HomeCricketNeil Wagner: The Bowler With A Successful Short Ball...

Neil Wagner: The Bowler With A Successful Short Ball Tactic

- Advertisement -

Neil Wagner, the No.2 ranked Test bowler in the world, has earned himself a name for constantly barraging the batsmen with short deliveries, the back breakers, with success.

The New Zealand seamer, who has an impressive test record of 206 wickets in 48 Test matches at an average of 26.60, and his short balls were the focal point of ICC’s Cricket Inside Out.

- Advertisement -

In the first episode of Cricket Inside Out, host Elma Smit asked expert panelists, Shaun Pollock and Harsha Bhogle, about why Neil Wagner bowls so many bouncers.

A ball is considered to be a bouncer when it’s pitched on a shorter length and crosses the batsman above his shoulder height.

Neil Wagner’s Bouncer Tactics

Neil Wagner: The Bowler With A Successful Short Ball Tactic
Shaun Pollock believes Neil Wagner has found a game plan that is well suited to him (Image Credits: Yahoo)

Shaun Pollock, the former South African pacer, believed that Wagner has found a game plan that is well suited to him and has consistently managed to execute the plan. An innovative method that also shapes the rest of the bowling line-up.

Pollock explained that the game plan is quite simple for Wagner’s attack. The captain sets the field for a short ball and owing to the fact that batsmen don’t come across such spells that often, they give into the game plan. This is one of the reasons for Wagner’s brilliance and an amazing Test season.

Neil Wagner barraged Wade with Short balls during the 2019 Australia Tour (Credits: Instagram)

Harsha Bhogle, the cricket analyst spoke in depth about the indispensable nature of Wagner’s bowling to New Zealand Cricket.

Harsha believes that Wagner’s bouncing tactics completes the New Zealand’s bowling attack. Boult swings into the batsman, Southee swings it away from the batsman, and as a batsman if you feel confident with the swinging deliveries, comes in Wagner and bounces the brains off you.

Wagner’s Short Balls during Australia’s Tour 2019-20

Australia vs New Zealand, SCG Pink Test, Steve Smith vs Neil ...
Neil Wagner went head to head with Smith, Warner, Wade and Labuschagne, giving them no chance. (Image Credits: Daily Telegraph)

In 2019, the Kiwis was toured Australia for a 3 Test match and 3 ODI match series. Although Kangaroos won the Test series by 3-0, the series witnessed some of the best short bowling attack by Neil Wagner.

In Test matches in SENA ( South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) countries, pace bowlers are expected to ball consistently for longer duration. Thus, in SENA countries a fast bowler balls around a thousand deliveries during a Test series.

Neil Wagner bowled a total of 945 deliveries on the trans-Tasmanian series, that’s about 50 overs per match.

He used the short delivery to attack the batsmen from different angles and troubled them throughout the series. He has proved time and again that it is nearly impossible to not fall for the trap and he showed the same resilience in this series.

Wagner went head to head with Smith, Warner, Wade and Labuschagne, giving them no chance. He was the 2nd highest wicket taker of the series and out of his 17 wickets, 09 of them came off the short ball.

(Credits: Instagram)

Wagner was brilliant against the No.1 World Test batsman in particular. Steve Smith averages 71.32 at home, but against Wagner he seemed clueless. He faced 116 deliveries from Wagner and scored just 22 runs and got out to Wagner four times, all short deliveries.

Short Ball Tactic

Most short balls bowled by pacers in Tests since January 2018
Most short balls bowled by pacers in Tests since January 2018 (Image Credits: ICC)

Bowling a short ball is very taxing, it requires a bit extra effort and the bowler is required to really bend the back to deliver a good short ball. Wagner is an absolute machine. Since January 2018, he has bowled 30% more short balls than his closest competitor Pat Cummins.

More than 50% of his wickets have come from a short or short of a length delivery. He has kept going back to his run up and relentlessly bowled short deliveries throughout his long spells.

