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Thread: Death Bowling - a lost art?

  1. #1
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    Death Bowling - a lost art?

    Now this is a real hobby horse of mine, and I'd like to know where everyone is at on it - in terms of how many guys, and teams around the world get it right.

    I bring it up because I watched the worst display of death bowling of all-time last night, albeit some Neville Noones running around for the Sydney Thunder. Length ball after length ball, no pace off the ball, consistently going two tiers up the stand.

    Now I understand accessing the perfect yorker is a tough art, but the best (Arafat, Southee, Gul at his peak are three that come to mind) could get it done more often than not. Now it seems like it's hardly ever considered, and confusing guys with pace, and lack of, is the MO of the death bowler.

    Hitting length and asking guys to hit you to the long boundaries/into the wind works in Australia a lot of the time, but it won't in New Zealand so it'll be interesting as to who gets it right and who doesn't in the World Cup.

    I know some will say the advent of the ramp has made yorker-length bowling a different prospect, but how many guys around the world can do it effectively and with regularity? When England got pumped mercilessly last year by Fawkner at the death, they didn't once go to the hole and ask him to change his game. And I see instances of that all the time, where guys won't even go to the hole once to see if that's a way to block off scoring options. And to that tune, would a guy almost at back stop/fine fine leg help even more - especially on bigger straight grounds?

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    The Tiger King smalishah84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveNZ View Post
    Now this is a real hobby horse of mine, and I'd like to know where everyone is at on it - in terms of how many guys, and teams around the world get it right.

    I bring it up because I watched the worst display of death bowling of all-time last night, albeit some Neville Noones running around for the Sydney Thunder. Length ball after length ball, no pace off the ball, consistently going two tiers up the stand.

    Now I understand accessing the perfect yorker is a tough art, but the best (Arafat, Southee, Gul at his peak are three that come to mind) could get it done more often than not. Now it seems like it's hardly ever considered, and confusing guys with pace, and lack of, is the MO of the death bowler.

    Hitting length and asking guys to hit you to the long boundaries/into the wind works in Australia a lot of the time, but it won't in New Zealand so it'll be interesting as to who gets it right and who doesn't in the World Cup.

    I know some will say the advent of the ramp has made yorker-length bowling a different prospect, but how many guys around the world can do it effectively and with regularity? When England got pumped mercilessly last year by Fawkner at the death, they didn't once go to the hole and ask him to change his game. And I see instances of that all the time, where guys won't even go to the hole once to see if that's a way to block off scoring options. And to that tune, would a guy almost at back stop/fine fine leg help even more - especially on bigger straight grounds?
    Yasir Arafat among the best death bowlers that came to your mind first? Wasim Akram owned death bowling in ODIs.

    But I do agree with your overall point. It seems to have become a lost art. 2 new balls, fielding restrictions, shorter boundaries, better bats, all contributing to its death.
    And smalishah's avatar is the most classy one by far Jan certainly echoes the sentiments of CW

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    2 new balls has really killed death bowling, having 4 fielders outside the circle doesn't help either but there really is no help for bowlers unless you are bowling in swinging conditions when bowling in the first 15 overs or so, after that its all in favour of the bats.

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    Gurinder sandhu bowled really well at the death last night.


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    Junaid is pretty good.

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    Four outside the circle makes death death bowling ridiculously hard.
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    International Coach hendrix's Avatar
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    2 new balls is less of a factor in Aus and NZ where reverse would be unlikely to factor in.

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    What happened to the good old fashioned yorker? I rarely see that being bowled these days.

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    I am pretty confident that bowlers are better at the death overall today than they were 20 years ago. They're just up against worse conditions (fielders outside the circle, size of bats, ability of batsmen to innovate etc.).

    There are some seriously bad death bowlers going around though. No doubt.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonbrooks View Post
    What happened to the good old fashioned yorker? I rarely see that being bowled these days.
    This is part of my point. I've had this conversation with people involved in the game, and usually get the 'players can ramp them' conversation and that's about it. But I don't believe 2 out of 3 effective death batsmen have that shot, or at least aren't complete guns at it.

