Open Action

The Open Action
Last week we saw how to get into the classical side-on action for bowling. But if you have noticed over the years, most of the Caribbean fast bowlers have had an ‘open’ action. Players from the West Indies have always had a cavalier style of playing cricket. Their aggressive, attacking approach to cricket has won them many fans. Some of the strokes that they play may not be from the MCC coaching manual, but they have been exciting players and have dominated world cricket for well over two decades.

The strongly built West Indians love to bowl fast, and they ape the actions of their heroes. Their approach to cricket is simple and uncomplicated. Let’s now study an ‘open’ action delivery :

How do you bowl with an ‘Open’ Action?

In the ‘open’ action, when the back foot lands in the delivery stride, the toes of the back foot point towards fine leg. This is unlike the side-on action where the back foot lands parallel to the bowling crease.

Here the back foot is inside the line of front foot.

The front arm and shoulder open toward 2nd-3rd slip.

The bowler watches the batsman from the inside of the front arm.

The front elbow is briskly tugged into the side of the body

The front foot is open and the bowler releases the ball over his front foot.
The front arm action opens the front shoulder and the ball is released with a push towards the target
The shoulders, hips and feet are all open and in one plane and in same direction at the instant the ball is released.
There is no complicated pivoting of the hips in the ‘open’ action and that is one of the reasons why the fast bowlers with a completely ‘open’ action are less prone to injuries to the lower back.
This type of bowling action is good for swinging the ball into the batsman like most West Indies bowlers do. Basically, the ‘open’ action is conducive to bowling in-swingers and leg cutters but an out swinger can also be bowled with a little adjustment. We shall discuss this later.

Caution :

Bowlers with an ‘open’ action, when prone to dropping the front shoulder too much, may end up bending their bowling arm. More often than not such bowlers are thought to be ‘chuckers’.

The dropping of the front shoulder may also result in many deliveries going down the leg side of a right handed batsman.