How many times has a left arm seamer been picked because they offer “variety” to a cricket team?
In a world dominated by right-arm over medium pace bowlers, the promise of a different angle to batsmen is too tempting for selectors. And it works. Many batsmen find it hard to adapt to the change of angle. The left arm bowler gets more wickets.
It’s exactly this reason - creating problems for batsmen - that means any variety will help your team. Here are a few more ways.
Always pick a spinner
There are plenty of excuses not to pick a spinner. Maybe you don’t have any good ones in your club. Maybe the pitch is green. It doesn’t matter; you always have a spinner.
This is because batsmen who play spin well are rare. Even an average spinner causes problems simply by the fact there is less pace on the ball. Tail-enders especially can’t resist. Even if the ball does not turn an inch, there is still flight, dip, drift and variations of pace. Combine that with left arm spin and you are looking at a hero for all conditions.
Yes, there is a risk to blindly playing a spinner. You may be left with three seamers to do most of the work if your spinner does nothing. Yet, without that variety you will always be left wondering if you could have done more.
Get out of the corridor
Whatever arm or pace the bowlers use, you can offer variety through changes like going around the wicket, bowling yorkers and slower balls or just setting unusual fields: Anything that gets the batter out of their rhythm for a little while.
It may not work but as the saying goes; if you do what you always did, you get what you always got.
Of course, you might be confident enough with the skill of your reliable right arm over pitch it up medium pace bowlers to never worry. I'm willing to bet there are times when that extra effort was worth the risk. You can always find something to to do.
Change the bowling
Which brings us onto the last tip: If nothing is happening, change the bowling.
Give your main bowlers time to get a batsmen out, especially your spinners, but you also need to get that feel for when the batsmen are finding it easy: scoring runs without looking like getting out.
That is the time to switch to another bowler.
Keep spells short to confuse the batsman as much as you can. You can even swap ends with bowlers. The change might just be enough variety.
At club and school level you have to work with what you have. But even if you just have three right arm seamers and an occasional slow bowler you can create variety. It's not an exact science (it wouldn't be as much fun if it was) so get creative and never stop thinking when you cross that white line. You never know what might work.