Batsmen plan out their hundreds in meticulous detail, but when was the last time you saw a bowler plan a five wicket haul?
For a five-fer can be planned too.
Like a hundred it’s not going to happen every week, but with the right tactics you can drastically improve your chances.
What bowler worth his salt wouldn’t be striving for 5 every game?
Use these tricks to improve your chances:
Adjust your line and length
The default setting for more bowlers is to pitch the ball up so it is hitting the top of off stump: A well-tested and reliable method of getting wickets.
So much so that even experienced bowlers don’t work on any other method, ever.
As you can imagine, this makes things inflexible when Plan A gets stuck. This happens when:
Most bowlers don’t ever practice making adjustments like switching to bowling yorkers or even going around the wicket.
Yet if you want those 5 wickets you have to be adaptable. So, think about the situations and wickets where you play.
What variations will help you best in your circumstance?
Once you have decided the best, make time in net sessions (about 20%) to work on your variations. You don’t need 12 different slower balls and a doosra. Just pick one or two things to do to mix it up that give you a better chance of a wicket.
Know your natural spell
All bowlers have a natural length of spell. The spinner may be able to wheel away for 15 overs at a time while the tearaway fast man is best in 3-4 over bursts.
Work out when you start to flag (even spinning fingers get tired in the end) and do your best to bowl in spells where you are at your best.
It’s a matter of preference and knowing your game.
If you have good stamina but need a couple of overs to get going one long spell is best for you in a day.
If you know you start well but tail off after half a dozen, don’t outstay your welcome, have a couple of spells instead.
I have even seen bowlers who prefer 3 short spells in a day as they feel like they are getting another chance.
Bowl as a pair
Finally, it’s important to think about what is happening at the other end.
Ideally, if you are looking for your 5 wicket haul, you want a bowler at the other end who compliments you by presenting different problems.
- A fast bowler combined with a spinner
- A left armer combined with a right armer
- A miserly bowler combined with a wild one
If you find yourself with the perfect bowling partner you can relax and work on your natural dismissal method.
If you are with someone similar to you, you may need to consider changing your role: for example if you are both tearaway quick, you could cut your pace, bowl cutters and look to tie and end up and frustrate the batsmen out.