5 Ways to Bowl Against Blacksmith Batting | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

5 Ways to Bowl Against Blacksmith Batting

The blacksmith is the clichéd image of the burly guy in the village team who goes out to smash everything from beginning to end.

Mostly he fails and it’s a mess. He swipes across a straight ball and is sent packing.

Sometimes he succeeds, especially if he has a reasonable technique to go with the power. When that happens you have to outsmart and out-skill the batsman.

Here is how:

1. A do-or-die attitude

When you begin a spell with the blacksmith at the crease you have to kill or be killed; bowl well or you will leak runs.

Throw everything you have. Bowl your heart out. Gear up and be on top of your game. Put more energy, effort and thought into you’re bowling. If you have the do-or-die attitude and you put everything you have, you will become a lethal weapon for your captain.

2. Observe the batsman

To outdo a blacksmith you first have to know what he is doing.

  • What are his technical limitations?
  • Does he favour leg or off side?
  • Does he calculate his hitting or he is slogging blindly?

When you know all these things, it becomes easy for you to script out your bowling strategy. You start bowling to the batsman in his least favourite area and get him out in no time.

3. Surprise and outplay the batsman

After the observing the batsman, when you get to know his strengths and weaknesses, it time for you to take your shots. Make life hard for him by bowling in the areas he doesn’t want you to bowl.

If a batsman favours hitting over long on and long off, drop in short and limit his shot making. Similarly if he is good in hooking, pulling or cutting, bowl fuller lengths to him.

4. Play the yorker/bouncer card

No matter how skilled a batsman is accurate yorkers and bouncers make them tremble. These two deliveries are ideal against slogging blacksmiths. They not only bog the batsman down but multiply the chances of him getting out.

5. Vary your speed

If you are bowling accurate lines according to batsman’s weaknesses, throwing in yorkers and bouncers, it’s not a bad idea to slip a slower ball every now and then to surprise the batsman. Also If he doesn’t know what’s coming next: a slower ball or at regular speed, he cannot pre-meditate a shot. 

All the great bowlers in the world like Dale Styen, Umar Gul and Shaun Tait etc, bowl exceedingly well against slogging. If you develop the skill of countering the slogs, you not only become a plus point for your team’s bowling attack you also sit in the heads of the opposition.

If they know that they won’t be able to score when they need to, they will obviously become very nervous and more likely to fail.

For more tips on bowling against aggressive batsmen get Beating the Odds: How to Succeed As a Twenty20 Fast Bowler The online coaching course from Ian Pont featuring videos, drills and worksheets on how to keep your figures looking good against big hitters.

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Personally when i play club cricket i notice quite alot of players clog randomly. As a leg spinner i like pushing my speed up to the maximum whilst keeping the mid on and off back with a man in the covers and then suddenly drop one shorter but fuller. Hope this helps Smiling

Sounds like a good tactic, but what do you mean by 'shorter but fuller'?

I was watching a Sunday casual team net on Monday evening and they had a player who was your stereotypical 'backsmith'. Everything was smote to leg regardless of length or line. It had me a little transfixed as in some ways it was cricket at its purest, no coaching or even pretence of coaching, just man and willow against ball.

Over the years I've used a few methods when faced with batsman of this ilk. A fast, full pitched ball on leg stump with men back on the boundary in case they do get hold of it. Off cutters started on off stump and bowled to go through at somewhere near thigh height. Straight bouncer with men again on boundary. Of just variation of pace. Some days though you just have to accept that it is their lucky day and no matter what they'll hit the ball or just get enough on it to survive.

Sorry, I mean shorter (smaller batsmen) and fuller (taller batsmen) Laughing out loud

Good read David (although it was stretching my mental capacity!).

I myself have been on the wrong side of a blacksmith's beating (I mean 0/100 off 12 overs once).

I'm thinking that yorker practice will go a long way to preventin this.

There are always two methods of response - either through changing your bowling or through chainging your field. If the guy is bashing length balls, then bowl something else - yorkers, bouncers, slower balls etc. If he is hitting a gap in the field, the plug the gap and see if he's got the ability to hit the ball elsewhere - chances are he hasn't and he will get himself out trying.

Unless your carefully placed long on, deep midwicket and deep square leg watch it sail over their heads. But when that happens there isn't much you can do, those tactics are solid.

I reckon a yorker outside the off stump is a very underused delivery to sloggers. Its quite hard to hit it to leg side. You can go even wider outside off if he really favours the leg side. Get a third man in to guard against any edges going for four, get a good offside field and you make it very hard for the batsman. This all depends on having a bowler who can hold his bottle and bowl good yorkers at will. It is a skill in itself to bowl a yorker away from the stumps.

I think the key is to decide which side (leg or off) that the batsman favours and set the field accordingly and bowl consistently on the weaker side. One should make the slogger do things that he is not comfortable with (eg: hitting to an area which he doesnt normally prefer).
Another option as David rightly mentioned is to see whether the slogger likes full length balls or short pitched stuff and bowl to his weakness. Any day a good yorker and an accurate bouncer (provived you are good enough to hurry the batsman) could do the job too.

But one thing a bowler must understand is that a blacksmith offers a chance for taking wickets!

When the blacksmith has been let loose the skipper often throws me the ball out of desperation.

The idea is for you to GET HIM OUT. I myself tend to give the ball some Bishan Singh Bedi air. Every now and again I will lose the plot and drop it half way down, but even if this ball skids a bit and gets some turn, you can get the blacksmith.

I myself bat a little like a blacksmith. The overall key to getting a blacksmith out is either bowling him, or catching him (I mark a foot outside leg to take guard). To this sort of player you must bowl at his body low full tosses and long hops at the body are better than length balls on the top of off stump here!

To this sort of batsman (one like myself) a well placed slow-medium yorker will certainly rattle the sumps and send him packing in a rage of foul mouth expletives. Not only have you sent this hacker packing, he may just have to purchase a new stick after that off field blow up!

Agreed. Add "confidence under pressure" to that mix because if he hits you for 2 sixes and is caught on the boundary going for number three, you have won the battle.

Yes, if you can hold your bottle when the batsmen is putting you over cow corner, you have an even chance. It is a hard skill to master.

On the other hand, as a batsman, it could be a good time to start sledging the bowler and really put his mind in a mess. It could be very subtle, but it will have an effect.

Yes, it's body language that is the key. You are more likely to make a bowler's head go if you ooze confidence like Richards used to do (or Pietersen). Then you don't need to say a word, just keep hitting boundaries.

I wanted to ask what the ideal run up for a fast bowler?

One that gets you to the crease smoothly and with momentum.

Another ball that I personally think is underused is the slower ball bouncer .