Going so near the crease makes no-balls more likely.

Disadvantages : A penalty run is given away. Maybe more runs if the batsman can hit it. Maybe more runs in the next penalty ball. In 20-20 format, a free-hit also gives away more runs. Wickets (catch, stumping, etc) might be potentially taken, but the effort will be lost, only because of the no-ball. (( Case In Point : http://www.icc-cricket.com/world-t20/match/worldt20-2016/34 , ICC World Twenty20 2016 Semi-Final 2 , March 31st 2016 , Wankhede Stadium , West Indies won by 7 wickets ))

Advantages : None that I can think of. One very unlikely possibility was that the bowler wants to maximise the speed for the batsman, or minimise the Distance for the ball to travel. But if this is a real advantage, then there should be no batsmen batting from outside the crease. More-over, batsmen would not be charging down towards the ball. Hence this advantage does not sound correct.

With all these Disadvantages, why do bowlers go so near the crease ?

One Quote by Dhoni after the Match given above, where I have highlighted the point of this question :
"It was a bad toss to lose, as the dew started to come in for us. The spinner did not have much to offer with that and we have history about our spinners bowling with the dew. I am not happy with the no balls but other than that the boys played very well. We wanted the fast bowlers to make some sort of a game, they bowled decently but the conditions were tough for them."

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    This is actually a great question. I have seen spinners (esp. Saqlain Mushtaq) bowl from behind the bowling crease (at times, even from right next to the umpire). I have always wondered why bowlers don't use it tactically, maybe varying the delivery point for one or two balls in the over to make things a little harder for the batsman. – Masked Man Apr 19 '15 at 11:03
  • They do use it as a tactic. Bowlers use the entire crease, as & when it suits them. However, the specific question the OP asked is very hard to answer, particularly as he rebuts each answer with the equivalent of "I know, but...." – TrueDub May 12 '15 at 10:16
  • @MaskedMan , Yes, I am glad you find this a great question. Really, "varying the delivery point" is a good tactic, but most bowlers simply go as far as possible without variation. End Result : (1) No challenge to batsmen on the variation and (2) Many no-balls, with loss of runs + a few lost wickets taken on the no-ball. – Prem May 15 '15 at 6:14
  • @TrueDub , if you say anything new which is not already in my post, I will not say "I know, but....". In your answer, you do not refer to variation, referring only to max-speed. My reply was "When batsmen are very comfortable with fast balls, sometimes even charging forward, why bowlers risk no-balls for getting max-speed ?". MaskedMan made a good point of variation, but bowlers are not even using that : they simply go as far as possible. My question remains "When bowlers have little advantage in max-speed & when they have choice of variation, why do they consistently go so near the crease ?" – Prem May 15 '15 at 6:34
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    @TrueDub Of course, I know that, but in case it wasn't already obvious from the context, I wasn't referring to the horizontal variation of the delivery point, but the vertical one. We sometimes see a pace bowler's ball swings after it passed the bat but before reaching WK. The commentators keep blabbering on and on about how he should try to make the ball swing before it reaches the bat. Releasing the ball from a few feet behind the popping crease can help. It is at least worth trying for one delivery, but nobody does! – Masked Man May 16 '15 at 11:56

I'm assuming you mean the popping crease, which is the horizontal line at the bowler's end closest to the batsman.

Fast bowlers in general try to get as close to a no-ball as possible without actually conceding one, and umpires generally have to be very vigilant on this. The bowler is trying to wring every last kph out of the delivery, and so trying to get as close as possible to the batsman before delivering.

Slower bowlers in general don't rely on pure pace, and so are happy to simply place their foot on or behind that crease.

  • This is what I mentioned in my question, as a possible but very unlikely "Advantage". If this really an advantage, then (A) no batsman should bat from outside the batting crease & (B) there should be no batsmen charging down towards the ball (both of which will enhance the advantage). – Prem Apr 12 '15 at 10:00
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    That's a question coaches (and umpires) have been asking since the front-foot no-ball law was introduced. – TrueDub Apr 12 '15 at 10:14
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    You're pretty much answering your own question now, which makes me wonder why you asked it. – TrueDub Apr 12 '15 at 13:18
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    @DaveP However, fast bowlers do not always release from the same point. They sometimes bowl from close to the stumps (a certain Mr. Steven Finn doing this too often even led to a change in the rules), and at other times from close to the return crease, or anywhere in between. Doing it "horizontally" is enough of a give-away to the batsman, then why not do it vertically, that is the question. In fact, as a batsman, I would find it harder if the bowler releases the ball at any random point during his run-up than if he does it from a fixed distance. – Masked Man May 16 '15 at 12:00
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    Further on that point, several international batsman speak about how they "switch off" mentally after playing a ball, sing a song (Virender Sehwag, for example) or whatever, and then "switch on" moments before the ball is delivered. Bowler releasing the ball earlier than expected can completely mess up the batsman's mind, never mind the speed of the ball. – Masked Man May 16 '15 at 12:07

Simple... to achieve consistent a good line and length and to trouble the batter. The good length will put doubt in the batters mind to come forward or back plus with the bowler closer to them at the point of release can intimidate them.

If they trained and then played with their front foot much further back then the batter will have time to adjust and to decide what to do, plus the ball will not bounce as much because the ball has to be bowled flatter to bounce at the point of indecision.

Besides the bowler will mark their run up so they can get their foot close to the pooping crease. They don't want to go over it but does happen particularly if they try too hard and their stride widens.

from Brett Lee himself...

Someone will mark exactly where your front foot landed, and you don't worry about where the ball goes. Then you go back and do it again, pushing off the same mark, run and let it go while feeling comfortable, and hopefully you will release the ball at the same point.

So it is important to release the ball from the same spot so why not use the crease as the marker and get under the skin of the batter also.

Cricket is more than skill, it is also a mind game to upset the rhythms of their opponent

line and length video

  • +1 , interesting reference, though it only partially answers my question (it even reinforces my question) : "Someone will mark exactly where your front foot landed, & you don't worry about where the ball goes - You find after doing this about 10 times that you are releasing the ball at pretty much the same spot - You don't want to waste energy because you need it to keep concentration & accuracy" : What I get from this : "bowler can mark start-point & ensure that end-point is within the crease + he should not worry about no balls". So why do some bowlers still risk going so near the crease ? – Prem Jul 16 '15 at 11:28
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    Delivering from some 5 cm behind the crease will be hardly noticeable to the batsman. If that wasn't the case, batsmen would have detected no-balls themselves, but that almost never happens. – Masked Man Apr 1 '16 at 16:22

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