The Perfect Bowling Attack in Cricket :
The Perfect Bowling Attack in Cricket,With the way cricket has been progressing in the last decade or two, the sport is becoming very batsmen friendly and bowlers, especially in the shorter formats, are reduced to mere spectators.
A case in point,would be the IPL matches at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, where short boundaries,a good batting pitch make scores even in excess of 200 in a T20 game not safe. The playing conditions at Wankhede in Mumbai, give Chinnaswamy a close competition when it comes to becoming a bowler’s graveyard. The World T20 and the IPL showed this last year when England were comfortably able to chase a score of 230 odd against the Proteas and RCB registered a score of more than 200 in a 15 over game against Punjab.
However, despite the conditions as well as the rules being largely unfavourable to the bowlers who decide which team will win the contest. And this is something which is entirely true when it comes to test matches. Irrespective of how strong your batting line-up is, irrespective how big you score in the first innings, you will not win a test match unless you have dismissed the opposition twice or so as to say, take 20 wickets.
Now a perfect bowling attack should ideally have these set of pacers or should have pacers which can fulfill these attributes. A right arm pacer who can swing the new ball both ways, an express fast bowler who’s skiddy and can make use of the reverse swing on offer in the pitch, a bowler who can always keep the flow of runs down, a tall bowler which can extract bounce out of the pitch and a left arm pacer to make use of the natural angle which comes with being a left arm pacer.
Apart from this, there should be a set of spinner available as well who have certain attributes. A spinner who can bring the ball into the right handers & take away from the left handers (an off spinner or a left arm chinaman), and a spinner who takes the ball away from the right handers and brings into the left handers (an orthodox left arm spinner or a right arm leg spinner). Along with these qualities, the spinners should be able to generate bounce, top spin, be slower through the air to invite the batsmen to drive and at the same time be skiddy depending upon the pace of the surface.
Sounds very technical, isn’t it? Therefore, these set of attributes will be explained by taking into consideration few bowlers who are the best in that skill set.
Please Note: Players who are currently playing international cricket are being considered.
Right Arm Pacer Swinging the Ball both ways: James Anderson
With 467 wickets from 122 test matches, at an average of 28.50, strike rate of 57.4, economy rate of 2.97 and 21 5-wicket hauls, it would be hard to find anyone other than Anderson to fit this bracket of a right arm pacer swinging the ball both ways. The fact that only 3 pacers (Courtney Walsh, Kapil Dev and McGrath) who feature in top 10 of highest wicket takers have played more test matches than him, speak volumes of Anderson’s fitness over the years. Anderson has played more test matches than Steyn, Akram, Waqar, Lee, Broad, Morkel, Srinath, Botham, Ambrose etc.
Anderson’s record overseas is also decent where he has taken 149 wickets at an average of 35.36 and a strike rate of 67.7 along with an economy of 3.13 runs per over. Whenever England has done well overseas, Anderson has had a part to play. Whether it be the series against India in 2012-13, or the Ashes in 2009-10, Anderson was always there to provide England with breakthroughs at the top and then with the second new ball later on. With Anderson turning 35 in July this year and injuries catching up with him, it remains to be seen if he can cross the 500 figure before he calls it a day, but there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Anderson will be a modern day great.
Other Alternatives: Tim Southee and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Southee with 201 wickets in 56 tests at an average of 31.45, strike rate of 61.8 and an economy of just over 3 should be the ideal alternative because not only can he swing the ball both ways, but can even extract a lot of bounce because of his height. His overseas record is also comparable to the overall numbers with 90 wickets from 28 tests at an average of 33.91, strike rate of 66.4 and almost the same economy. Bhuvneshwar, on the other hand, only 17 tests old, has done well in test matches in England and West Indies and one can hope he continues the good work.