With T20 leagues increasing worldwide, many cricketers have gone on to become freelance cricketers and have opted out of international contracts. An example of such a player is Mitchell McCleneghan.
Other bowlers play international cricket but stay away from the red ball formats to focus on white-ball cricket.
Examples of such players are Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, who have chosen to play white-ball cricket but have not represented their red-ball sides.
There are players like Tymal Mills who are forced to stick to the shorter forms. Tymal Mills is an explosive fast bowler and could have had a long and successful career across formats.
He suffered a chronic back injury, which restricted him to T20 cricket.
As he could only play T20 cricket, Tymal Mills went around playing in various leagues worldwide and was a player with high demand.
Let us now look at how the multi-format fast bowlers have done compared to the T20 specialists.
The discussion will be regarding international players who have been active in all formats or at least most formats internationally in the last year.
All-Format Fast bowlers:
Forty-one games into the tournament; the top 15 wicket-takers of the tournament consist of 11 fast bowlers, and a lot of them are regulars in all formats of the game.
Rabada, Bumrah, and Trent Boult are at the top three, with Shami and Archer very close to them.
The five bowlers mentioned are regulars for their test sides. They are crucial bowlers across formats and are showing how quality is essential in any format.
A common factor with the five bowlers mentioned is their consistency.
All the bowlers mentioned can quickly bowl 145+ and are very consistent with their line and length.
Having bowled across formats, they know the importance of using their stock ball often.
While the bowlers are consistent with their line and length, they also have a fair amount of variations to keep themselves relevant in the shorter format.
Bumrah, for example, comes in with a unique action while Rabada has a sharp bouncer and oozes aggression. There is Jofra Archer, who bowls with a very short run-up and hurries the batsman with pace.
Shami bowls consistent test match lengths and can be effective at any game stage like Trent Boult.
Bumrah, Rabada, Shami, and Trent Boult have also proven their worth in super overs, having restricted batsmen well when given the opportunity.
The accuracy they possess allows them to execute their plans with ease and strangle batsmen.
Archer still hasn’t gotten the chance to bowl a super over in the IPL, but has done so at the biggest stage in a world cup final to show that he is capable of bowling in super overs.
Test cricket is a crucial factor behind the increased accuracy of all-format bowlers.
Bowling in test cricket requires a lot of patience and control. With the fields, more aggressive a ball that is not in the right area will be attacked as loose deliveries are less common in test cricket than in other formats.
To ensure the batsman has nothing to hit, bowlers are made to bowl deliveries in the same places, which may be challenging for the batsmen to get away.
By attempting to bowl the same line and length each ball, bowlers know they will get to see the release point better, making it easier for them to pitch the balls where they want.
It is also important to note that a good ball in tests may not always be a good ball in T20. This is where test bowlers may have had difficulty adapting, but it doesn’t seem to be the case as bowlers keep proving that they have the quality to deliver in any form.
The five all-format bowlers mentioned have shown that they can be economical while also taking wickets.
Jofra Archer, Kagiso Rabada, and Jasprit Bumrah have economy rates under eight.
Their economy is worth noting as they bowl most of their overs in the death overs.
The wickets they take may be a factor behind the difficulty in run-scoring as it brings new batsmen in when they are bowling.
There is Pat Cummins, who has been doing an excellent job with the new ball as well. He has not been among the wickets but has bowled tight lines finishing three of his four overs in the powerplay on many occasions.
Anrich Nortje, an upcoming South African bowler, is currently 9th on the wickets list. He is another bowler who is slowly becoming a regular across formats. His pace has been impressive throughout this season, with him going up t0 156kph.
He bowls a good number of overs in death but doesn’t resort to the slower ball often and sticks to his strengths, which is pace. Sticking to speed, which is his most significant strength, is what may have bought him success so far in the end overs.
The spinners in IPL 2020 have had a mixed tournament so far.
There was talk about pitches getting slower and drier as the season goes on, which was negated due to the dew factor in a few fixtures.
Despite the lack of support for spinners, there have been a few who have enjoyed success.
Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Varun Chakravarthy, and Rashid Khan have enjoyed good seasons.
While bowlers like Sundar and Ashwin have not been among the wickets, the two of them bowled with consistency and ensured they were not hit for many runs.
Axar Patel mixed his tight bowling with a bit of aggression and has been a surprise package with his bowling.
Rashid Khan is a champion bowler in T20 cricket. His bowling is very tough to get away. Most players look to play Rashid out, which helps him finish off at a lower economy rate. Though batsmen were happy to see him off, Rashid has still been among the wickets with his variations.
Yuzvendra Chahal is currently fifth on the top wicket-takers list. He is a very aggressive bowler and has proved a place for aggressive leg-spinners in T20 cricket.
He has done well to outsmart batsmen, which is what results in his success.
Of the spinners mentioned, only Ashwin and Rashid Khan play test matches and are used in all formats.
Yuzvendra Chahal is a crucial member of the limited-overs sides and is also a very successful bowler in first-class cricket.
Conclusion on the discussion of all-format bowlers:
There’s not much that can be spoken about regarding the spinners. There are many spinners this season who are young and doing well, so it isn’t easy to judge how the all-format specialists have done compared to the T20 specialists.
Though there is a T20 specialist this season in Sunil Narine, he hasn’t had a very fortunate tournament. He was called for his bowling action, which made him miss a few games. As a result, Narine is yet to reach his full potential this IPL.
Going to the pacers, the all-format bowlers have enjoyed more success over the bowlers who stick to the short formats like Dwayne Bravo, Mitch McClenaghan, and Chris Jordan.