Line and length

# Line and length

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Line and length in cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

refers to the direction and point of bouncing on the pitch of a delivery
Delivery (cricket)
A delivery or ball in cricket is a single action of bowling a cricket ball towards the batsman.During play of the game, a member of the fielding team is designated as the bowler, and bowls deliveries towards the batsman...

. The two concepts are frequently discussed together.

## Line

The line of a cricket delivery is the direction of its trajectory measured in the horizontal
Horizontal plane
In geometry, physics, astronomy, geography, and related sciences, a plane is said to be horizontal at a given point if it is perpendicular to the gradient of the gravity field at that point— in other words, if apparent gravity makes a plumb bob hang perpendicular to the plane at that point.In...

axis. More simply, it is a measure of how far to the left or right the ball is travelling, compared to a line drawn straight down the pitch. It is usually referred to in terms of the directions off (away in front of the batsman) and leg
Leg side
The leg side, or on side, is defined to be a particular half of the field used to play the sport of cricket.From the point of view of a right-handed batsman facing the bowler, it is the left hand side of the cricket field...

(in towards or behind the batsman), rather than left and right, however.

Line controls how much room the batsman has to play various shots, and sometimes dictates what shot he must play. A line directed at the wicket
Wicket
In the sport of cricket the word wicket has several distinct meanings:-Definitions of wicket:Most of the time, the wicket is one of the two sets of three stumps and two bails at either end of the pitch...

, for example, must be defended with the bat, as failing to hit the ball will result in the batsman being out
Dismissal (cricket)
In the sport of cricket, a dismissal occurs when the batsman is out . Colloquially, the fielding team is also said to have snared, bagged or captured a wicket. At this point a batsman must discontinue batting and leave the field permanently for the innings...

bowled
Bowled
Bowled is a method of dismissing a batsman in the sport of cricket. This method of dismissal is covered by Law 30 of the Laws of cricket.A batsman is out bowled if his wicket is put down by a ball delivered by the bowler...

, whilst a batsman blocking the ball with the body is likely to be out leg before wicket
Leg before wicket
In the sport of cricket, leg before wicket is one of the ways in which a batsman can be dismissed. An umpire will rule a batsman out LBW under a series of circumstances which primarily include the ball striking the batsman's body when it would otherwise have continued on to hit the batsman's...

.

Despite this most direct method of getting the batsman out, bowlers often concentrate their line outside off stump
Stump (cricket)
Stump is a term used in the sport of cricket where it has three different meanings:# part of the wicket# a manner of dismissing a batsman# the end of the day's play .-Part of the wicket:...

, where the batsman does not necessarily have to hit the ball to avoid being out. A line just outside off stump is sometimes referred to as the corridor of uncertainty
Corridor of uncertainty
The corridor of uncertainty is a phrase originating from the sport of cricket. It describes an area where a cricket ball can pitch during a delivery: a narrow line on and just outside a batsman's off stump...

, as the batsman may be in two minds whether or not he needs to hit the ball to prevent it hitting his wicket. In this state, the batsman has little choice but to attempt to hit the ball, as not doing so could be disastrous. By thus forcing the batsman to play at the ball with some element of uncertainty, the bowler's goal is to induce a poorly executed shot that may offer a catch to a fielder, or ricochet the ball into the wicket.

Line can also be used strategically to restrict run scoring. One method is to stack the fielders predominantly on either the leg or off side of the field, and then bowl consistently with a matching line, to make it difficult for the batsman to hit the ball to the opposite side of the field.

A deliberate policy of aiming the line of the ball at the batsman's body was employed by England
English cricket team
The England and Wales cricket team is a cricket team which represents England and Wales. Until 1992 it also represented Scotland. Since 1 January 1997 it has been governed by the England and Wales Cricket Board , having been previously governed by Marylebone Cricket Club from 1903 until the end...

during their 1932-1933 tour of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. This dangerous tactic has since been outlawed. See Bodyline
Bodyline
Bodyline, also known as fast leg theory bowling, was a cricketing tactic devised by the English cricket team for their 1932–33 Ashes tour of Australia, specifically to combat the extraordinary batting skill of Australia's Don Bradman...

for full details.

## Length

The length of a delivery is how far down the pitch towards the batsman the ball bounces. It is described as being either short (bouncing closer to the bowler), long or full (bouncing nearer the batsman), or a good length (an optimal length, somewhere in between).

The length of a ball controls how high the ball rises from the pitch as it reaches the batsman's stance position. A ball pitched too short rises relatively high and loses some of its pace, making it easier to hit. A ball pitched too long does not have time to deviate horizontally in its flight, also making it easier for the batsman to hit. A good length ball is a compromise between these two, bouncing far enough from the batsman for lateral deviation to be significant, but not so far that he can react easily to hit it. For quick bowlers the "good length ball" is usually six to eight metres in front of the batsman, and for slower bowlers(spin) it is usually at about three to four metres before the batsman. Though the optimal length will vary according to the state of the pitch, prevailing climatic conditions and the height and playing style of the batsman.

A bowler can use variation in length to upset the rhythm of a batsman. A typical sequence would be a series of slightly short balls to force the batsman into playing shots with his weight on the back foot, to allow him more time to hit the ball, followed by a full ball bouncing near the batsman's legs. If the batsman does not react to the change in length quickly enough, he can be left with his weight on the back foot and, if he misses the ball with his bat, in danger of being out either bowled or leg before wicket
Leg before wicket
In the sport of cricket, leg before wicket is one of the ways in which a batsman can be dismissed. An umpire will rule a batsman out LBW under a series of circumstances which primarily include the ball striking the batsman's body when it would otherwise have continued on to hit the batsman's...

.

Another attacking ploy is to pitch a ball very short, making it bounce up around head height as it passes the batsman. Such a bouncer
Bouncer (cricket)
In the sport of cricket, a bouncer is a type of delivery, usually bowled by a fast bowler. It is pitched short so that it bounces on the pitch well short of the batsman and rears up to chest or head height as it reaches the batsman.Bouncers are used tactically to drive the batsman back on to his...

requires the batsman to avoid being hit, and may intimidate him into uncertainty about the next few balls.