What Are The Most Lethal Bowling Types In Cricket?

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Cricket involves bowling, batting, and fielding. Bowlers throw balls at wickets and batsmen take shots while defending the wickets. Fielders take catches and stop runs and boundaries. Here we’ll discuss the different bowling types.

Bowlers can be divided into two broad categories – Pacers and Spinners. Pacers are fast bowlers and Spinners are slow bowlers. Both Pacers and Spinners can bring variations in their bowls. They can swing the balls inside or outside to take wickets. Also, they can throw bouncers that are difficult to play.

Rules have been set for bowlers like only two bouncers are allowed in an over in ODIs and one bouncer per over in T20 matches. Variations have come in bowling with changes in formats like Test, ODI, and T20.

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Pace/Fast Bowling

The Pacers are the first to bowl in a team. It is so because a new ball supports fast bowling. It moves at a high speed and takes sharp swings. A fast bowler can throw a bouncer, yorker, swinger, cutter, or slow ball. It is up to the bowler to choose a variation to take quick wickets.

1. Bouncer

The ball is bounced at the midway of the pitch so it jumps to the upper body of a batsman. It is difficult to play because it can hurt the player. West Indies bowlers were notorious for throwing bouncers. Today bouncers have been limited to 2/over in ODIs and 1/over in T20s. Also, the height of the bounce has been reduced for the safety of batsmen.

2. Outswing/Inswing

The ball swings in the desired direction at a set angle. In outswing, the ball is swung at the fourth stump so the batsman chases the ball and gives an easy catch at slips or third man. This strategy works for right-handed batsmen.

Left-handed bowlers bowl inswingers from around the wicket to right-handed batsmen. The ball swings into the wickets and if the batsman is alert, the player will be clean-bowled or LBW. Since a new ball swings easily, fast bowlers try all swings in the early overs to take quick wickets.

3. Reverse Swing

Since a ball always swings in the direction of shine, a new ball is easier to swing in any direction. But as the ball gets older, it swings only in the direction of shine. It is called reverse swing. Here the inswinger becomes the outswinger and vice versa. This stage comes after 35-40 overs.  

4. Leg Cutter/Off Cutter

These are slower deliveries cutting to the leg or off-side of a batsman. Bowlers use their fingers to generate the required spin. Though the ball comes at a slower speed, the spin generated makes it difficult to play. You can compare leg cutter/off-cutter with leg break/off-break of spin bowlers. Bowlers try these variations during last overs of the match.

5. Yorker

The ball is pitched under the bat to trick the batsman so the player makes way for the ball to hit the stumps. A yorker could be a lethal weapon of a bowler if executed properly. It involves both angle and speed. There are fewer bowlers in the world that can deliver Yorkers because this variation of fast bowling requires precision.

6. Slow Delivery

The ball is delivered at a slower pace to trick the batsman who takes it as a normal delivery and plays an early shot resulting in an easy catch. Slow deliveries are made when a batsman looks over-confident. The batsman takes an early shot on the ball and gets dismissed. It is the for bowlers to decide when to deliver slow balls to baffle batsmen.  

Spin/Slow Bowling

Spinners are known for swinging a ball. The speed of the ball remains slow providing enough time for batsmen to track the ball, but the spin makes it difficult to play. In spin bowling, it is the swing that matters most instead of speed. Also, spin bowling yields exciting results when the ball becomes rugged. You can recall Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan who are the two greatest spinners of all time.

1. Googly

A leg-spinner bowls googly when the ball spins in the opposite direction from off-side to leg to a right-handed batsman and leg to off-side to a left-handed batsman. A googly is a stock ball bowled with some extra twist of fingers. Shane Warne was notorious for throwing googlies.

2. Doosra

An off-spinner swings the ball from leg to off-side to a right-handed batsman and vice versa to a left-handed batsman. Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka and Harbhajan Singh of India made this variation of spin bowl popular.   

3. Top Spin

Both leg spinners and off-spinners can deliver top spin by providing the ball with some extra thrust. The ball gets some speed and delivers early. Also, it gains some height due to speed. This ball is difficult to play because it goes contrary to the expectations of batsmen.

4. Carrom Ball

The ball is delivered in the way a carom player hits a striker. The ball is so held by the thumb and middle and index fingers that it becomes easy to flick fingers to generate the desired spin like off-side to leg and vice versa.

5. Slider Ball

A leg-spinner bowls a slider ball by rolling the fingers all over the ball and throwing it with a slightly greater speed. The ball takes a bounce and jumps higher than the top spin delivery.

An off-spinner delivers an arm ball by sending the ball straight instead of spinning it off-side or leg-side. It is a straight delivery that lures batsmen to come in the line of the ball and give a catch.


A bowler is known for speed like fast and slow. The objective of bowling is to trick batsmen so they make mistakes and lose wickets. But bowlers also tamper with balls to get the desired swing or bounce. Ball tampering has been made an offence and bowlers caught tampering with balls face punishment.