Dead pitches make for very dull cricket: Unless you learn how to spice things up.
My club is a perfect example. Pitches that have no pace or bounce means batsmen have plenty of time to handle stock line and length bowling.
Slips have little chance of a catch carrying.
Draws are commonplace, as is boredom.
It’s why our bowlers have started working on variations that help on slower pitches when it’s a stalemate:
Swing bowling - especially with the older ball - is a key weapon. Ideally you will have enough control to vary the amount of swing and the way it goes.
The variety in movement means you don’t have to adjust your length at all to keep the batsman in 2 minds.
The ball may not be carrying but you can counter that by having the keeper standing up and placing catchers in front of the bat. A good field includes:
Vary your pace
Another really simple tactic when you can’t get the ball to move is to hold the ball up a little or push it through a little while sticking to the same line and length as normal.
There is no need to make it a large change, just enough that the batsman can’t get used to the pace the ball is coming through.
For example if you bowl seam up, bowl with the same action but run your fingers down the seam as you release it to cut the ball so it comes out like a spinner. Spinners can do the opposite – holding the ball seam up so it goes with the arm.
With the keeper up, the impression is that it’s a bit faster than it looks when you push it through.
The number one thing to remember is not to change your action. If you look like you are firing it in the batsman gets an early warning and has a better chance of reacting early. And anyway, screwing up your face in a grimace doesn’t look good either.
Never get bored
When the ball doesn’t do much in the air or off the pitch it becomes frustrating as a bowler. Batsmen wait and wait then pounce on the bad ball.
However, you can take heart because although it’s hard to be bowled out on a slow pitch, it’s also hard to score runs.
That means you always have a fall back tactic, even when the ball never deviates with swing, seam or turn.
Bore the batsman out.
Set a squeeze field, bowl one side of the wicket, keep plopping the ball on the spot over and over.
It’s boring but it forces the batsman to do the work and if he has to play uncomfortable shots he is more likely to hit one up in the air or dance down the track and miss one.
In the battle of patience, the bowler usually wins. How many batsmen do you know who can play out a maiden comfortably? Big shots are never far away if you stay accurate.
Oh, and it helps to be lucky too. So keep the 4 leaf clover close to hand. You are in for a hard slog.