This article is part of "The complete guide to cricket field settings" series.
The fast bowling inswing field is even more rare than the outswing field, however it can be effective for a genuinely fast bowler (at club level that is around 80mph or 129kph) on a pitch that is very quick.
The idea is all out attack where the bowler holds the advantage and wickets are the main consideration. For example: Opening the bowling in a declaration game with a new ball.
Bowling to this field
With an attack rating of 96.4 out of 100, this field requires extremely accurate bowling and enough pace/swing to cause the batsman serious problems.
There are two possible areas to bowl.
- Standard 'corridor of uncertainty' on and just outside off stump with the length at the fuller end of 'good': Somewhere between 11-14m from the bowler's popping crease.
- Leg stump line (or just outside) at a similar length.
With the first corridor line you are looking to get the batsman to play forward in both defence and attack. If the balls swings back in both LBW and bowled come into play. If the ball holds its line the slips and gulley will get catches. Any extra bounce will fly to one of the short leg fielders.
Choosing a leg stump line can be frustrating for strong off side club players, especially if they are poor off their legs. You are less likely to get LBW decisions but bowled is still possible. The short leg cordon is ready for any error. Leg slip is a key position here and requires a fielder with excellent judgement as their view of balls is restricted.
Whichever line you choose, too full is more forgivable than too short. Even a wide half volley can easily be edged to slip by a new batsman.
This field is so attacking it is only used for short periods so variations are few. You simply don't have time before changing to something else. Your main variety will be the yorker if anything.
You can also go wider on the crease and bowl an off stump line. If you go wide enough it will angle in to the batsman and provide a different challenge from a close-to-the -stumps leg stump line.
You can't make a mistake bowling to this field. Avoid bowling:
- Bouncers. These balls are easy to hook as you have no protection. It's also dangerous to the short legs.
- Short of a length/long hop. Anything too short (around 11m or closer to the bowler's popping crease) can be cut or pulled easily by most batsmen. The better the back foot player, the closer they can cut and pull giving less room you have for error.
- Slower balls.All the advantages in this field are for fast, full bowling. If you want to bowl any slower variation you don't need this field. Change the field before you bowl a slower ball.
- If you bowl a wider line outside off stump, move a short leg to 4th slip.
- If you bowl a leg stump line, 3rd slip can move to a saving one position on the leg side.
- Consider a 2nd gulley instead of third slip.
- Bowlers who want more drive protection can move a short leg to mid on.
Batting against this field
The conditions are against the batsman here so a strong defence and a patient approach is vital. The bowler is looking to swing the ball through the gap so go forward with bat and pad together. Also play the ball down with soft hands to try and counter the extra bounce.
Look to drive genuine half volley length only and avoid playing at wider half volleys: The slip cordon is waiting for the edge. The on drive or very straight off drive are low risk options.
Punish anything short with pull shots, even top edges are safe unless it goes straight up in the air. However, take care with the cut. It is safe in most circumstances but an edge will go to hand behind the stumps.
Bide your time as just 1 or 2 well struck boundaries will be enough to move attacking fielders out.
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