Dale Steyn


South African bowler Dale Steyn bowls in an ODI match against India in January 2011. As of December 2011, Steyn was the No. 1 ranked Test bowler in the world.

As you've probably gathered, the equivalent of a pitcher in baseball is called a bowler and the ball is "bowled" — thrown into the ground and bounced at a batsman — instead of "pitched." Bowling in comparison with pitching is pretty wild. Bowlers run before making their delivery, and often the whole body is involved in the slinging motion.

Two primary categories of bowling exist: fast bowling and spin bowling.

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To learn more about different types of bowling, see an explanation from BBC.

Fast bowling refers to straight deliveries while spin bowling features balls that change directions during the bounce. Within these two main categories, there are subsets based on the speed for fast bowlers and the type of swing for spin bowlers. Bowlers are identified by the arm used and method of bowling, such as a "right-arm fast-medium," which means a fast bowler who bowls with his right arm at about 81 to 90 miles per hour.

Deliveries fall into one of five lengths: bouncer (very short), short, good, full and yorker. These lengths control how high the ball is when it reaches the batsman, with a bouncer being very high and a yorker being very low. A "full toss" doesn't bounce before reaching a batsman.

Delivery lengths


Cricket deliveries fall into one of five lengths that also controls how much the ball bounces before getting to a batsman.

Technically speaking, a bowler can deliver a ball to a batsman like a baseball pitch — straight without first touching the ground — if it remains below the waist, but this is easier for the batsman to hit.

A bowler has two main goals: to keep the batsman from scoring many runs and to take the batsman's wicket and get him out.

While a batsman is looking for boundaries and extras, a bowler is looking for dot balls — a delivery from which no score is made — and maiden overs where no runs are scored.

But usually the real measure of a bowler is in how many wickets he takes. A bowler is aiming to get the ball past the batsman and into the wicket to knock the bails from the stumps. (If you don't understand what that means, see the anatomy of a wicket or wickets.) When this happens, the bowler has "bowled" the batsman.

A bowler can also help get a batsman out by forcing him to hit badly, resulting in a catch for an out, or by causing him to step out, increasing the possibility that he will be "caught behind" by the wicketkeeper.

Watch a tutorial for Americans on how bowling works.

About this site

If you're an American looking to understand the sport cricket (sometimes called baseball's lost twin), this is the website for you. From a fellow American who was once as confused as you are, you can learn the sport's basics, terminology, relation to baseball and a brief history.

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