This article is part of "The complete guide to cricket field settings" series.
This is a very attacking field that is rarely seen, even at the top level. It requires 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.
Bowling to this field
The main aim is draw an edge to the keeper/slip-cordon. It can be effective because the large gaps in the off side & the away swing often prove too tempting for batsman to resist committing to an aggressive shot. Once they see the line they can quickly judge that the ball will miss the stumps and with free arms attempt to play a full blooded shot.
The bowler is aided by the extra bounce of the new ball and speed off the pitch making late shot adjustments difficult. The batsman may go through with the aggressive shot when not quite in position or at the last moment decide to leave the ball or attempt to defend instead also leaving them out of position.
The lack of defence, especially on the leg side means no bowler should attempt this field unless they have excellent control of line and length.
The Stock Ball
The bowler should look to bowl a stock ball at a solid good length keeping the ball just full enough to draw the batsman forward. The line should be from Middle to Off swinging away: Committing the batsman to playing a shot with the swing drawing the bat away from the body.
Once the batsman has fallen into the rhythm of your stock ball, use variation in length to draw the batsman’s error.
- Set the scene with one shorter to force the batsman back into his crease and less confident at moving forward, then go slightly fuller and wider (Off to just outside Off).
- Slightly shorter and faster: The batsman commits forward but cannot get to the length allowing the ball to swing/cut further before reaching the bat and taking an edge to slips.
- Go wide on the crease and angle inwards without swing to cramp the batsman on the back foot taking an edge.
- Bouncer. Aim to dig the ball in and go for the ribs or chin.
- Yorker. Aim for the batsmen's feet. Classically this swings in but straight is just as useful.
- Overpitching and you are going to be conceding boundaries.
- Straight balls that don't swing away or leg side deliveries and the batman can push into the open field.
Batting against this field
Patience is key. Do not be afraid to let most balls go. Wait for the overpitched ball to drive or the short ball to pull or cut. Avoid/resist the ‘slash’ off-drive away from your body - this is the shot the bowler is hoping you'll attempt.
If tied down, frustrate the bowler by pushing for easy singles to the vacant mid wicket and mid-on until you force a field change. For anything on leg stump, make use of the pace of the ball to turn it behind square and you may beat the fine leg for a boundary. Watch for the Yorker and in all cases take each ball on its merits. If the bowling is loose punish the bowler for his arrogance!
- Fine leg can be brought up to leg slip or backward short leg.
- Short leg can be moved in front of square if the wicket has variable bounce or moved backwards of square if the batsman deflects balls of his legs in the air.
- Mid off can be brought in to a close catching position behind square on either side. Some bowlers don't like this as they want protection from the drive.
- Some bowlers prefer a mid on and mid off. You can use fine leg for a mid on.
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