Last night was the first club net session of the year for Joe and I and it went well for both of us. Continuing from last November’s practices I kept it simple trying to recreate the accuracy with the line and length and was for the most part able to do so. I’ve moved away from any idea of my run-up and bowling being a beautiful thing and an exemplar of a correct bowling action, not that I don’t still aspire to that, it’s just that I know if I simply move to the crease in my own idiosyncratic way – warts and all, I can get the ball from one end to the other with it spinning quite hard – accurately. So it may not look pretty, but, it feels okay and it works that much better than anything else I’ve been trying for about 4 years it *seems.
Note the *caveat, this is in practice without a batsman most of the time. So, tonight was interesting in that the first time out with the new action against relatively good batsmen I was pretty successful. Primarily, my lines were tight, maybe a little full, but the variety gained through the use of two very distinct actions seemed to work very well.
The actions - #1. Very straight arm (vertical) with my wrist twisted as far round as possible so that as I gather the ball in front of my face with a cocked wrist my thumb is pointed almost at the batsman and I try as much as I can through the action to maintain that extreme position trying to spin the ball at the release point backwards like an orthodox back-spinner. It never does come out like that, but taking this approach allows me to release the ball with the ball spinning at 90 degrees to the direction like a square turning leg break. Bowling like this, I get what Shane Warne calls natural variation in that sometimes the ball comes out with a tilted seam so that it lands on the smooth surface and skids on -what others might call erroneously a ‘Slider’. Trying to explain this delivery is a nightmare and I tried to photograph it by way of explanation, but it failed and only confused the situation. In essence at the point of release I'm aiming to have the side of my hand pointing at the batsman rather like a karate chop action.
The nice thing about this is that variation factor and the batsman see it spinning at 90 degrees and are therefore anticipating the turn. But this one as far as I’m aware doesn’t do anything else like drift or dip.
Action #2 which for me is a recent revelation, is bowled with a more round-arm and lower arm action. Despite being so round armed and different I’m still able to bowl it with good accuracy, what it gives me that is so different to the other action is… Dip, bounce and turn and quite often…drift. So, in comparison with the other delivery looks very different and is very different characteristics-wise. So potentially a good combination at the level I play.
In the nets the use of the two caused most of those I bowled at problems, the one really good batsman Mike Blerkom dealt with them all and I was unable to get the ball past him. One of the round armed deliveries looked most threatening to him as he came down the wicket to get to the pitch of the ball and I asked ‘Did it dip’? And he said it had.
So overall, with the fact that this was the first time in ages against batsmen, I felt that it looked and felt very promising. I need to work more with the round-arm as that’s the one with dip, bounce and drift.