Cricket Bowlers

Bowling is one of the three main functions of a cricket team. When a team is bowling, they are also fielding. One player bowls at a time while the rest of the team fields.

Bowlers will bowl one over at a time. When they bowl, they bowl from the same end of the pitch each time. They cannot bowl two consecutive overs. During longer matches, the time between when a bowler starts bowling and when they finish is called a session.

The purpose of bowling is to get a batsperson out. To do this, the bowler must work with their captain and the other fielders. The position of the fielders and strategy of the bowler all contribute in getting a bats person out. Once a team has retired 10 batspeople, the innings are over.

Bowling Fundamentals

When bowling, a bowler will go through a series of motions as part of the act. They are:

  • The run-up
  • The planting of their front foot
  • The overarm toss
  • The delivery type

The run-up is usually one of two types. Fast bowlers will take a longer run-up to build momentum in order to throw the ball faster. A spin bowler will take a shorter run-up to give them more control over their wrist in order to spin the ball.

When planting their front foot, bowlers must make sure it does not extend past the crease. If they do so, the delivery is called a no-ball and the delivery is taken again and a run is given to the batting team. For an out to be given, the delivery must count.

The delivery has to be delivered overarm. The motion will differ for fast bowlers and spin bowlers. Fast bowlers arms are often straight so as to generate as much power while also maintaining accuracy. Spin blowers arms will bend which allows for more fine control over their wrist in order to generate rotations on the ball.

Before starting their run-up, bowlers will decide which type of delivery they want to try.


Wickets are another name for outs. Any time a batsperson is given out, the bowler who threw the delivery is given a wicket. This is regardless of what type of out is given.

The main types of wickets that a bowler can be directly responsible for are:

  • Bowled
  • Caught
  • LBW

When a bowler’s delivery hits the stumps directly from their throw, the batsperson is out. This is the simplest way a bowler can take a wicket.

If a batsperson hits the ball into the air and it is caught by a fielder (including the bowler), they are out. The wicket is attributed separately to both the catcher and the bowler unless they are the same person.

LBW stands for leg before wicket. If a batsperson places their leg between a bowler’s delivery and the stumps, and the ball was going to hit the stumps, the batsperson can be given out for an LBW.

Batspeople can be given out in a number of other ways as well.

Fast Bowling

Fast bowlers are bowlers who deliver the ball upwards of about 85mph. If the delivery style is the same but a ball is slower than that, it is usually referred to as medium pace bowling.

Both strategies have similar nuances. Fast and medium bowling are attempting to give batspeople very little time to make a decision on which shot they are trying to play.

There are three main nuances to fast bowling:

  • Swing
  • Seam
  • Cut

Swing is in reference to how the ball moves in the air and after the bounce. When a pitch allows for swing on the ball, it can cause the ball to move slightly in the air, confusing the batsperson. Inswing is when the ball moves toward the batsperson while in the air. Outswing is the opposite.

Fast bowlers can use the emboldened seam on the ball to create unpredictability. If the ball bounces directly on the seam, it can make movements that the bowler and batsperson aren’t expecting, making the ball very difficult to hit.

Cut is almost the opposite of swing in that the ball will make the opposite movement of what the batsperson might expect. In other words, if the ball looks like it will inswing, the bowler can throw it so that the ball does the opposite, further confusing batspeople.

Spin Bowling

Spin bowling requires more skill to perform than fast bowling. There are two main types of spin bowling:

  • Off spin
  • Leg spin

Usually, a spin bowler is one of these two types. They reference which way the ball spins when it lands. Off-spinners will spin the ball so that it moves from the off side to the leg side for right-handed batspeople. Leg spin sees the ball move the opposite way for right-handed batspeople.

Cricket Bowling Terminology

  • Pace Bowling
  • Spin Bowling
  • Swing
  • Seam
  • Off Cutter
  • Off Spin
  • Leg Spin
  • Run-Up
  • Bound
  • Coil
  • Release
  • Follow Through
  • Length
  • Bouncer
  • Short Pitched
  • Good Length
  • Full Length
  • Yorker
  • Bowling Analysis
  • Bowling Average