The 5th Ball Theory – Closing or Glory?

In limited over formats, so often the bowler will find themselves able to start an over well and contain the momentum for the first few balls.

From here though the interest is to who finishes the over with control. Is it with the bowler or the batsman.

Whether the batsman will take a risk to increase the scoring rate or if the bowler is able to mange to close the over out.

Recently at a Middlesex CCC training session, the author had some time to discuss this situation with Minal Patel, spin bowling coach at MCCC and Kent.

As in most cases of conversations around cricket tactics, the right and wrong can shift to suit a theory of preference. Overall though the outcome is determined by execution standard.

From Min’s perspective, he was firm on the view that when this point is reached, the spin bowler should revert to his stock delivery. Maybe vary the pace slightly. Avoid going for extra turn or bounce that may allow a deterioration in control of the wrist therefore opening error for line and length. Exactly what a batsman under pressure to score is sweating upon.

The stock delivery provides the bowler comfort and confidence of being able to manage the outcome. Giving up a single even of benefit if that keeps the batsman on strike to build pressure again in the next over.

This is sound in many ways. Additionally at this point is the encouragement for the bowler to make a simple adjustment to the field. Suggestion is to push a player back on the fence or alter the configuration of the boundary placements. As an example, place an extra man on the leg side fence to counter the batsman dragging the ball across in hope for the release.

Ultimately the intent is to reduce the boundary options so that momentum and control remain with the bowling side.

As an exercise with your bowling group, please use the following as a group “Game Sense” exercise to prompt the discussion around clarity in the situation and tactics.

Team is bowling in the middle overs of the innings. The opposition are in a reasonable position with only 2 wickets down and the scoring rate is under 4 per over.

Our bowler, right arm medium, has delivered 4 consecutive dot balls.

What tactic should the bowler apply?

What field position changes should apply?

What is a satisfactory outcome for the over from here?

About Andrew Walton

Cricket exposure as a player, coach, fan, observer, analyst & tragic! Coach at Melbourne Cricket Club. Academy coach at Karnataka Institute of Cricket, Bangalore.
This entry was posted in Execution, Game Sense, Tactics. Bookmark the permalink.

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