short and slender Indian pacer bowling 140kph plus. Now, I don't know if it's just me, but Sreesanth's action looks all wrong. It looks very "wobbly" somehow- the arm doesn't really seem to whip through, and I think that's because he seems, to me at least, to not use his left arm properly. The whole thing seems out of sync, yet this little man bowls 90mph. Why? How? It's not fair!

    Anyone else got anything similar to add? I myself am 22 years old, 179cm, 85kg, and have been trying (unsuccessfully) to bowl fast all my life. I have no idea how fast I bowl but would like to think I'm at least over 100kph ffs. I'm about at a pace where when I play social grade indoor cricket I'm generally one of the quickest bowlers, and I'd probably be regarded as "briskish medium pace" if I played club 4th grade or something like that.

  2. #2
    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thierry henry View Post
    ok, this thread might need to be moved to cricket chat or deleted or something as it's not exactly a cry for help, more just a general discussion about players with interesting actions or who are deceptively quick/slow, etc.

    There are a couple of international cricketers in particular who bemuse me with the pace they are able to extract.
    A few things to address here.

    Firstly, there are a number of people that can his 140 kph. It shouldnt be seen as 'Fast' bowling. Lots of different shapes and sizes can achieve it as it isnt really upper echelon pace.

    Secondly, there is no fixed idea of what a fast bowler should look like and bowl like.

    Ive mentioned in the the past 2 types of quicks.
    The 'Lever' bowlers- Tall quicks that generate pace through long arms eg Ambrose, McGrath, Harmison etc

    The 'Athletic' bowlers- Holding, Lillee, Donald, Lee, Shoaib Akhtar etc

    You could add to that the-
    'Brute' bowlers that muscle the ball to the other end at high pace- Flintoff, Nel, Kallis, Thompson, Tait etc

    Fast bowling can be broken down into a number of components as to where the speed comes from eg, momentum, hips, arm speed, leverage, pivot, left side, wrist etc.

    All quicks generate different degrees of their pace from these different areas.

    One thing is key though, the action must be of such a type that it allows pace to be generated from these areas even though different actions can be used.

    To addess the noted players-

    Quote Originally Posted by thierry henry View Post
    Agarkar- despite being much maligned, he can bowl around 140kph quite regularly. This is despite being, if I am not mistaken, EXTREMELY small of stature- he looks to me to be about 5'7'' and must weigh next to nothing. Furthermore, he doesn't even run up fast- as a matter of fact, he has one of the most ponderous approaches to the wicket I've seen, he just ambles in. Furthermore, there are no great theatrics to his action, it is very compact, no great exertion at all. So how does he do it? What am I missing? What does Ajit have that the rest of us could never replicate?
    Agarkar is 5'9" or 5'10". Even if he was smaller his height wouldnt be too much of an issue as we have seen bowlers like Marshall and Larwood generate high velocity despite their small stature.

    Now Agarkar is capable of 140+. His run-up may be pedestrian but his action is very strong and suited to bowling quick.

    There are 2 keys to this action which work for him as they are natural to him (sometimes it is hard to replicate for others if it is not the natural action)

    1) He almost pauses in his leap in mid-air and explodes out of the coil. His weight is then slammed down into the ground
    2) As is weight slams into the ground he pivots and bring his hips though.

    Basically his run-up isnt as important as it is for others as he hits the crease very hard from the coil position rather than the run-up and that generates the momentum and he brings his hip through nicely (due to the pivot) and that brings the wholde weight of the body and momentum into the ball.

    Quote Originally Posted by thierry henry View Post
    Sreesanth- Same thing, another short and slender Indian pacer bowling 140kph plus. Now, I don't know if it's just me, but Sreesanth's action looks all wrong. It looks very "wobbly" somehow- the arm doesn't really seem to whip through, and I think that's because he seems, to me at least, to not use his left arm properly. The whole thing seems out of sync, yet this little man bowls 90mph. Why? How? It's not fair!
    Sreesanth is interesting. Firstly he maybe slender but he has good athleticism and coordination which allows him to generate momentum in his run-up and get the timing right in his action.

