Preparation for the bowlers at the start of the innings often relies on stretching and a few practise balls, with the marking of the run-up left to necessity at the last minute.
Something my team started to do was to get the whole bowling attack to mark their run-ups together from both ends.
Why did we do this?
Firstly, from the batsmen’s point of view, seeing the whole bowling attack marking their run-ups together as a group has a psychological effect. Doing this together reinforces the notion to the batsmen that the attack works as a pack, and is very prepared for the task ahead.
Once the game is under way, a change of needs discussion and a little thought. But if the new bowler has already marked his run-up, all that is left to do is unload additional clothing to the umpire and he’s ready to go; no different to a bowler halfway through his spell.
This as a result will see the batsman rushed into the new change feeling less prepared than normal to face a new bowler.
For the bowler, this early marking up allows each bowler to focus on the perfect first delivery to hit the ground running; relinquishing any concerns of a faulty run up that needs to be remarked.
This mental preparation also allows the bowler to switch on at the start of the game knowing that they can be introduced into the attack at the drop of a hat. This is particularly important for the 2nd and 3rd change bowlers who often have a wait before their introduction.
Perhaps one of the biggest results of this method is the reinforcement of the notion that your bowlers work as a unit.
The importance for the batsman to work through the top of the attack to expose the lesser bowlers is quashed, as the preparation highlights to the batsmen that the 4th or 5th bowler is valued equally as the openers.
This tactic is implemented so easily; so really there is no excuse.
It shows great preparation within your team; and even for the fielders, shows that the bowling attack and the team as a whole is prepared and ready to perform.
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