If you ask any cricket fan about who would they call and remember as the best bowler in cricket then more often they would name some legendary spinners like muthaiya Muralidharan, Shane Warne, Anil kumble.
And if you regularly watch cricket Today on your television then you must have noticed that many Batsmen actually struggle to play & score runs against spinners Like Ravi Ashwin, Rashid Khan, mujeeb ur Rahman, rangana herath,
not just in test cricket but also in Limited overs cricket like T20 even though fast bowlers have long run up, look agressive and bowl at fast pace by putting a lot of energy behind every ball but if we take a look at the records and top 10 best bowlers at present,
Spinners top the list or remain in majority in all the three formats of the game, if you have ever wondered why do spinners take more wickets in their overall cricketing career compared to fast bowlers.
So in this article I will Decode the mystery & give you 7 reasons of why do spinners take more wickets than fast bowlers and help you understand it better.
So without further ADO let’s dive right in.
Why do spinners take more wickets?
If you don’t have the time or energy to read this entire article then, let me answer it in a brief words.
Spinners take more wickets then fast bowlers because spinners usually play more matches and bowl more overs with longer spells compared to fast bowlers in any normal match like test, it is also hard for a batsman to judge the variation of spinner compared to a fast bowler and spinners can also leverage both new and old ball and use the pitch better to take wickets compared to fast bowlers.
There are many more details and information you should know to understand why spinners take wickets than fast bowlers in detail and it is what we will take a look and dig deep in this article, so let’s get started with the first reason.
Spinners have longer careers & play many matches
One of the main reasons why spinners take more wickets compared to fast bowlers is that spinners usually have long careers compared to fast bowlers because it is easy to bowl spin bowling compared fast bowling.
If you are a fast bowler then it is very common to see muscle cramps, leg cramps, knee injuries, hamstring injuries, ankle injuries, and back injuries in fast bowlers because
they will have a long run up and most fast bowlers have an average of at least 15 paces length of run up before they release the ball towards the batsman and they will have to run a long distance before they bowl the ball everytime and because of frequently getting injuries as a fast bowler
you get less time to play in cricket so you have less wickets as a fast bowler but as a spin bowler what’s special about them is they have a short run up like 3-5 paces length run up & they will release the ball.
When it comes to fast bowling and pace bowlers, having a strong and quick run up is very important because that is where you generate the momentum which can pass into the ball and
generate the speed in the ball and mark wood who is a pace bowler of England cricket team is a good example for this because he has a speed of 145 km per hour on average and
he has a quick run up and Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee are other good example for this who have a long run up and bowl the ball fast and those two legendary fast bowlers have suffered a lot in their career due to many injuries and surgeries in their knees and ankle but to be honest the pace is not very important in spin bowling.
Fast bowlers rely alot on various external factors like condition of the pitch, condition of the ball in order to get the wicket but spin bowlers don’t rely much on either of them.
Spinners have more variations
Another reason why spinners have more wickets is that usually spinners have more variations of their game compared with fast bowlers and it is more harder to judge and identify the variations of a spinner as a batsman compared to a fast bowler.
For example the most common variations of any fast bowlers are, knuckle balls, Yorker, bouncer, Reverse swing, leg cutter, Off cutter, Outswinger, etc
But when it comes to spinners, spinners have more variations such as leg spinner have legbreak, googly, top spinner, Flicker ball, slider, flipper and off spinner bowlers have offbreak, doosra, teesra, top spinner, carrom ball, arm ball.
In fast bowling there are few variations like out swinger, in swinger, bouncer and other variations of fast bowlers which rely on the pitch condition as well as the condition of the ball but when it comes to the variations of spinners they don’t much rely on them but it is a matter of skill and ability.
At the same time it is quite easy to judge and identify the variations of fast bowlers a batsman but it is not so easy for the batsman to judge and decide the variations of a spinner for example,
Muthaiya Murali dharan who is the legendary off spinner from Sri Lankan cricket team has taken over 800 wickets in test cricket and he is the all time great spinner and cricketer in terms of the number of wickets taken by a bowler but
more than 50% of the wickets he has taken in Test cricket came from delivering one type of variation called doosra And what makes this variation so deadly is that it was hard for the batsman to judge the direction of the ball and how it behaves on the pitch after it lands on the pitch so many batsman miss judge the ball and get lbw and lose their wicket.
This is a good example of why spinners take more wickets because it is often hard for batsman to judge the variations of spinner because many spinners hide the ball behind the hand before bowling them towards the batsman and batsman often observe the fingers and rotation of hands in order to judge what type of ball is the spinner bowling.
Spinners bowl more overs & longer spells in the matches like test match
Another reason why spinners take more wickets especially in Test cricket compared to fast bowlers is that spinners bowl for a longer period of time and bowl more overs as compared to fast bowlers in matches because
spin bowlers does not have a long run up so it requires less energy for spin bowler to bowl the over and the spin bowler can continue to bowl for a bunch of hours & longer spells without getting tired compared to fast bowling.
And this is obviously related to higher wickets for spin bowlers because the more overs you get to bowl the higher the opportunities you have to take the wicket of the batsman.
Spinners bowl fewer extra deliveries like no balls
Another reason why spinners have more wickets compared to fast bowlers is that spinners bowl less extra deliveries like no balls compared to fast bowlers.
this is also a huge factor because if a fast bowler bowls a ball and gets a wicket by breaking the stumps of the opponent’s batsmen but if the bowl was turned out as a noball then the batsmen will not get out and it becomes a free hit.
