So what if Gul won the T20i Performance of the Year Award, we still need to bring back our yorkers!

Published: December 17, 2013

There was a time when yorkers used to be the favoured delivery of every seam bowler, especially in those matches that had limited overs. This was usually played when the opposing team was looking for quick runs, towards the end of an inning.

If played perfectly, the yorker is a delivery that is almost impossible to hit. Even the most accomplished of batsmen face difficulty trying to get a yorker bowled at a fast pace.

Pakistan had bowlers who could deliver yorkers almost at will.

Sultans of Swing (Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis) had mastered the art in the ‘90s and, then we had the likes of Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul who would use this weapon to stop the run flow.

Gul has recently earned the ICC T20 International Performance of the Year Award, though the wickets taken by him during the winning performance were not due to the toe crushers.

Yorker was not only a defensive delivery but an attacking option that consistently brought wickets.

I still remember the days of toe-crushers delivered by Waqar Younis so consistently that having been bowled by such a delivery was termed ‘Waqared’. Even when these bowlers did get the yorker wrong – as it is a difficult delivery to bowl – unless things went terribly wrong, the resulting low full toss was still hard to hit.

But alas, those days are long gone. We no longer have the bowlers who can bowl yorkers consistently.

With bowlers like Junaid KhanSohail Tanvir and Wahab Riaz, you do see a yorker here or there but mostly it is rubbish delivery. The length ball, which they perform during the death overs, are easy picking for the opposing batsmen, leading to an average of 10-15 runs per over.

This problem is not specific to Pakistan. Bowlers all around the world have lost their ability to fire in those quick toe-crushing missiles as has been evident by the inflating limited over scores. A case in point would be a match from the recently finished India-Australia series which was a deathbed for the bowlers.

Ishant Sharma kept bowling length while James Faulkner kept hitting him to all parts of the ground. It just may be that the bowlers do not want to put in the extra efforts as a yorker is a difficult delivery to bowl in comparison to a bouncer, putting extra strain on the body.

With improving standards of coaching and increasing use of video analysis and techniques for match preparation, deadly bowling standards seem to be in continuous free fall.

The best way to counter the run scoring during aggressive overs is to bring back the yorker!

Dr Amyn Malyk

Dr Amyn Malik

The author is a PhD student at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. He is a former Fulbright Scholar who likes to write. He tweets as @amynmalik

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Long Time Reader

    Firstly, the fact that you discredited Junaid Khan by saying he doesn’t bowl enough yorkers is rubbish. I don’t know what games you’ve been watching, he’s a master of the delivery as shown during the second ODI against the Proteas.

    Secondly, I agree the yorker is a good delivery to have, but it’s not as effective today as it was ten years ago. Nostalgia doesn’t get you results, in Waqar and Wasim’s days, batsmen would never think of advancing down the pitch turning the yorker into an overpitched delivery, or scooping the ball on the full to the boundary as players like De Villiers for example, are so good at doing. With such innovations, the yorker has become an overrated delivery. Variations are important, and when Tanvir gets them right, it makes it hard for the batsman to score in the death overs.Recommend

  • Reaper

    What are you talking about? Pakistani pacers are the best users of yorkers in world cricket at the moment. Irfan, Junaid and Gul can all bowl lethal yorkers. I think your judgment is clouded by nostalgia and the recent T20 match with SL where the dew played a key factor in our bowlers missing their lengths. Even the younger guys like Bhatti can bowl fast incoming yorkers as he showed in the South Africa Series. For the next time please use cricketing logic before you write an article. This isnt the 90s where the world had no clue about the reverse swing. The new rules and restrictions too favor the batsmanRecommend

  • Aleem Zubair

    Also, two new balls rule has significantly reduced the effectiveness of reverse swing.Recommend

  • Aleem Zubair

    Although “Long Time Reader” has made some valid observations but I do miss yorkers. Also, with the advent of Doosra and well contained off-spin, we’ve lost googly there somewhere.Recommend

  • O Homaey

    We are certainly missing the ‘toe-crushers’ that Mitchel Johnson has mastered (which almost broke Stuart Broad’s toe but it would be wise to say that Pakistan still has the fire power to produce yorkers. Junaid and Irfan have a good command over them but the experience of two W’s is what the bowling line up lacks which will come with time.Recommend

  • Deen Sheikh

    bring back Shoaib Akhter!!!!Recommend