IPL Skills: How to Teach the Yorker
Yorkers will single-handedly win games of cricket in this year’s edition of the IPL. And they will do the same if you coach it well because the yorker is an exciting ball that can be practiced and developed through coaching routines and practices.
Malinga has made himself into one of the most valuable T20 players in the world in the IPL over the last 2 editions. It’s no shock to learn that he attempts over twice as many yorkers than any other bowler in the IPL.
Malinga is a diligent trainer and is often seen aiming his yorkers at targets before matches with unerring accuracy. Here’s how your bowling unit can copy his success.
T20 Yorker Bowling Coaching Kit
- 1 x Set of Multi-Coloured Cones
- 6 x Newish Balls
- 6 x Older Balls
- 1 x Whistle
Length for Yorkers
The most effective length for a Yorker is between 5 and 10cms in front of the crease.
This in contrary to the common idea that you should hit the crease line itself. Real life Hawkeye (from international level) and PitchVision data tells us this in terms of strike rate and economy.
Line of Yorkers
There are different lines of Yorkers that are deployed in IPL. The two most effective options are:
This is often bowled at players who prefer to use their arms and leverage to muscle the ball to the boundary. Tucking up this kind of batter will restrict the swing of the bat and is a highly viable wicket taking option.
The field set for this type of delivery often includes a deep fine leg as the bat can jam down on the ball and deflect past the short fine leg. The ball is less likely to be hit over mid-off if delivered relatively accurately. Coach your bowlers to have mid-off up on the edge of the circle as this position along with deep fine leg are the most likely field options.
Lasith Malinga, Charl Langeveldt and Alfonso Thomas all prefer to bowl this type of ball to this field set.
This yorker is bowled to batsmen who open up the stumps and set themselves to hit straight balls over cover or drag the ball over midwicket. Jacob Oram, Chris Gayle and Scott Styris are good examples of players who are less happy with the wider yorker as it makes them stretch, lose control and lose power.
Bowlers who execute this yorker well include Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan.
Ideally, we can train bowlers to deliver either ball type at will and also with a late change of decision. This is massively important so a bowler can react appropriately when a bowler moves around in the crease.
Yorker Decision Making Drill
Set a red cone straight in front of the stumps (5 to 10cms in front of the popping crease) and a blue cone on the same length just inside the off side wide line. Set a green cone 7-8 metres from the batters end stumps for the alternative ball type ( for example a slower Ball or back of a length).
Ask the bowler to hit the red cone with every ball unless given a whistle signal.
As the bowler runs up, about 2 paces prior to bound strike, the coach or team-mate has the following options:
- No blow on the whistle (hit the red cone)
- One blast on the whistle (hit the blue cone)
- Two blasts on the whistle (hit the green cone)
This drill helps develop decision making and over time, gives resources to the bowler that can use against good batters capable of creating hitting areas through movement in the crease.
Additional options that can be deployed (dependant on resource, the style of bowler and ability/age):
- Increase options for delivery types by placing an extra cone/s (Slower Ball Bouncer, Bouncer).
- Place a shoe down on the length for Yorker instead of a cone to increase realism
- Build a wheeled platform that holds a cone or shoe that can be pulled by rope to simulate movement in the crease.
- Incorporate both right-handed and left-handed simulation into the drills.
- Practice with both new balls and old balls as the yorker is a wicket taking option throughout the full 20 overs.
So, watch the IPL with interest, look out for the yorkers, how often they are deployed across 20 overs and see which bowlers execute their options most effectively.
Then use the drill options above to build awareness, competence and ability to perform skills under match pressure.
But most importantly; have some fun with the yorker, the most exciting ball in cricket!
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