    He also brings the hips through nicely (which I believe is the key to bowling quick) and completes the action well.

    The left arm is curious and not what I would champion but it plays a role. Instead of getting the left arm high and chopping down with the arm he does something a little different.

    He seems to use the left arm to reach out and try and grab the batsman and pull him in. This pulling of the left arm (rather than chopping) obviously helps bring him through the crease and pull the right side of the body towards the batsman and bring the hips through.

    Quote Originally Posted by thierry henry View Post
    Anyone else got anything similar to add? I myself am 22 years old, 179cm, 85kg, and have been trying (unsuccessfully) to bowl fast all my life. I have no idea how fast I bowl but would like to think I'm at least over 100kph ffs. I'm about at a pace where when I play social grade indoor cricket I'm generally one of the quickest bowlers, and I'd probably be regarded as "briskish medium pace" if I played club 4th grade or something like that.
    There are many different types of actions that fast bowlers use but all are founded on the same basic principles even though they look different. However, to bowl quick any action will not do and the best bet is to make sure the left side of the body works hard, the hips come through in the action and that there is momentum when you hit the crease.

    However, of course an action is just a facilitator. The natural ability must be inside the person in the first place in order for the action to release it.

    The good news though is that I think many more people are capable of bowling 'quickly' than previously thought as they have just been hidden behind poor fast bowling actions.

    A lot of people can bowl quick that didnt think they would be able to (though obviously not everyone) and the size of Agarkar and Sreesanth is no suprise to me.
    Last edited by Goughy; 05-10-2007 at 07:53 AM.
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  3. #3
    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    I had been meaning to start a thread like this to uncover the secrets of some actions. I have always felt that Agarkar had a great action; hard to explain but he seems to coil well as Goughy said. He jogs in but there are two things to say about that:

    1. He has been jogging in lately and so has rarely touched 140kph. He used to run in faster

    2. Fast bowlers rarely do what you and me know as jogging, they all run in pretty quickly; obviously some much quicker than others.

    I feel that Sreesanth's pace comes from a good textbook action (in places except the front arm as Goughy said). He sprints in, possibly faster than anyone else at times and this helps him get a good high, long leap to the crease. He can do this because he is wirey and skinny and yet is naturally quite strong so he can run and leap like an athlete. His action is side on to almost a perfect angle too, he is not too side on, but is side on enough to rotate his hips fully into the action. He gets the front leg nice and high too and slams it down to bring the bowling side through. All this being said, his action did not come automatically, he used to be around 125-135kph but after visiting MRF Pace Foundation before the South Africa tour, he now reaches 140kph often and 145kph once or twice a match.

    I was wondering where Mohammad Sami's pace comes from? Again, he is not too well built and is infact quite skinny (the same build as Agarkar or Sreesanth) but he seemed to outpace Akhtar consistantly when they played together, bowling from 140-155kph.
    The speed at which a fielding team gets through the innings is overrated.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goughy View Post
    He also brings the hips through nicely (which I believe is the key to bowling quick)
    Me too, I cannot get through the crease if I do not go side on and pivot and bring through the hips.


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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manee View Post
    Me too, I cannot get through the crease if I do not go side on and pivot and bring through the hips.
    I bowl with good gas and have a very open action. Both side on and open can work as long as the hips come through and both require different steps to make it happen

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    U19 Cricketer Clarence's Avatar
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    Alot of the time run up, action etc. is over estimated as to why guys bowl quick for mine. Bowling quick is to do with natural ability, the proportionate amount of fast twitch fibres to slow twitch fibres. Although action and run up can contribute to help out adding an extra 5-10 kms for the most part bowling quick is about what is "God-given." Thus, we could all bowl with Brett Lee's run up and action and still not bowl 150+.

