Monthly Archives: July 2012

Aye! Where are me yorkers?

The batsmen are becoming crafty, all forms of the game have seen faster scoring, and pitches are becoming easier to score on. The one thing I can’t see an effort in, is from the bowlers trying to help themselves stop the batsmen treat them as slaves.

In the last few years, the bowlers’ biggest development, or innovation, has only been the slower ball. Why,  it has been used so much that I can’t tell if a bowler is using the faster ‘un as a special delivery (Jade Dernbach). Or worse, the slow medium pace bowlers are banked upon for wickets, like Sammy or Pollard. My eyes go wide if I see an Indian bowler trespass the 85 mph mark. Even Ishant Sharma doesn’t bother trying. Anyway, it is not just about the pace when it comes to pace bowling. It helps if you have lateral movement, and you can cover-up for lack in pace. Asif used to be like that. Praveen Kumar too.

A bowler bowls to the batsman, he has the first right to enforce the theme of a delivery. They have a 6’x4′ board plane 20 yards away to hit, anywhere  in that zone, anywhere that can benefit them as much as possible. And it will be a wrapped X-mas gift to a batsman if you are telling him, “Don’t worry, it’s only going to be a 5’x4’ target map! Cheers!”

Where are the yorkers? Have they been banned? Are the bowlers afraid to use one of the most poisonous weapon they have? Has Malinga patented it? Is there nobody to coach you to bowl one? Do you like the batsman’s toe-nails? Are they marrying the batsman at the other end?

Or is it just too much to ask of a bowler who can bowl to anywhere between the second slip to leg slip and to anywhere from the knee to over the keeper’s head? Batsmen who don’t have three strokes in their book play “lap” or “ramp” or “scoop” shots and act like they are the kings of the world. Well, they will if you bend over like a slave and send them juicy half volleys and just pray they simply mis-hit one of them to the short fine leg fielder.

Eras of bowling units before and after my birth have feasted on batsmen with the yorker as one of their primary weapon. I watched Fire In Babylon, and it was exciting when I heard Andy Roberts say of Joel Garner, “He is either coming at your toes, or up at your neck.” With a wingspan like Garner’s, any batsman would be worried about that fact. Today, batsmen can wear flip-flops to the batting crease so their pink nail-polish can dry without the slightest worry of the ball coming anywhere within half-a-foot of those.

“Grovel Greig” getting his ‘poles knocked over’ by the resurgent West Indians

Australia, in the 2007 World Cup had a plan to bowl really full during the death overs. It is very hard to get under the ball if you are bowling very full, trying to york the batsmen as much as possible. If the batsmen charge, they are only yorking themselves at a ball that was otherwise going to be very full. Either way, it is going to be hard to get away with. Today, bowlers depend on slower balls, wide deliveries, slow bouncers, half-volleys… They try to think too much, try to over-think the batsmen. Why? Keep it simple, build and stick to a plan. A batsman is helpless until the ball comes out of the bowler’s hands. A bowler has got to dictate the line and length.

Is it hard to practice? No. Do you need a coach? No. Lasith Malinga, who is probably the only person who can (well, I have no proof anybody else can) bowl the yorker, says he perfected it by keeping a pair of shoes at the batting crease in the nets and kept bowling at them until he was sure he could do that with his eyes closed; at any pace. Bowling a yorker is rocket science for other bowlers, bowling that at varying pace must be a world away from learning!

Pakistani bowlers were known to come at your toes. Even Umar Gul had good yorkers and was feared in the slog overs. Now, the Pakistani bowling depends more on their spinners than the pacers, even at the death.

I really don’t care about spinners bowling yorkers. It is less of a weapon, than a “I don’t know what to do, you keep hitting me no matter where I pitch the ball” delivery.

Will we get to see more yorkers in the future? I would love to see that. Do I think  so? No. I’ve lost all hopes. I thought of counting the number of deliveries between yorkers (across innings and games), but then I realised I’m barking at a tree that does not exist.

In case you find any yorkers lying around, do return them to cricket. However, if you want to mint money out of it, give it to Sports Online and they will sell it on Channel Nine as Memorabilia.

-Bagrat

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