Are you bowling aggressive dot balls?
Imagine a typical dot ball.
Perhaps you are thinking of the opening batsman shouldering arms to a ball outside off stump. Maybe you picture a workmanlike off-spinner having a good length ball pushed back with a textbook forward defensive.
The dot is the DNA of cricket. It happens when nothing else happens. It's part of the unique rhythm of the game. The bit that people who don't understand it scratch their heads and say "this is boring".
It's hard to imagine how dots can possibly be aggressive.
In most formats the dot is the king. There are far more balls where no runs are scored, and statistical analysis of these balls has shown that it can be where games are won and lost.
It's all to do with what happens when nothing happens. Because there are two types of dots.
The first dot is the one we all think of; the one where the batsman is in control. He or she doesn't have to play at it and it sails harmlessly past without comment.
The second dot is different. The batsman has to play because he is worried. This could be fear for his stumps or fear for his physical safety. Either way, he is playing at the ball.
It's those dots that directly correlate to wickets.
At least that's what analysts at the top level have found. Now every ball in international and county games are tracked and analysed, coaches at the cutting edge have started to spot trends and the aggressive dot is a big one.
It seems that the more times you make a batsman play, the more likely he is to get out.
Which seems like an obvious thing, but it certainly focuses the mind.
You stop thinking about bowling maidens as a way to 'build pressure' and start thinking about bowling balls that make the batsman play.
Sure, some of your aggressive minded balls might get smashed to the boundary because you got it wrong, but at least the batsman is playing at the ball and if he is doing that you are more likely to get him out compared to him leaving it.
So, make your dots aggressive and you will take more wickets.
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I am an off-spinner and I always thought that my job was to make the batsmen play the ball so it could be caught (mostly on the boundary). I do enjoy the clean bowl or LBW when they happen but I know that I have a better chance getting him out if I can get him to loft the ball into the air.
couldn't agree more with Paul
I can also add that a substantial percentage of offspinner "unhit" dot balls are ones that batsmen tried to whack and narrowly avoided being stumped!
To a leftie try and pitch outside off drifting it in