What is a good length to bowl?
It doesn't matter if you bowl occasional leg spin or you open for a Premier League team; you want to bowl a good length.
Consist accuracy is one of the non-negotiable Laws of bowling success.
In the past coaches have always stuck to the mantra of 'putting the batsman in 2 minds'.
A good length is the ball that the batsman finds hard to decide to go forward or back to play it. And doubt leads to mistakes.
In modern times tools like PitchVision are allowing us to take this further.
We can see where different bowlers are pitching the ball, and what success they have at different lengths, which helps build a picture up of where all bowlers should be aiming.
And while this helps, in reality length is not to do with where the ball pitches at all.
A good length can only be measured by where the ball passes the stumps.
Slow and low pitches will see a good bowler dropping his length back a little; quicker and bouncier pitches need the ball to be fuller to pass the same place.
The length has altered a great deal, but the end result is the same.
So if you are no longer thinking about where the ball pitches, what is the target area you are aiming for?
In most cases you will be looking to bowl the classic 'hitting the top of off stump'; an area about 25cm square on and just outside the off stump.
In training you can use tools like PitchVision, or a towel hung behind the net to aim at. This will allow you to work out where to pitch the ball to hit that target.
Remember though, pitches do vary, so you need to be able to adjust your length to the conditions.
Practice bowling a little full and a little short to get used to these minor adjustments.
Then next time your captain asks you to put it on a length from the first ball, you will be ready to oblige with control, accuracy and wickets.
For more advice on consistently accurate pace bowling, including drills, purchase Andy Caddick's online cricket coaching course: Consistency and Rhythm: Fast Bowling Technique from PitchVision Academy.