One of the finest T20 bowlers of all-time, Dwayne Bravo made a career out of exceptional death-bowling that relied on change of pace and landing yorkers at the right place. That yielded him 500 T20 wickets while helping him be a part of 15 title-winning domestic franchise titles apart from two World Cups.
With Chennai Super Kings, Bravo built a strong relationship and was an integral part of the set-up before moving onto the role of bowling coach. Decoding his bowling, and death bowling in general, Bravo said yorker is probably the most difficult art to muster but very important nonetheless.
“Well, the best is, it always has to be the yorker, but it’s one of the most difficult balls to bowl,” Bravo told the Indian Express. “You have to really put in the hours and practice. Get a lot of, you know, different options from over the wicket, around the wicket, bowling wide, bowling straight. So it is the most important ball in the bowling arsenal.
“It’s something you got to have in this format. If you don’t have a yorker, you will not last long, you will not survive, unless you bowl really quick, like 150 plus. So even if you bowl out 150-plus there comes a moment where you need to really rely on a yorker because it’s the most difficult ball to get away and is the safest option. And whenever you are under pressure, especially in the back end of the innings, yorker is a go-to ball,” Bravo says.
In T20 itself, Bravo has picked 140 wickets from his slower balls that induced a false shot of 31.8%. In 2018 and 2019 when CSK returned to the fold after two-year ban, Bravo was their major man for the crisis, as he bowled 87 overs in the middle and death overs, claiming 28 wickets at an economy of 9.1.
The Trindadian, who won the IPL Purple Cap twice in 2013 and 2015, added that it became important for him to work on his slower ball due to his lack of pace in general. Bravo is keen to spend more time with CSK pacers during this stint and teaching them the tricks of the trade and especially, how to execute them the right way during match situations.
“I worked on my slower ball because I don’t have that extra pace to intimidate batsmen. So I rely a lot more on the execution of my skills and that knowledge is something I’m trying to pass on to our bowling group which is similar. They’re all medium pacers, no one bowls at 150. It is about getting them to understand the importance of the slower ones and yorkers. Everyone has different variations, but if you try them all, it becomes way too many. It is all about keeping it simple.
“The more games you play, you will start to learn things on your own, develop things on your own. You know, practice is a key preparation moment going into the game. The game intensity will take over and the margin of error is very slim when you play in a tournament like IPL which is the toughest tournament in the world. You don’t play in this kind of tournament every day. So you have to absorb it and practice game by game,” Bravo said.