Do you want to become the bowling spearhead of your team?
I can understand the feeling. I had the same one but things weren’t working out for me. Then something happened which made me into the strike bowler and the pace spearhead of my team. Read on, learn from my experiences and help yourself to become a strike bowler too.
A couple of years ago I was a fast bowler with decent (not furious) pace. I used to open the bowling and take wickets swinging the new ball.
The problem was I leaked runs. I took wickets but it was never really satisfying when I couldn’t stop the flow of runs.
On paper I was a strike bowler, but practically I had something lacking.
I got frustrated; as I’m sure you have been in your career. I decided to sort the problem out. It wasn’t difficult; I had deduced that I was attacking too much. I was bowling a lot fuller to invite drives. I did get the edges but leaked runs as well. I changed my strategy.
I no longer wanted to risk swinging the ball by pitching it up so I pulled my length back.
I started bowling defensively. The ball swung less and the batsmen had fewer balls to drive. All of a sudden I was a run stopping miser and not a strike bowler anymore.
Pick a side and have faith
Then I worked something out. I had to pick a side.
I either had to become a run stopping bowler or a strike bowler. The way I bowled, the way my team wanted me to bowl meant I could not be defensive and attacking at the same time.
I talked to the captain who reassured me. He had plenty of miserly bowlers. He wanted someone to take risks and take wickets. I decided to follow my obsession of taking wickets.
Now this is where the lesson comes in. I gave a lot of runs in the beginning but I improved. I started taking wickets regularly and after a while improved my economy rate as well.
The secret was I knew what I had to do. I knew my job in the team.
I no longer was a bowling afterthought. I stopped being just one option in many and started having an important job that nobody else could do.
My form and rhythm returned and I became a better all-round bowler by focusing on a single, crucial role in the team.
The season after my decision was made I was the spearhead of my team.
If you have the raw traits of a fast bowler and want the same for yourself then learn this lesson well and save yourself the pain.
Today’s article was written by a club fast bowler with many years experience playing in Pakistan.
For more tips on how to use roles to improve your game, get The Game Plan: How to Build a Winning Cricket Team by former first-class player and current club professional Adrian Shaw.