The short ball tactic has been used before by few other bowlers as well. Harold Larwood, the English bowler who played from 1924-1932 was nicknamed “The Wrecker” for his bodyline tactic.

When tailenders were fast bowler fodder | cricket.com.au
When bodyline bowling tactics was used during 1930’s (Image Credits: Cricket Australia)

The cricket world also came across the West Indies’ fast bowling attack of the 1970s-80s that is still considered to be one of the deadliest bowling line-up. They were known as the four horsemen of death.

Michael Holding was nicknamed as the “Whispering Death” for his quite approach to the crease and “The Hitman” for his deadly bouncers. The West Indies bowling attack of the time bruised several players through the short-ball tactic.

Mitchel Johnson brought back the bodyline tactic and helped Australia win the 2013-14 Ashes series by 5-0. He burst through the crease with murderous intent and delivered dangerous balls consistently clocking 150kmph throughout the series. Johnson was the leading wicket taker with 37 wickets at an unbelievable average of 13.97.

Neil Wagner’s success against Australia in Australia was based on the body line tactic once again. He has troubled the best international batsman such as Steve Smith and Virat Kohli with his skills. He has earned the stripe of one of the best fast bowlers in the business by casting the short ball spell to his opponents.

Follow us on facebook for more sports news & updates

- Advertisement -

15 Highly Educated Cricketers Of All Time

Cricket is a game of passion and dedication. A sport in which one involves themselves in camps and practice since early childhood. Due to...

Do we often under-appreciate Andy Flower? What’s his legacy?

There's a hint of sadness in noting that Zimbabwe has never been a dominant power in world cricket. But nothing could be sadder than...

Why are more and more MotoGP riders using the Noson nasal dilator?

Introduction MotoGP riders or athletes are physically fit and healthy individuals and their muscles are continuously functioning and used during the performance. As a fan...

How Come UFC Fighters Have Cauliflower Ears But Boxers Don’t?

The UFC has come a long way since its early days, wherein the fights seemed like modern-day gladiators due to its brutality and inconsistent...

5 spinners who can be India’s potential finger-spinners

The Indian cricket team has always been proud of its ability to produce world-class batsmen and similarly potent spinners. Though in recent times, the...

IPL 2018: The beautiful Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur

Being seated in the Sawai Mansingh stadium brings a different world, a world of difference away from the palpable excitement of watching truly India’s...

Top 5 Left Wingers In The World, Based On 2019-20 Season

Owing to the fact that football has evolved a lot since its inception and the tactics have changed a lot, the role of wingers...

The astonishing decline of Mario Balotelli

There was a time when Mario Balotelli was on top of the world.  The Italian talisman had scored two goals in the Euro 2012 semi-finals,...

What can be expected from the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix?

Heat in the air and heat inside the car- that's been the story of the Azerbaijan Grand prix. As F1 parks itself at Baku...

How Suresh Raina Batted India Into The Finals of 2011 World Cup

Its been 9 years, since India won the Cricket World Cup defeating Sri Lanka on 2 April, 2011. The images and visuals of...

IPL 2018: The best from the West Indies

When one of nature's treacherous attacks on mankind- earthquakes- strike, their impact is measured on Richter's scale. When West Indians strike in a tournament...

Big change for India Women’s cricket as BCCI looks to finalise bowling coach soon

We are not even at the halfway stage of the 2018 cricketing season. It clearly seems there's no stopping India's women's cricket team. The...

Age Fraud in Indian Cricket: Are players really to be blamed?

There have been times while watching a cricket match when we tend to hear commentators comment on cricketers’ age. We as fans have many...

Ajax XI if they didn’t sell their star players

Based in Amsterdam, AFC Ajax, who incidentally draw their name from the legendary Greek hero of the same name, are the most successful club...

5 famous players to play for both Leeds United and Liverpool

Leeds United are back in the Premier League after 16 years and will play Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday in their very first match...

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -