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Learn About Types of Bowling in Cricket

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When it comes to sports in India, cricket has always been at the forefront. Emerging from being just another game, cricket has become a religion with followers from all sects of India. Regardless of your age, at some point in your life, you have dreamed  of becoming one of the elite 11. From the gullies to the stadiums, each one of us has played cricket at least once. However, when it comes to technical terms and knowledge, the locals haven’t understood the game well enough especially for bowling.

Be it Yuzi Chahal or boom boom Bumrah, you name it, we deliver it.

We can divide bowling in cricket into two broad categories: fast bowling and spin. Within these categories, there are subcategories such as swingers and fast pace bowlers in fast bowling, and wrist and finger spinners in spin bowling. A cricket team requires both types of bowlers in order to excel against their opponents.

Without further delay, let’s delve into it.


The official masters of speed in cricket are pace bowlers. They have the ability to bowl at speeds of 150 kmph or even more in some cases. In the past, pace bowlers relied solely on their bowling speed. However, as batting techniques improved and bats became thicker and heavier, pace bowlers needed to enhance their skills to survive. This led to the emergence of additional delivery techniques, such as seam and swing bowling.


Bouncers, one of the most dangerous deliveries in bowling, are known to show the batsman stars in daylight. By pitching the ball at a short length, bouncers can do more harm than getting a wicket. The infamous accident of Phillip Hughes is enough to prove its lethal nature.

Still, it is one of the most crucial deliveries for a pace bowler to prove his/her domination in the game.


The regular stock fast delivery is not enough for troubling a world-class batsman; that’s where the need for the slight movement for the ball in the air is felt. A cricket ball is known to swing in the air. It deflects from its regular trajectory in the air due to the principles of aerodynamics. The aim here is to move the ball towards the batsman in the air after it has been released. Additionally, angle can help further, and in milliseconds, the ball starts chasing the batsman down with this swing, and the wickets are gone.


Instead of hitting the stumps, the outswinger looks for the edge of the bat for a catch-out in the slip. Swing bowlers also use it as a set-up against batsmen. A few outswing deliveries make the batsman assume that the next delivery is going to be the same, but that’s when an inswinger comes in out of nowhere and BOOM! back to the pavilion.

Reverse swing

Reverse swing is a bit tricky. The swing observed in inswing and outswing deliveries is typically prominent during the early overs when the ball is new. As the ball gets older, it becomes difficult to make it swing. But an opposite phenomenon embarks new hopes for swing bowlers. Typically after 40-45 overs, the ball starts to swing from the shiny side, unlike the new ball which swings from the rough side, which makes an outswinger an inswinger and vice versa.

Zaheer Khan has been a phenomenal magician of reverse swing for India. People from the neighborhood know Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis as the deadliest reverse swingers of all time.

Off and Leg cutter

Imagine a fast bowler deciding to bowl spin bowling out of a sudden, that’s what we can call a cutter ball as. The bowler uses the off-cutter as a slower bowl by rolling their fingers over the seam. Same as an off-spin ball, the ball moves from left to right (from the bowler’s viewpoint). Leg cutter – Similar to a leg spinner, the ball moves from right to left (from the bowler’s viewpoint).

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The purpose of this delivery is to beat the batsman twice so that he can fall into one of the traps planted. First, the variation in the speed of the ball deceives the batsman. Even if he is able to figure it out, another trap is waiting for him with the change in direction of the ball after it bounces off the pitch. Mustafizur Rahman completely destroyed Indian batsmen in 2015 by taking 6 wickets with his cutters.


This can be called the deadliest weapon a fast bowler can have in his armory of variations when bowled perfectly. When the ball is bowled directly at the base of the stumps with almost no space for the batsman to dig into, it ends up demolishing the stumps. But the margin of error is so small that just a little mistake of 2-3 cm in height, and the batsman can send your deadliest weapon right out of the ground. 

Looking at the current scenario, Bumrah is the best deliveryman of Yorkers in the world. No need for an explanation on that… period.


Knuckleball is another variation of the slower ball that fast bowlers use to deceive the batsman with the change in speed of bowling. The question arises: With the availability of slower balls, what prompted the need to introduce the knuckleball as a new variation?

The answer to the question lies in the grip through which the ball is held in the hands of the bowler. The grip of the slower ball can easily be traced by the batsman by looking at the hand of the bowler, and they can predict the delivery. But the knuckleball is held between the tips of the index finger, middle finger, and thumb, which looks like the position of a normal delivery. When the ball is thrown from this position, it appears as a normal delivery from the batsman’s point of view, deceiving the batsman into playing the wrong shots.


Off break and leg break

Off break – The off break or an off-spin ball spins towards the stumps for a right-handed batsman. This is the general delivery of off-spin bowler bowls. The bowler normally pitches the ball outside the stumps, and then the magical spin carries the ball towards the stumps.

Leg break – Who can forget the ball of the century delivered by Shane Warne in 1993 against England? A ball bowled outside leg stump that spins to the off side is what a leg break is. Shane Warne delivered an absolute beauty that is renowned as the toughest delivery for a right-handed batsman to handle.


What can a batsman do when a typical off-spin ball, when leaving the hand of an off-spinner, out of a sudden, decides to behave as a leg-spin ball after it lands?

