Bowlers please tell me; what is exactly so scary about bowling around the wicket?
I've played club cricket and kept wicket for over 20 summers. I've watched dozens if not hundreds of bowlers from the prime position behind the stumps yet only a few have bowled round the wicket.
And those that have are mostly left arm spinners.
Right arm around umpire?
What causes this Around the Wicket Aversion Syndrome (AWAS for short)?
Maybe it's because it doesn't feel right to change what has always been done. If so, that's a shame because it's a brilliant way to slow down scoring and upset a batsman's rhythm.
It's harder to score runs
When a right arm bowler goes around the wicket to a right arm batsmen it becomes much harder to score runs.
Think about it from the point of view of an off spin bowler (although this also applies to in swing). The angle is much wider coming from way out away from the stumps. The ball then spins back and straightens ideally so the line is perfectly straight pitching on off, hitting off) when it gets to the batsman.
And if the ball is pitched up on off stump there is only one place a proper batsman will try and hit it; straight.
And you can set a field to that.
And the batsman needs to take risks to score.
It upsets the batsman
Just as bowlers are not used to going around the wicket, most club and school batsmen will have less idea how to face it.
It's uncomfortable and upsets rhythm. And we like doing that.
Balls that he or she can usually work off the legs for easy runs become risky. Will they swing back in and hit the off stump or stay on the same line going across the batsman?
Many batsmen won't think to open their stance when you go around the wicket and are closed off when you deliver the ball, making them prone to LBW or hitting very square on the leg side.
It seems to me to be a no-brainer to go around the wicket as a variation if you want to either dry up runs or break a big partnership.
So how do you get over your fear of the other side?
How to get used to bowling around the wicket
It's pretty simple because there are no major technical changes to be made. You use the same action, you just do it from the other side of the wicket, so it's purely a 'feel' thing.
If you don't like the feel of bowling around the wicket, then practice it until you do.
Start by going down to the nets without a batsman and take out your run up, bowling from the 'set' or 'one step' position standing at the crease.
Start from 15 yards if you are really struggling.
Get the feel for how much more you have to get your body round to make the ball land in the right place.
Then gradually move back to 18, 20 then 22 yards before walking in and bowling, jogging in and finally running in.
How long should all this take?
You can probably get a feel for it in 1 or 2 sessions of half an hour or so. Most experienced bowlers can get good enough to use it in a match in 2-5 sessions.
Once you can do it well, always finish a net session with a few balls around the wicket so you don't lose the feel.
Try it. It opens up a whole new side to bowling.
image credit: Gary_T_W