Part-timers, or non-regular bowlers, as most captains wish to call them, are among the biggest assets for a captain to have, when nothing is going right on the field. Often, these bowlers break the concentration of a batsman, and make them play false shots. These bowlers are often the trump cards that fielding Captains often use when all else has been tried and nothing has worked. We take a look at 5 of the best non-regular bowlers doing the rounds in world cricket at the moment, in no particular order.
1. JP Duminy
A nagging off break bowler who has great control over his deliveries, Duminy is important to South Africa, especially when they decide to go in with an all-pace attack. Duminy is necessary to provide a bit of variation, and also to give the fast bowlers some rest. He can always be relied upon to be economical and to keep one end shut, for the attack to continue at the other end. Duminy is a more than handy bowler, especially in ODI cricket where he boats of an economy rate less than 5, which is remarkable considering the fact that he is known more for his prowess with bat in hand, than as a bowler.
17 wickets in 19 tests, and 35 wickets in ODIs mean that along with keeping things tight, he has the ability to break a partnership.
2. Suresh Raina
After the World Cup, with Yuvraj Singh being unavailable, and his bowling form dipping, Raina’s part-time off spin is what MS Dhoni has most often turned to in times where all else has failed. Raina is a very canny bowler, and has this wonderful ability to read the batsman while in his delivery stride. He has a natural pause in his action, and that is an added advantage as he tries to adjust his length when he sees the batsman coming at him. Raina is the proverbial partnership-breaker, and more often tha not, will end his spell with something there in the wickets column.
Like Duminy, Raina also doesn’t leak too many runs, with an economy rate of just over 5, which in modern day cricket, is more than acceptable, especially for a non-regular bowler. On Indian pitches which offer some assistance, Raina is more than useful with ball in hand.
3. Steve Smith
He seems to deliver the juiciest of deliveries with his loopy leg-breaks and it is probably that, which fetches him a lot of wickets. Smith has a leg break that turns a mile, when he lands them right, and also has the ability to bowl the googly. But, more often than not, it is the filthiest of deliveries that he bowls which fetch him wickets. As Ian Bell has found out over the course of these Ashes series, Smith’s leg spin cannot be underestimated, and he needs to be given respect, because he is still a handy option to have as a fall back. Smith – mainly playing only test cricket now – can be very useful on sub-continental wickets, and even in Australia, on grounds like the Adelaide Oval, and the SCG which offer some help for the spinners.
He’s got the great Sachin Tendulkar out in a Test match, with a genuinely good delivery. Now, not many people can say that. Can they?
4. Marlon Samuels
Samuels bowls a lot more than the three mentioned above, and it is with good measure that he does that. With an ODI Economy rate of 4.77, Samuels is a bowler who is not easy to get away. That is mainly because he is not a conventional off-spinner. He is one who prefers to dart the ball in at a flat trajectory, and bowls at the stumps. It is not easy to get such a bowler away, especially one who has a quicker one that can clock up to 120 km/h on the speed gun.
Although the legality of Samuels’s bowling action has been questioned from time to time, he is a useful customer to have, especially when he is running through his overs in the middle of an ODI innings.
5. Tillakaratne Dilshan
With 76 wickets at an Economy Rate of 4.7 in ODI cricket, Dilshan is probably as good a non-regular bowler as there is in world cricket at the moment. Dilshan has the ability to genuinely spin the ball, something that not too many non-regular bowlers can boast of. Also, because he plays a lot of his games on the slow pitches in the Emerald Isle, Dilshan can generally be relied upon to give the Captain a frugal 10 overs. He is someone, who apart from his bowling, is a brilliant fielder, and very often, he has made his own wickets with outstanding bits of fielding.
Apart from these five mentioned, there are a few others, who in days gone by, used to be very threatening bowlers, but they do not bowl as much these days. The likes of Michael Clarke and Yuvraj Singh spring to mind immediately. Who can forget Clarke’s 6-9 in Mumbai, or his spell in Sydney that won Australia the game against India. Yuvraj had an outstanding World Cup in 2011 as a bowler as well, which was a catalyst to him winning the Man of the Tournament award.