In this new series on coaching Twenty20 cricket, I reveal the successful concepts that I have used with numerous teams over the years; from Internationals to club level.
Part two is for the bowlers.
T20 Cricket is a daunting place for a bowler. Yet it’s an opportunity to excel if you have plans, clear thinking and understand your strengths. Here are 6 things you can teach your bowlers to maximise every ball.
1. Lawson’s 3 Questions
Geoff Lawson, the Australian Fast Bowler and Former-Pakistan Coach believes that all bowlers should ask themselves 3 simple questions in preparation for each ball:
- What delivery type am I going to bowl?
- Where am I going to bowl it?
- What field am I going to bowl it too?
How many times do we see a bowler under pressure bowl a delivery without considering all of these questions?
Coach your bowlers to use the walk back to their mark as a time to ask these questions, and make the necessary adjustments before delivering the ball.
2. Bowl your best ball most often
It doesn't matter what the ball is, it's your best one so make sure it is used!
We all know that Malinga's best delivery is a yorker. He attempts - and generally succeeds at - more than twice as many yorkers as any other bowler.
As a result of bowling his best ball most often, he gives himself the best chance of being successful.
3. Get your best variation in early
If Malinga attempted to bowl 24 yorkers each IPL game, the opposition would be able to counteract it easily.
It is also important to get your best variation in early.
Lasith goes to a slower ball or bouncer early. This upsets the timing of the batter and introduces doubt into his mind. The seamer is dictating the game rather than reacting to batter pressure.
4. Bowl away from the bat swing
Hampshire, Rajasthan Royals and England bowler, Dimi Mascaranhas taught me this one.
The batter’s swing generally goes from off to leg when he is swinging hard for boundaries; the good old fashioned cow shot.
In this situation Dimi found that it was better to deliver a slower ball that take the ball away from the swing of the bat.
For Dimi, it’s a cutter, rolling his fingers down the ball to make it cut away.
Similarly, left arm seamer Nathan Bracken would bowl lots of orthodox fast spinners to right handed batters attempting to swing the ball over the leg side.
5. Predictable is good
There is nothing wrong in telegraphing the ball that you are going to deliver.
Stuart Broad is a fine example of this.
Stuart often resists in having fine leg up in the circle at the death as he mixes his short ball pace so well. He can afford to have mid off up in the circle as he can hammer the middle of the pitch with his fast and slow bouncers.
It takes one heck of a shot to get that height of ball over mid-off even if you know it’s coming!
Charl Langeveldt demonstrates the same principle with his field.
Charl is a confident leg stump yorker bowler who can keep his mid off up and fine leg back with a mix of his favourite delivery and bouncers. Charl has a fine leg and deep backward square leg to cover those delivery types.
Again, it takes a great shot to get those two balls over mid-off.
6. Create time
Poor decisions in T20 Cricket are made because of people being under time pressure. The aim for any side that I work with in T20 is to create 5 minutes of thinking time over the 20 overs.
This is achieved by:
- Rushing between overs
- Knowing where your fielding positions are before the side goes out to field for each bowler
- Returning the ball quickly when it goes for a boundary
- Celebrating a wicket as soon as it is taken and being ready for the batter as he arrives at the wicket.
Some bowlers even have 2 run-up lengths so they can sneak a ball in before a batter is totally ready, you have to be good at this though and know that you can still deliver your skill from a shorter approach.
All of these tactics take the time pressure off of the bowler, place the pressure back on the batter and create time during the 20 overs for appropriate decision making.
This list is not exhaustive so please leave a comment and let me know some things that you have used successfully as a coach.