It is very unlikely for a spinner to bowl no ball delivery because they usually have a shorter run up & they exactly know when they should release the ball before they over step the crease.
It is also one of the main reasons why spinners have more wickets in cricket.
Batsmen can have concentration lapse or choose to attack when spinners bowl
Another reason why spinners have more wickets is that the batsman can have some concentration lapse when spinners will get introduced to bowl the ball in the match for example in test cricket
best fast bowlers in any feilding team such as pat cummins and Mitchell starc in Australian test team usually start the innings of the game by bowling at least 10 to 18 overs in pair and after the spell of fast bowlers get completed, the third fast bowler like Josh Hazlewood and any allrounder would bowl the ball or any spinner at overs starting from 30 in test cricket.
Because the batsman focused really hard when the fast bowler bowls in the initial overs and when the spinner comes into attack they may have some concentration lapse and miss judge the ball and give their wicket.
- You can check out my article here on why do fast bowlers bowl first in Test cricket and Limited overs cricket match.
Apart from that compared to a fast bowler most batsman would prefer to attack spinner in order to score big runs like boundaries & six in both test cricket & limited overs of the game because spinners have lesser pace and speed compared to fast bowler.
As a matter of fact the average speed of a spinner is around 75 km per hour but the average speed of a fast bowler is usually around 135 to 140 km per hour so it obviously make sense to target spinners to attack & hit big runs like boundaries and it also becomes easy compared to fast bowlers.
But whenever a batsman targets spinner and attacks them to score boundaries then it becomes a risky shot because if batsmen miss times the ball or if the line or length was not ideal for big shot & he does not clears the boundary then the ball present in air can get caught by any fielder and loses The wicket.
There are a few expert spinners Rashid Khan of Afghanistan team and yuzvendra chahal of Indian team who bowl amazing deliveries like flighted deliveries in limited overs of game which entice batsmen to get aggressive and score big shots but sometimes lose their wicket by caught out in boundary line Due to misjudging the pace, not timing the ball properly, misjudging length, spin and variations of the ball in the air.
Spinners can be effective on both new & old ball & Get help from pitch
Another thing about spinners is they can be effective on bowling both new and old ball compared to fast bowlers which can help them pick more wickets in cricket.
If you ask any fast bowler they would reply that the best time to bowl the ball is at the beginning of the innings in test cricket when the ball is new and fresh and hard because the red ball which is used in Test cricket which is fresh and new offers swing, bounce &
seam because of this reason fast bowlers are always given the new ball in test cricket and you would have noticed 3 or 4 players standing in the slips beside the wicket keeper as shown in the image below
the fielders stand like this in a row in order to catch the ball when the ball swings and takes the edge of bat of the batsman to take the wicket but once the ball gets older, soft and deteriorated and if fast bowlers don’t get help from the pitch then eventually it becomes harder and difficult for the bowlers to take wickets but,
For spinners the new ball because it is fresh and hard it can offer a little bounce and The new ball will also offer a certain amount of natural variation – some deliveries may spin significantly, and
some may slide straight through to the batsman due to the shiny surfaces on the new ball. Because of this reason it becomes hard for the batsman to get the behaviour of the wall and guess how it will move in the air which can help the bowler get wicket if the batsman miss judge the ball and
As the ball gets older it may lose a bit of bounce, but the surface of the ball will often become coarser and drier due to repeated contact with the pitch and the bat. This means that there will be more friction between the ball and the pitch once they come into contact with each other,
which leads to more spin for the spinner. Additionally, the longer the game goes on the more the pitch will deteriorate because of Batsman run on pitch with shoes and spikes,
there will be dents on the pitch (as you can see in the image below) which the spinner can exploite which can lead to even higher degrees of spin for the spin bowler which can eventually help the spinner take more wickets.
Any cricket team has more fast bowlers compared to spinners
Another important thing about spinners is that in any team 11 of cricket, there will be at least 6 batsman 1 wicket keeper and a couple or more fast bowlers in test cricket and 5 batsman 5 bowlers and 1 wicket keepers are picked for Limited overs matches and
Among the bowlers not more than two spinners on average are selected in many top international cricket teams
especially in test cricket fast bowlers will be selected more in number compared to spinners because the red ball which is used in test cricket does not deteroite faster compared to white ball
used in limited overs matches and red ball swing and seam for longer period so fast bowlers in many Test matches are picked more to utilise the help from ball.
Let’s take a look at an example and currently the best test cricket teams at international stage are New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa and India and if we observe that New Zealand always selects their best fast bowlers who are Neil Wagner, trent boult, Tim Southee & Kyle jamieson and
similarly in Australia best fast bowlers of test cricket are Mitchell starc, pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood at present and top fast bowlers of Indian test team are bumrah, shami and siraj who play most test matches.
The fast bowlers names I mentioned earlier are picked more often in test & limited overs matches and there will be one or not more than two spinners selected in the test for example Australian test team only selects Nathan Lyon and Indian Test cricket team selects Ashwin as their top spinner in their playing 11.
Because fast bowlers are selected more compared to spinners the wickets taken by fast bowlers are divided between the bowlers and since not more than one or two spinners are selected in test matches,
after playing a bunch of test matches like 30 or 40, spinners usually end up having more wickets compared to fast bowlers, fast bowlers collectively take more wickets in the test match and spinners take more wickets individually compared to fast bowlers.
Because of all the reasons are mentioned in this article spinners have more wickets compared to fast bowlers in cricket and I hope now you understand why spinners have more wickets compared to fast bowlers in cricket.
Do comment on what do you think which is better spinner or fast bowlers in the comment section below.
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