Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world after football.
For those of you who do not know what cricket is it is a game which is played between a bat which is made of a wood and ball on a play ground which is circular ground and
it is played between two teams each team consists of 11 players and there will be 2 umpires on the ground, who look after the match like referee in football.
If you regularly watch cricket matches and tournaments on your television, then you must have got the doubt that why only the fast bowlers are given to ball to bowl first and start the innings first in almost every innings and match you see on the television,
for example if you watch a match of Indian cricket team playing test match against West Indies or any other cricket team for that matter then the Indian team has pair of fast bowlers like jasprit bumrah and Mohammad Shami who would bowl the first initial overs of the game similarly
other test teams also have a pair of fast bowlers who bowl the first over and start the innings like Stuart broad and James Anderson for England cricket team,
trent boult and Tim southee for New Zealand cricket team and Australian cricket has Mitchell starc and pat cummins, similarly you will see a pair of fast bowlers who would Start the innings in every match.
It is very rare to see that spinners get the ball to bowl first in the beginning of the innings especially in the test cricket so let’s decode and look at what is the reason behind why fast bowlers are given the ball first to bowl and start the innings of the game.
So without further ado let’s get started.
Why do fast bowlers bowl first in the start of every innings of cricket match?
To answer the question in simple words,
In almost every match and every innings, fast bowlers bowl first and start the innings because in the initial period of cricket match the cricket ball will be new, hard and fresh so the fast bowler can get the ball to swing and seam which can significantly increase the chances of getting wickets early on
in the match and in the initial stages of the innings of cricket match, depending upon the condition of the pitch for example if the pitch of the cricket has some grass on it and looks green then it would help the ball to seam and bounce a little bit higher and
comes onto the bat quicker than usual which can help get wicket of the batsman early in the match and put pressure on the opponent team and restrict them to score less runs in the innings.
But after a dozen of overs are bowled, slowly the ball gets softer because of continuously hitting the ball on the ground and because of the impact of the bat of the batsman and slowly if there would be any help from the pitch like any grass then it would get worn out, and there will be less swing and seam of the ball on the pitch.
This is when in most cases spinners will be introduced in both test matches and also in Limited overs cricket matches because the Cricket ball get soft and they will not be any seam and swing in that case.
Why do cricket players rub the ball on their pants?
You must have seen players rubbing the Cricket ball on their dress especially on the pants and applying their sweat and saliva on the cricket ball when you are watching cricket on your television or live in the stadium like this,
The cricket players do this because to make the one side of the ball shiny by removing all the dust particles and dents that are sticked with ball while bowling the ball or when the ball passes on the ground in grass, players rub one side of the ball to make the ball soft and shiny and other one hard so that it can help the ball swing in the air due to air pressure.
Why fast bowlers bowl in longer periods of time compared to limited overs of the game?
Now that you know why do fast bowlers bowl the initial overs of the game you might have got a doubt that why fast bowler bowl in longer periods of time In the Test cricket compared to Limited overs of the game like T20 and ODI cricket.
It is because, in test cricket red ball is used which is made of a different material compared to a limited overs cricket which is ODI and T20 where white ball is used.
The different types of balls are used in different games will make a huge difference because the red ball which is used in the Test cricket will offer more swing and seam and
remain harder for longer period of time compared to Limited overs of the game where white ball is used and it becomes softer and it offers less swing and seam after a bunch of overs are bowled.
Because of this reason especially in Test cricket fast bowlers are given the ball to bowl faster and for a longer period of time like 10 to 15 overs continuously compare 2 ODI and T20 cricket where fast bowlers will usually bowl in not more than 5-7 overs especially in first and second power play of the game.
Why don’t spinners bowl first more often?
Now that you know why do fast bowlers often bowl the first initial overs in the innings of a cricket match you might have got the doubt that why don’t spin bowlers do the job.
There are a few reasons why spinners in most cricket matches do not bowl the initial overs and start the innings of cricket match such as,
- Most cricket spinners do not have the pace and speed which is required to extract the bounce on the cricket pitch
- Most cricket spinners spin & rotate the ball which will not help them swing the ball in the air but to turn the ball.
again it is not Surety and guarantee that only fast bowlers will always bowl the initial overs of the cricket match, if the matches are played in spin friendly pitches in countries like India and Sri Lanka then there would be some chances of spinner starting the innings of a cricket match instead of fast bowlers.
The decision of choosing whether to ball fast bowler or a spinner will depend upon the fielding captain of the team and any wise captain will consider many factors before deciding whether they should go for spin bowlers or fast to bowl the initial overs of the cricket match such as,
- If any fast bowler has a better record of taking a wicket of opposite batsman then the captain would choose that fast bowler instead of spinner to take the wicket of the batsman
- Obviously if the pitch has some Grass or some extra bounce and help for the fast bowler then the captain would choose fast bowler instead of spinner to bowl the ball
- If that Cricket pitch has some level of dryness and dust then spinners will be introduced to bowl the ball instead of fast bowlers
It all depends upon two factors, condition and pitch of the Wicket and condition of the Ball.
But in most cases fast bowlers are only given the ball to start the innings because there is also a mental factor, the best time to get the wicket of any batsman is in the initial stages of the innings because the batsman has to adapt himself depending upon the pitch,
and conditions of The wicket and most batsmen are vulnerable of getting out in the initial stages when they come out to bat and score the initial few runs.
Once the batsman get settled and comfortable on playing the pitch and once the batsman scores a few runs and shots it increases the confidence of the batsman and the timing of the shots of batsman get better, it becomes harder and
harder to get the wicket of the batsman so fast bowlers are the right people who can bowl different deliveries to get the wicket of the batsmen extracting the help from the pitch such as swing, seam and bounce.
What about the limited overs?
As I have already mentioned earlier, in many Limited overs cricket matches like ODI & t20 fast bowlers will bowl in the initial overs of the game in order to extract the help in the pitch such as Swing and
seam or extra bounce but in spin friendly pitch like dusty pitches many spinners will also bowl the initial over such as Mujeeb ur Rahman is one such spinner of the Afghanistan cricket team who bowls in initial overs of the game because he has speciality in it.
And it is also a factor that it many Batsmen are used to facing fast bowlers in the initial overs of the match but in order to break the rhythm and habit of playing fast bowlers continuously fielding captain would ask spinners to bowl the ball and to make the Batsmen uncomfortable and break his rhythm of stroke making.
It is very important to understand that cricket is not just a sport played between bat and ball, it is also a mental battle between the players,
for example Virat Kohli who is the best batsman in all formats of the game at present has in many cases struggled to play against James Anderson who is the best swing bowler so whenever Virat Kohli is on the crease against England cricket team,
James Anderson would be given the ball to bowl against Virat Kohli hoping to get Virat Kohli out again because Anderson has a better record of taking the wicket of Virat Kohli in the past and Virat Kohli or any batsman will have thought in the back of the mind and
hesitate a little to play the shots freely against any bowler who has a better record of taking the wicket of the batsman in the past and eventually batsmen makes a mistake and lose their wicket.
Because of all these reasons I mentioned in this article fast bowlers are more often given the ball to bowl first in innings of every cricket match of test cricket and almost in all limited overs matches.
I hope all the factors and reasons I mention in this article helps you now understand why in many matches fast bowlers are asked to bowl the initial overs of the innings.
Do comment on what do you think about fast bowlers in the comment section below.
Share the article with your friends and subscribe to my blog to receive notifications regarding whenever I publish in your post about this sport cricket football rugby and hockey so that you can get notified and read the article.