I did not grow up with cricket, so I ask this question to get a better intuition for the game.

Are there some bowlers who specialize in maidens, while others who take higher number of wickets at perhaps the risk of a high economy rate? Bowling maidens and taking wickets are obviously both very good results for a bowler, but it doesn't seem like the two always go hand-in-hand and sometimes the two objectives might work against each other.

2 Answers 2


You're pretty much correct, although the distinction is more "bowler who concedes few runs" than "bowler who bowls lots of maidens" - consistently conceding (say) one run an over is still a good result for a bowler in any format, it doesn't necessarily have to be a maiden per se.

Overgeneralising massively:

  • The fastest bowlers will tend to take more wickets and concede more runs per over than somewhat lower pace bowlers. Some of this is just simple physics: if a batsman does make good contact with the ball from a very fast bowler, it's just more likely to leave the bat faster so will tend to go for more runs. To make up for this, the fastest bowlers need to take more wickets.
  • Wrist spinners concede more runs and take more wickets than finger spinners

As you say, both taking wickets and restricting runs are good results for a bowler - it is worth noting that the value of each can vary throughout a match, so while at some points it may be better to take wickets and at other points it may be better to restrict runs. For example:

  • If in a limited overs match, a team has 10 overs left, needs 10 runs to win but has only one wicket left, the wicket taking bowler is probably the best bet.
  • If a team has 10 overs left, needs 80 runs to win and has all their wickets remaining, the economical bowler is (arguably) worth more.

This is actually a thing. A bowler whose main aim to take wickets is known as a strike bowler. An economy bowler will try and keep the run rate low. This is more prevalent in test cricket (4 or 5 days) than in the shorter formats. A strike bowler will generally try and target areas where the batsman plays unnatural shots, has unnatural movement, etc. This is most likely to produce a miss time, etc. An economy bowler will consistently bowl the same line and length over and over. This will generally be in a area that is difficult to score off. From my younger days this was often trained in by taping an a4 four to the area, and working to hit it at least 4 out of 6 deliveries. Economy bowlers will also take wickets, if the batsmen run out of patience and try and 'create' something from the difficult line and lengths. Strike bowlers will also sometimes target economy on pitches where there is very little movement and fooling the batsman is not easy.

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