Batting tips to read bowlers mindset in cricket

Let me just give you the context for the blog and get straight to the point by listing some batting tips in cricket to read the bowlers mindset.

We have all heard our coaches stress on the point and say “analyse the match!”. Although the statement is true for both batsmen and bowlers, it is a vague statement. Because, the meaning of the statement is different for a bowler and it is different for a batsman.

In this blog we understand what “analyse the match!” statement means to a batsman.

Batting tips to read a bowlers mindset in different situations:

Cricket sometimes becomes a games played in the minds of the players. Batsmen invest time to analyse previous cricket matches and come up few strategies to try and read the mindset of the bowler and get a step ahead.

With that said, players cannot completely rely on their strategies. They need to think of few tactics on the match day to outsmart the other. Let’s go through some batting tips in cricket to read the bowlers mindset :

  1. Match situation the bowler is bowling in,

  2. Dimension of the cricket ground the bowler is bowling to,

  3. How the Pitch supports the bowler,

  4. Field placement the bowler has,

  5. Bowler strength/ weakness (analysing previous games).

Match Situation:

Analysing a match’s situation helps the batsman read, if the bowler’s has a defensive or an attacking mindset. In a defensive mindset, the bowler is playing it safe and trying to stop the excess run flow. And in a attacking mindset, the bowler is trying to pick wickets by restricting every single scoring options.

The batsman can analyse defensive or attacking mindset of the bowler by looking at the field placement. If it is a spread out field then the bowler is in a defensive mindset. If the batsman sees more close-in fielders trying to stop runs, even the singles, then the bowler is in a attacking mindset.

Ground Dimensions:

Analysing the ground dimensions come in handy when one side of the ground is smaller than the other. In such grounds the bowler wants the batsman to hit the ball to the bigger side of the ground. So here the bowlers mindset is to bowl away from the batsman or attack the stumps, according to the dimensions of a cricket ground.

The bowler bowls 5th or 6th stump line i.e. a bit away from the stumps if ground dimension is bigger towards the off side. And if the bowler has a bigger dimension towards the leg side (the batsman) the the bowler is likely to attack the stumps. This type of bowling is largely dependent on the situation the bowler is bowling in.

Pitch/ Weather condition:

Analysing the conditions of a cricket pitch allows the batsman to understand if the pitch is a true pitch or an Uneven Pitch. A true pitch is one where the batsman is certain of bounce from a particular length on the pitch. An uneven pitch is the opposite of a true pitch, i.e. the bounce is not predictable on these cricket pitches.

Understand if the cricket pitch is helpful for the fast bowlers or spinners.

Understanding the pitch helps the batsman anticipate the bounce, swing, pace or spin a bowler can extract from the pitch. Let me give an example so that you can understand what i’m blabbing about.

Observe the pitch for grass covering or dust, there are many other pitch types but let’s stick with these two for now. A pitch covered with grass will help the fast bowlers and a dusty pitch will help the spinners.

You might want to read this blog to get a clearer picture Batsman’s nightmare of a “green top” cricket pitch

Why should the batsman analyse the weather condition?

This is because, batsmen are more vulnerable to a swinging ball. So, a batsman should anticipate which side the ball is going to swing, even before the bowler bowls. One tip to read the swing, is to check the wind direction in the cricket ground.

Pro tip: The bowler might swing the ball the other way as well, but the bowler bowls to his strengths. Wait… How can you tell a bowlers strength by the wind direction? Before the bowler decides which end to bowl from, the bowler checks the direction of the wind. But be ready for a bluff as well. Can’t tell, a bowler might be reading this blog too.

Field Placement:

We have already spoken about the defensive and attacking field set. So now lets talk about how a field set can give hints on what line and length the bowler is going to bowl.

Lets two examples to understand what lines and lengths the bowler bowls based on the field set.

  1. If the bowler has the slip corridor covered than its more likely that the bowler is going to bowl a 3rd or 4th stump line at a good length, hoping the nick the batsman out.

  2. If a bowler has a plan to bowl a bouncer he would try and protect the scoring areas i.e. by placing fielders in deep fine-leg, deep square-leg or a deep mid-wicket region of the cricket ground.

Bowler’s History:

Analysing bowlers history in their previous matches gives the batsman additional tips to read the bowlers. The analysis helps the batsman analyse what type of deliveries the bowler is likely to bowl in a different situation of a cricket match.

For example, if pitch map analysis of the bowler is available, batsman can check the percentage of deliveries the bowler bowls at a particular length . Also, a batsman can also dig a bit deeper and analyse the release points of the bowler, if available.

Release point of the ball tells a lot about the bowler. For example, the batsman can kinda predict how the ball will react after pitching. If neither analysis are available, the batsman has to bring up the tactic game and access the bowler they they bat.

Even if the batsmen reads all of the above scenarios from the bowler there is huge chance that the bowler is going to bluff the batsman by intentionally making some changes to set a trap. As a batsmen we have to expect a trap and call the bluff of the bowler.

Although these batting tips will surely help the batsman read the bowlers mindset in a cricket match, this isn’t enough. It is more important for a batsman to play to his/ her own strengths.

Pro tip: Be patient when the bowler is bowling to his/ her strengths. After a while the bowler eventually gets frustrated and tries something else. As a result, the bowler comes out of his/ her comfort zone which in-turn make the bowlers commit errors.