Improve your skills

The key to being an effective fast bowler is line and length. The great Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath described his policy as ‘boring’ the batsman to induce an error and, with 563 Test match wickets at an average of 21.64 runs per wicket, who would argue against it being the right one?

The temptation as a raw bowler is to focus all your attention on pace. However, it is important to bear in mind that a bowler’s job is to keep the runs down. Getting five wickets in an innings is all good and well, but if it comes at a cost of 150 runs, you’re probably not helping your team as much as you could.

In terms of line, you should be aiming to bowl six balls out of six in what has been described rather poetically by former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott as ‘the corridor of uncertainty’. This is the area just outside off-stump, which forces the batsman to play (because sideways movement may expose him to an lbw decision or clean bowl him) but without giving a free scoring opportunity. Focus your training on being able to hit the line time and time again, then work on your pace.

Length is also a hugely important part of either spin or fast bowling. Depending on whether you are bowling a Yorker, a Bouncer, an off-cutter or an in-swinger, you need to be able to hit the appropriate line. An excellent training method is to place cones on the wicket at various junctures and attempt to hit the right length for your chosen delivery. Keep practicing until you can do it comfortably before you even consider speed.

Remember, patience and perseverance is absolutely pivotal to improving in any sport. Take your time, work hard and listen to any educated advice, and you’ll be taking wickets quick enough!