Fundamentals of Fast Bowling Techniques - Cricket For India

Fundamentals Of Fast Bowling Techniques

- By SP. Bhatia    

There is much more to fast bowling than sprinting towards the batsman, ball in hand, and hurling it towards the stumps with all your might. Fast bowling is an art that can be learnt and honed with regular practice.

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This is the beginner's guide to fast bowling:

1. The basic grip: This depends upon the type of delivery you want to bowl. You must master the basic grip and bowling action before trying advanced techniques.

Grip the ball with fingers & not the palm. Put the middle and index fingers on either side of the seam, thumb should be directly underneath. After the bowler has gripped the ball, he should turn it to the side and check the gap between the ball and the 'V' formed by the thumb and index finger.

2. The run-up: For beginners, the run-up must be about 5 to 11 paces long. The run-up should be consistent and comprise big strides, as that helps the bowler get into a smooth and steady rhythm. The bowler will gain momentum if he pumps his arms while running in to bowl.

3. The delivery stage & follow-through:

(A) The bowling action commences at the end of the run-up and includes the delivery & follow-through. Beginners should bowl with a side-on action, the bowling hand under the chin and weight moving from the left foot to the right foot. At the start of the delivery stride, the bowler should take off from the left foot (for right-handers). The body should tilt upwards and the bowler should move his right shoulder towards the batsman. He should fully extend his front arm and focus his eyes on the wickets at the batsman's end. He should lean his upper body away from the batsman and the rear foot should bend parallel to the bowling crease. The front foot should be extended to gain balance that will propel him forward.

(B) When the bowler lands on his right (rear) foot, he should be side-ways from the point of view of the opposite end. He should bring his left hand above his head and look over the left arm towards the wickets. He should simultaneously start moving his rear leg forward.

(C) He should transfer the body-weight on to his leading foot, bring the front arm down, extend the bowling arm out behind him, and turn his left hip and shoulder towards the batsman.

(D) The bowler should cock his bowling wrist. The bowling arm should be extended upwards and straight to its highest point and the ball should be released. The follow-through begins once the ball is delivered. The head and eyes should be kept steady after delivery, and the bowling arm should be brought down across the body. The left arm will flail upwards & am backwards. The right knee should be close to the body. The chin should not be dropped in the follow-through.



1. The in-swing grip: The bowler should hold the ball with the seam vertical and facing fine-leg. The middle and index fingers should be fairly close together on either side of the seam and the ball should rest on the flat of the thumb. The shiny side of the bowl should face the off-side.

2. The ball should be directed on the line of the off-stump to give it room to swing in flight. The run-up should be straight, but the bowler should aim to release the bowl from slightly wide of the crease.

3. As he approaches the crease, he should be sideways with his arm held high. He should look at the target from 'inside' his bowling arm towards the target. He should lean away from the batsman and keep his front hip in line with the front shoulder.

4. The head should be held straight, eyes on the target. His weight should be transferred from the rear leg to the front leg as he releases the ball.

5. The bowling arm should be kept straight and brought down to the right side of the body with the shoulders facing forward, and the back arm moving backwards

upwards. A smooth and relaxed run-up and proper use of the left arm will help the bowler stay balanced.


1. The grip: The ball should be held with the seam vertical and angled towards first slip. The middle and index fingers should be close together on either side of the seam. The ball should rest on the side of the thumb. The shiny side of the ball should be held on the leg- side.

2. (A) The bowler should observe his target over his non-bowling arm, position sideways, the back foot parallel to the crease. He should lean slightly backwards. A raised front leg will help to propel him forward.

   (B) He should turn his body to face the wicket as he prepares to release the ball. The leading arm should extend upwards but needs to be completely vertical. The wrist should be cocked until the ball is released. The bowling arm should be straight and the weight should be gradually transferred onto the left foot. The chin must not be dropped.

   (C) The bowler should follow-through vigorously; swinging his bowling arm across the body, shoulder and hips faced forward, the left arm swinging upwards and backwards. The right knee should be close to the body.