Sometimes your bowling spell doesn't go to plan and the batsman is the one on the attack.
Now it's time to adapt our plan to take into account how and where the batsman is hitting the ball.
One option is to move a fielder or two around to cut off his favourite shot, and try and force him to play a shot he isn't so comfortable with. This will often lead to his dismissal.
Another option is to leave the field as it is. Instead back ourselves to dismiss him by adjusting our bowling strategy itself. Here we look at how to counter-attack four types of aggressive batsman:
1. The batsman who is playing aggressively against the spin
The batter is cutting and cover driving the off spinner, or playing across the line against the leg spinner. Here the percentages are with you, so simply keep spinning the ball as hard as possible to try and beat the bat. Probe for an error. Work in some simple variations and find the hole. Keep spinning the ball as much as possible. Eventually, he will make a mistake.
2. The batsman who is consistently playing with the spin
Here the batter is cutting and cover driving the leg spinner, and working the off spinner into midwicket. He has now left himself vulnerable to the ball moving in the opposite direction. The killer blow will come from beating the opposite side of the bat to the direction of turn. To do this, use either a googly to bowl him through the gate or an arm-ball to find the leading edge.
3. The batsman who is attacking with cross batted shots
Sweeping and pulling in the order of the day with this batter. The wrong ‘un or a big spinning stock ball will have little effect against the cross batted shots. In this case, we need to vary our flight - especially using topspin and backspin - to get the ball over or underneath the horizontal swing of the bat. A backspinner will get us a bowled or LBW. A top spinner will result in a top-edge or a nick behind.
4. The batsman who is charging down the track or slogging.
These two can be dealt with in the same way. You're looking for a stumping or an aerial shot resulting in a catch. Changes of pace are key here, so that batsman is unable to time his shot. Top spin will also create extra dip and bounce and make the ball more likely to go in the air. If you can make the ball move away from the batsman, you will also have a better chance of a stumping.
About the author: AB has been bowling left arm spin in club cricket since 1995. He currently plays Saturday league cricket and several evening games a week. He is a qualified coach, and his experiences playing and coaching baseball often gives him a different insight into cricket.
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