Bond: Pace isn’t as important in T20s


Former New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond has become a sought-after name in coaching after turning the Black Caps' bowling attack into one of the best in the world, and now also mentoring the Mumbai Indians' pacemen.

Bond has become a veritable expert in death bowling, with Trent Boult one of the best in the game at the moment, and Lasith Malinga on the books at Mumbai as one of the best yorker bowlers in the world.

Bond says that quick bowling is not always the best option in T20 cricket, and that while bowling well in vital in any format, variation with success is the hallmark of a good death bowler, especially in shorter formats.

Bond told Cricinfo: "For any bowler, just being able to execute his skills and team game plan under pressure does not probably change much from the other formats.

"Obviously in T20 cricket every ball is so important, so the ability to think clearly under pressure is a huge one. I would always love to see extreme pace, but in the T20 format the most successful bowlers have been spin bowlers across the board, so the ability to turn the ball is obviously important.

"Extreme pace has its place, but it is not very easy to come out and bowl in the late 140s."

The yorker, right in the block hole on the batsman's toes, has become the holy grail of late deliveries, as long as it's done well. Bond feels that batsmen have developed all sorts of ways to cope with it, and even Malinga is not immune to that.

He said: "If you miss the yorker, in terms of length, say, if it turns out to be a half-volley, it can end up going for a four or a six. We all know how good Mali [Lasith Malinga] is. He will hit five out of six, six out of six, yorkers.

"Now if you do that, it is very, very difficult to score off, but there are not too many other bowlers in the world who can do that.

"So you've got to understand that you have other balls you are going to have to deliver, where you have to set fields that create a little doubt in the batsman's mind and are a little unpredictable, so that if you do bowl a yorker and miss it, that rather than going for six it could go for a single.

"So the challenge for bowlers these days is understanding they have got to have the courage to either bowl length or short at the back end of the innings on some wickets as opposed to default mode, which for a long time has been just to bowl full.

"You are seeing a shift in bowling because often length balls can be harder to hit than yorkers if you miss. Batsmen just sit up these days as they hit the full balls straight over the bowler's head or you get a number of players who will play behind the wicket with paddles and flicks.

"The batting side of things has developed massively in the last five years and bowlers need to come up with tactics to counter that."