Yesterday we examined how batsmen can adjust to playing in wet weather. Today we talk about bowling in the rain.
As yesterday, the situation is the same: The outfield is wet but playable, the light is poor and there is a risk of showers. This time you are bowling.
The disadvantages of bowling in these conditions are many. The ball will get wet quickly, fielding is hard meaning you could leak runs easily and you can’t be sure of your footing.
For all bowlers, the condition of the ball is critical. There is no substitute for keeping the ball dry and clean. This might well be a losing battle, especially in drizzle. Nevertheless, the minimum you should be doing to keep the ball as dry as possible as long as possible is:
- Cleaning mud and dirt from the seam
- Wiping the moisture off the ball with a towel
Both these things are legal and, in fact, vital to bowling in these conditions. In addition, make sure there is sawdust around for putting into run ups and footholes.
Swing and seam
Lateral movement in the wet usually comes from seam movement if anything. However, as it is overcast you might find the ball swinging early on. If you do have the luck of swing then the best way to have made the most of it is to make sure you don’t waste it.
Make the batter play early in the innings by ensuring you have done enough bowling from your full run up before play (it reduces the chance of looseners). You will know individually how much that is.
Even if there is no swing early on, you can still get wickets. Bowling line and length will show you how the ball is behaving quickly. It might seam around. Depending on the wicket or how much rain there has been on the day you might see it skid on or stop.
Either way, you can set intelligent fields and wait for the batters to make mistakes.
Mistakes are most likely after an interruption for rain, so look for the batsman who thinks they can carry on where they left off and plot their demise.
There is probably not a great need for variations, as these types of games tend to be low scoring. However there are circumstances where yorkers and slower balls can be used, especially at the death of an innings.
Spinning in the rain
Wet weather means no spin most of the time. That said, spinners can still have a role. It’s not just about firing the ball in and acting as a slow medium pacer either. You can throw the ball up to tail-enders to induce failed big hits.
It’s hard to grip the ball when it’s wet so you may find yourself losing you accuracy as a spinner. If it gets so bad you are really struggling to bowl consider adjusting your grip and not tweaking the ball at all if it means you can control your line better.
As long as you are bowling straight, the pitch could do enough to get away with poor length, but poor line is easier to hit for any batter.
An exception is the drying wicket, or the old style sticky dog. If the wicket is uncovered (or poorly covered in the case of some club games) and it dries after heavy rain it will both turn and bounce with unreadable inconsistency. If you ever find yourself in one of these situations, get the ball as soon as you can and refuse to give it up.
Photo credit: asperse