Why Hating a Tin Can Will Make You a Better Death Bowler | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Why Hating a Tin Can Will Make You a Better Death Bowler

I keep an empty tin can in my cricket bag. I hate it but I keep it in there all the same.

Having that can makes me thrilled and terrified to be a death bowler; to find out why I need to tell you a story.

Two seasons ago I was my team’s reluctant death bowler. Frankly, I was poor. Despite leaking runs we didn’t have a good bowler to take my place. My team were stuck with me. I would stand at the top of my mark in the last few over dreading how my figures would look.

I was letting the team down by giving momentum to our opponents. If you have played cricket at any level you know how horrible a feeling that is.

I wanted to become an asset to my captain, not a disaster. Being a fast bowler, my role in the team was important. My first spell would be good with the new ball. I bowled with decent pace and swing. I took wickets.

Then I would let everyone down by giving away too many runs at the end.

My confidence was completely shaken.

How things turned around

I realised I had to do something. I couldn’t wait for the gods of form to bestow their gift on me. That may never happen.

I decided to watch videos of fast bowlers especially the ones who bowl at the end. I watched Lasith Malinga, Umar Gul, Dale Steyn, James Anderson and many other good bowlers. I noticed what they were doing.

I realised yorkers were a key weapon.

I went alone to practice and with my tin can as a target I would practice yorkers until the sun went down. Every spare moment I had was dedicated to hitting that can.

I started to hate the can.

I started to hate the batsmen who were making me do all this extra practice.

Halfway through my solitary vigil I would spend a few minutes working on my slower ball. It wasn’t a clever ball; I just ran my fingers down the seam to turn an away swinger into an off cutter. I didn’t practice it as much as yorkers but it broke up the painful monotony. I knew all I really had to do was get it straight.

I thought perhaps my plan was too simple. A yorker and a slower ball are hardly world-class.

I still carried on playing but something was happening.

Every week I noticed I was getting better. The boundaries were dropping and the wickets were increasing. I was bowling to a field. I wasn’t giving width.

It wasn’t all perfection but I was feeling better about being a death bowler.

Then it happened.

I had been practicing hard for weeks and results were alright if unspectacular. I came on to bowl at the death with the opposition 6 down. I bowled 3 overs, took 3 wickets and went for just 7 runs, sending the number 11’s stump flying backwards with a pinpoint yorker even Malinga would have liked. It was pure hatred.

We celebrated well that night.

Later, when I got home I pulled that tin can out of my cricket bag and whispered a word of thanks. I still hate it, but I know what it represents.

Today’s article was written by a club fast bowler with many years experience playing in Pakistan.

For more tips, techniques and drills to become a better death bowler get Beating the Odds: How to Succeed As a Twenty20 Fast Bowler, the online coaching course from Ian Pont. 

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Lasith Malinga practices his yorkers by putting a shoe at the popping crease and aiming at it. That seems like a very good way to practice yorkers and it will help you with the visualisation aspect. I wouldn't be using my best pair of shoes though.

I think the idea of practicising your bowling without a batsman is underrated.

For a bowler to really concentrate on practacising bowling in specific areas and mastering specific variations bowling in an empty net removes all other distractions and lets you focus on the key element ie ' 'getting it in the right place'.

All you need is a proper measurment/target to confirm where that 'right place' is... whether a shoe, a can, a mat, or a Pitchvision system or anything.

I used to use a folded picnic blanket placed on a good length... that was my 'zone'


this tip really works!!!!!!!!!!1 i have tried it...the moment i aimed it it always used 2 end up in dere

this tip really works!!!!!!!!!!the moment i used 2 aim the tin can it always used 2 end up in dere

OK Sarjak i'm sure you've bowled alot against "Yusuf or Polard" thanks for the tips i'll use that next time i come up against them on the village green.

Aiming at there lower legs too isn't that going to result in a low full toss on leg stump begging to be hit to the boundary?

Whole point of this article seems to be about learning to actually bowl a good yorker through practice and hard work.

Well spotted bagel, and you are right, the village green is a good place to use the yorker as so many club layers just can't play it.