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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clarence View Post
    Alot of the time run up, action etc. is over estimated as to why guys bowl quick for mine. Bowling quick is to do with natural ability, the proportionate amount of fast twitch fibres to slow twitch fibres. Although action and run up can contribute to help out adding an extra 5-10 kms for the most part bowling quick is about what is "God-given." Thus, we could all bowl with Brett Lee's run up and action and still not bowl 150+.
    There is an element of truth to what you say but it is an over simplification.

    Firstly, athleticism and natural ability is a bonus for a certain type of fast bowler but it isnt the only way. Ambrose couldnt bowl like Lee and Lee couldnt generate pace with the action and run up of Ambrose.

    As I said, for one group of bowlers, The Athletes (Shoaib, Lee, Donald etc) , it helps but it isnt the only way and no matter what athleticism is possessed a good action is still needed.

    Also if you look at the quickest and most athletic players (fast twitch guys) they tend not to be the Fast bowlers. Jonty Rhodes, Gibbs, Ashwell Prince, Collingwood etc all these guys possess agility and speed yet none of them are fast bowlers. Compare their speed and athleticism to many of the old quality West Indian quicks that lumbered around in the field like dinosaurs and it is obvious that high fast twitch muscle isnt the only (or even most likely) key to bowling quick.

    The correct action for the individual bowler will increase pace.

    Athleticism and 'built in' is never a disadvantage but there is more to bowling quick than just that.

    Of course some (even many) may not be able to do it, but there are more out there that have the potential than most people realise.
    Last edited by Goughy; 05-10-2007 at 07:05 PM.

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    Hall of Fame Member Sanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clarence View Post
    Alot of the time run up, action etc. is over estimated as to why guys bowl quick for mine. Bowling quick is to do with natural ability, the proportionate amount of fast twitch fibres to slow twitch fibres. Although action and run up can contribute to help out adding an extra 5-10 kms for the most part bowling quick is about what is "God-given." Thus, we could all bowl with Brett Lee's run up and action and still not bowl 150+.
    I cant believe god will be so partial. I mean how can he/she be so generous to Pakistan and give them a whole mine of fast bowlers and not give us a single one ?

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    International Captain thierry henry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goughy View Post
    Firstly, there are a number of people that can his 140 kph. It shouldnt be seen as 'Fast' bowling. Lots of different shapes and sizes can achieve it as it isnt really upper echelon pace.
    Seriously, there are maybe 2 bowlers in NZ who hit 140kph consistently. I'm sure there are others with the potential, but not many bowlers actually do reach that pace. Most toil away in low grade cricket busting a gut to hit 110kph lol.

    Agarkar is 5'9" or 5'10". Even if he was smaller his height wouldnt be too much of an issue as we have seen bowlers like Marshall and Larwood generate high velocity despite their small stature.
    Really? He's always looked a genuine midget to me. Have you met him or something?

    Sreesanth is interesting. Firstly he maybe slender but he has good athleticism and coordination which allows him to generate momentum in his run-up and get the timing right in his action.

    The left arm is curious and not what I would champion but it plays a role. Instead of getting the left arm high and chopping down with the arm he does something a little different.

    He seems to use the left arm to reach out and try and grab the batsman and pull him in. This pulling of the left arm (rather than chopping) obviously helps bring him through the crease and pull the right side of the body towards the batsman and bring the hips through.
    True, true. I can't really explain why but his whole action seems out of sync to me. It's probably just that the left arm looks odd.

  10. #10
    International Captain thierry henry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manee View Post
    I was wondering where Mohammad Sami's pace comes from? Again, he is not too well built and is infact quite skinny (the same build as Agarkar or Sreesanth) but he seemed to outpace Akhtar consistantly when they played together, bowling from 140-155kph.
    Sami's pace never surprised me tbh. He hit the crease harder than any bowler I can think of. It always seemed to me that he must have magnificent co-ordination to hit the crease at such a sprint and still keep his action together.



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