Harry Gurney has credited his calmness as a key part of the armoury which has led him to become a successful limited-overs death bowler around the world.
The left-armer, who has taken 115 T20 wickets in an eight-year spell with the Outlaws, discussed the way the game’s shorter formats have become increasingly tactical in an interview with Sportstar’s Couch Talk podcast.
“I try to react calmly whether I’ve been hit for six or I’ve knocked middle stump out of the ground,” he said.
“You have to accept that you are going to go for boundaries; that there are going to be days when the batsmen win. But that isn’t to say that you don’t try to minimise those days.
“Every time I’m walking back to my mark, regardless of whatever has just happened, I’m just trying to work out what the batsman least wants me to bowl.
“I do feel T20 is the most tactical form of the game, similar to a game of chess or poker, and I credit poker with my ability to make good decisions more often than not.”
The 32-year-old, who recently returned from a successful stint with the CPL-winning Barbados Tridents, disclosed the lengths he has gone to in search of increased variety with the ball.
“One of my main philosophies is that I need to be able to bowl at least two types of deliveries to every field at the death,” he said.
“So, if I set the field with fine leg, third man and point up and cover up, and everyone else on the boundary front of square, I can bowl a yorker and a slower ball to that. You can actually get away with a slower ball bouncer, if the line is right, because it's going to get pulled in front of square.
“As my career has gone on and I have become more successful, what I've realised is that I can bowl far more than two variations to that field.
“What's also becoming increasingly popular in T20 is bluffing. A lot of bowlers will bring fine leg and third man up, and still bowl a bouncer because they are playing mind games with the batsman.
“There are always things you are looking at – I’m playing around with a knuckleball at the moment – but the two slower balls I have, mixed in with quicker deliveries and the different angles and lengths you can bowl, can give you quite a lot of variation.”
Gurney also discussed the work he puts in to ensure his stock deliveries remain potent – as exemplified in a video of his training ahead of the 2019 Blast campaign.
“I spend a lot of time working on bowling the right length, especially with my slower ball” he said.
“If I bowl too short it sits up and gets dealt with, and if it’s too full they can adjust.
“When it dips onto the perfect length the batsman can’t get out to reach it or play back to it, and the dip can deceive them.
“The yorker is the hardest delivery to bowl consistently – from the point where you release the ball, the area where you potentially need to pitch the ball is effectively narrower than the bullseye on a dart board, because of the distance you’re bowling from.
“So if you go out and try to bowl a Yorker without having done hundreds of hours of practice, you’re going to be disappointed more often than not.”
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