Literally nothing except going back to the pavilion.

The doosra looks like a normal off-spin ball until it bounces off the pitch. The ball changes its spin direction from left to right, resembling a leg-spin ball (from the bowler’s perspective).

They say that the Pakistani off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq invented the “Doosra.”


Why should we stick the leg spinners behind in this race?

Let’s join the party with a typical leg-spin ball, forgetting its direction of spin after bouncing off the pitch.

 What’s a doosra for an off-spinner is a googly for a leg-spinner?

These are the reasons why spinners are as crucial as pacers in the game.

Carrom Ball

To bowl a carrom ball, you need strength in your gripping fingers. The bowler grips the ball similar to how a striker gets struck in the carrom game between the middle finger and thumb, hence giving it the name “Carrom Ball.” The uniqueness of this bowling variation lies in the unpredictable behavior of the ball after it leaves the spinner’s hand. It can be a googly, can be a doosra, can be a normal skid ball, etc. 

Ajantha Mendis dismantled batsmen in 2008 with this long-forgotten delivery from the 1940s. Also, who can forget the control Ravichandran Ashwin has over this delivery.

Arm Ball

If the pacers can use slower deliveries like spinners, why not the spinners use a faster delivery? That’s the whole idea behind the arm ball. 

The bowler adds an extra effort to the delivery of the ball with the help of the arm, resulting in a faster, quicker delivery compared to the normal pace of spin bowlers.

The goal is just the same as that of the slower ball by a fast bowler: deceiving the batsman with the variation in speed to get the wicket. 

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Yes, the name of Ravindra Jadeja coming to your mind is totally accurate. Setting the batsman up with two or three regular deliveries and then comes the “Arm Ball” demolishing the reaction time of the batsman. That’s surely Sir Jadeja’s trap that you have stepped into.

The Flipper

A delivery that is hard to accurately place in the right zone, but the mastery of it can result in an extremely dangerous tool. Leg spinners use this delivery. Usually, a short delivery bounces off the pitch and creates a good chance for a batsman to hit it for a boundary. The flipper surprises the batsman by skidding through and often leads to LBW or bowled dismissals due to reduced bounce.

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The Slider

Another variation that skids down the batsman and creates the chance of LBW is the slider. The grip is similar to the leg-break, but the bowler’s wrist and release angle differ slightly from the usual. As a result, the ball simply goes straight while sliding. Again, the great Shane Warne has been a phenomenal bowler of the slider delivery.


Yes, we know you are familiar with many of these rules but trust us and read them once you are definitely going to find some rules you were never familiar with. Give it a try…

  1. Legal bowling action : According to the ICC rules of bowling every bowler must deliver the ball with a straight arm without bending it during bowling action.
  1. Front foot no-ball: Imagine a bowler getting a crucial wicket for the team celebrating his wicket and when he turns towards umpires sees a sign of no-ball,truly a nightmare for any bowler. The ICC rules says if the bowler’s front foot crosses the popping crease, which is the line in front of the stumps, before releasing the ball, it is considered a no-ball.The bowler has to bowl the ball again and with a free hit for the batsman.
  1. Wide ball : Illegitimate deliveries called wide balls result in an extra run for the batting team. The bowler considers a ball wide if he bowls it outside the batsman’s reach on the leg side or off side.
  1. Beamers: A beamer is a delivery that reaches the batsman without bouncing and is above waist height. It is dangerous and unfair play. If a bowler bowls a beamer intentionally, it is a no-ball, and the batsman receives a free hit. 
  1. Change of Ends: Many cricket lovers who have been watching cricket for years are also not aware of this bowling rule ,many of them get to know about this rule after they go to watch their first match in a stadium.

      At the end of each over, the bowler changes  ends, alternating between the two ends of the pitch.

  1. Overstepping: If the bowler’s foot goes beyond the crease while delivering the ball, the umpire calls it a no-ball for overstepping or a foot fault.
  1. Dead ball: The umpire calls a dead ball when they temporarily suspend play, usually due to an interruption or if the ball becomes unfit for play.
  1. LBW (Leg Before Wicket): If the ball hits the batsman’s leg and the umpire believes it would have hit the stumps, the umpire gives the batsman out LBW . However, there are certain conditions and rules to determine whether the batsman is out or not.
  1. Wicket: The bowler’s main goal is to get the batsman out. When the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, the umpire declares the batsman out.

Grasping cricket’s bowling types provides insight, enabling appreciation for the skills and strategies deployed in the game. Fast bowlers’ speed and spinners’ enchanting spin offer distinct challenges and excitement, making each type of bowling unique. When watching cricket, observe the various deliveries and admire the skill and artistry displayed by the bowlers.

Q-What is the dangerous ball in cricket?

A- A beamer, also known as a beam ball, is a delivery style used in cricket when the ball crosses the batsman’s waist without bouncing. Because a batsman will be anticipating the ball to bounce on the pitch, this type of delivery is risky.

Q-What is an illegal ball in cricket?

A- Any bowler who, during his delivery stride, extends his “elbow” beyond 15 degrees is guilty of an unlawful bowling motion. In November 2004, the ICC established a 15-degree restriction for all bowlers.