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Andrew Flintoff bowling

A bowler is a person who bowls or delivers a ball to the batsman in the game of cricket. Unlike the pitcher in a game of baseball, a bowler delivers with a straight arm (see photo). A ball bowled with the elbow bent is a throw, and that is illegal. If the bowler bowls while not in the right part of the nonstriker's ground,[1] or bowls the ball out of the reach of the striking batter, that is also illegal. Illegal bowling gives the batting team 1 point, mostly can't get players out, and doesn't count toward the limit on the number of deliveries in the game.

A bowler who can also bat well, is called an all rounder. There are different types of bowler, and a cricket team will usually have a mix of different types.

Fast bowler

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A fast bowler uses simple speed to defeat a batsman. They can send the ball to the batsman at a speed of 145 km/h. They take a long run up before bowling each ball to build speed. Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan was the first to bowl at a speed of 160 km/h. Another famous fast bowler is Australian Brett Lee.

Medium pace bowler

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A cricket ball showing the stitched seam

A medium pace bowler bowls more slowly. They often use other tricks to defeat the batsman. They can get the ball able to curve in the air or change the speed or length (where the ball hits the ground) to fool the batsman. Some are very accurate so they can repeatedly send the ball to a place which forces the batsman to defend rather than scoring runs. Others grip the ball so that it lands on its seam; this makes the path of the ball unpredictable.

Spin bowler

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A spin bowler usually bowls quite slowly and puts a lot of spin on the ball which makes it bounce at an angle off the ground. This makes the batsman play each ball carefully. Generally spin bowlers give up the most runs but they all have "tricks" that they use to fool the batsman and get him or her out. These tricks are given names such as the arm ball, googly, flipper, topspinner or doosra. Spin bowling is very much about fooling the batsman rather than speed. A fast off spin is the normal off spin action but with more pace. Off spin is when the cricket ball spins towards a right-handed batsmen's bat (bowler's left to right). With more pace, there usually is less turn (amount of spin). Off-spin is also called an off-break or finger spin. A famous spin bowler was the Australian Shane Warne, but his type was the leg break, which uses the wrist to spin the ball from the bowler's right to left. This is varied with the top spin, when the ball comes on straight and low.


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  1. https://www.lords.org/mcc/the-laws-of-cricket/no-ball The bowler must bowl behind the popping crease, which is where one of the batsmen's grounds is, and within the return creases.