The medium pacer, too slow to be considered a fast bowler, too fast and lacking the dexterity to be a spinner. Today’s topic will look at the criteria of what makes a medium pacer. There are three distinct areas that need to be met.
Number One – Pace
As mentioned earlier a medium pacers is too slow to be a fast bowler and lacks the skills to be a spinner. A fast bowler’s slower ball and a spinner’s arm ball are often the range that medium pacer will work in. Some members of the club are exceptions to this rule, namely Xavier Frawley’s off cutter is too slow and a Nick Powys’ arm ball is too fast to fit in this range. These are abnormalities. To place a figure on this range, it is somewhere between 95-110 km/h. 110km/h is rarely achieved amongst the core group of bowlers. Instances where this may be achieved is when the lucky individual is given the opportunity to bowl downhill with the wind. The thought of this gets any medium pacer excited.
Number Two – Having a Thick Skin
Any medium pace bowler needs thick skin. Due to the pace possessed by the individual they’ll never be a member of the fast bowlers union. If you question this, then think if a wicketkeeper is up to the stumps to your bowling then: one, you should be embarrassed and two, you have no right to be considered ‘fast’ or even have the word associated with you. On the rare occasion medium pacers can out number fast bowlers; third grade won a premiership last year having a ratio of 3:1. Yes, I am considering Henry Clark above the status of medium pace, mainly because he bowls off the wrong foot and this takes time for the batsman to adjust to.
Back onto the topic of needing thick skin. Due to this out casting from the fast bowlers union, a medium pacer can become isolated, leaving them vulnerable to sledging tirades from their fellow teammates. “Release the hand-brake”, “bowling backwards” and “Wow, that one might of hit three figures” are a few examples of the treatment received. Of course, medium pacers don’t help themselves. Being rare and a nuffy are frequently found characteristics in these individuals, which just adds fuel to the fire.
Number Three – Specific Role and Burgling Wickets
Focusing on full time medium pacers here, although some batsman do describe their bowling as being of ‘first-class’ status (looking at James Larkin here); these same batsman (again James Larkin) repeatedly complain of a torn rotator cuff after two overs of part-time bowling. The role of a medium pacer is to bowl their set amount of overs, tying down an end so that the ‘strike’ bowlers can snare the break through. Therefore, a medium pacer is found pushing uphill and into a tail wind for 10-15 overs straight, seemingly validating the sledge of “bowling backwards”. This is done week in week out, the reward is burgling a wicket or two with the batsman playing an inpatient shot, often caught on the ring or the boundary rope. Some bowlers have made burgling a speciality, take third grade captain Ash Cowan for example. Ash has frequently been seen either sliding the ball through a number 9 batsman’s bat and smacking them flush on the pad, or firing a delivery down leg for a cheeky leg side stumping. It is this burglar characteristic that leaves teammates bemused to see four or five dusty medium pacers finish in the top 10 for bowling aggregate year in year out. This is further exemplified by medium pacer Jack Gibson winning player of the year last season, with a haul of 36 wickets and best figures of 5/19.
If you meet the three part criteria then you are definitely a dusty, dibbly doppling medium pacer who will be most likely a rare unit and presumably take 20-30 wickets in a seasons. Welcome to the underwhelming union of medium pacers.