    All these factors are definitely a part of it, and no doubt some guys are better than they were 20 years ago.

    I dunno. The times I've seen Arafat and others spear in yorkers, it's been very effective. Even wide yorkers to guys who constantly want to go leg-side.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend zorax's Avatar
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    Yorkers aren't as effective with only 4 men in the deep.

    Usually you would put one man behind square on the offside and one behind square on the legside for the ball that takes a little edge or some pad off the batsman. And then you put one straight, one leg and one off to cover all major scoring areas. But now you only have 2 men left.

    Put one straight and one on leg, the batsman can back away and hit you through the off

    Put one straight and one on the off, the batsman can walk across and attempt to hit you into leg

    Put one one leg and one on off, the batsman can stay deep in the crease and just hit you straight

    Take away one of the men from behind square and you leave yourself exposed to those cheeky little late dabs and scoops.

    2 new balls also means reverse/contrast swing is harder to get in ODIs. A guy like Waqar used to tail the ball in, so would have deep third man, deep fine leg, deep midwicket, long on and long off. If you managed to hit one of those late swinging yorkers through the offside, then power to you, but it would be insanely hard. Now, not only would Waqar have to do with one less man covering the deep, but he won't get that devilish swing either. Even he would struggle now days.

    You also don't have the benefit of reverse or contrast swing helping you out when you miss that perfect yorker length. I remember in the 1990s everyone was all about the yorker, because even if you missed your length, a half volley or low fulltoss with some swing and a long on and long off in place would be hard to put away. You won't see that anymore.

    T20s still use one ball, but a 20 over ball isn't going to reverse much anyways.

    Slower balls aren't as effective now either with two new balls, as they don't grip on the pitch as much. The batsmen can line themselves up for a full paced delivery, adjust if the ball comes out slower than expected, and follow through cleanly since these gentle cutters aren't doing much off the pitch. The don't turn, they don't grip and lose pace, they just come on nicely to be hit.

    In response to this, bowling quick and trying to beat batsmen for pace is what quicks try to do - shorten the batsmen's reaction time, and attempt to bowl the ball outside of their hitting arcs. That's why they bowl a lot more length and a lot wider of the stumps than they used to. But if the batsman connects the ball is likely to travel.

    Bowling to one side of the field is fraught with risk as well - miss your line and you'll get hit, be too predictable and the batsman can just walk across is crease and hit you to the uncovered side.

    Wide yorkers are an option but very hard to execute, and very easy to score off if the batsman knows its coming. It also absolutely requires you have a man at third man and one around deep point, leaving large zones open for an adventurous batsman to score off. All he needs to do is wander about the crease a bit, maybe take a few steps down, and he can whack it through covers, cow corner, long off, long on...

    It's really really hard being a fast bowler in the death nowdays.

    Spinners don't have it much better. They can keep a short third man and short fine leg right at the edge of the circle, and use the 4 men to cover all the front-foot hitting zones, but then all it takes it one delivery dragged short, or one well executed paddle sweep/late cut, and suddenly it's an expensive over.
    JBMAC and smalishah84 like this.

  12. #12
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    Nobody ever says "oh that was the attempted yorker" when a half volley or a full toss gets smashed though
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend zorax's Avatar
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    Also, keep in mind a guy like Arafat has decades of experience bowling the yorker. He can pull it out when he wants to and bowl it where he wants to no issue.


    Younger fast bowlers don't have the same skill set, and I believe they are better off using the skills they do have -pace, bounce, accuracy on a length- when bowling in the death rather than attempting yorkers. They would probably concede a lot more doing the latter.

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    You also have to remember that the game is reduced to 10 overs and it's still raining when they played so they have to deal with a constantly wet ball. Not exactly the most bowler friendly conditions.
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    International Coach hendrix's Avatar
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    Keep in mind power play overs have meant that teams' specialist death bowlers have fewer remaining overs to work with and that sometimes the 3-5 bowling option has to be utilized.

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