Chris Woakes has praised England’s precision after their one-day bowling attack racked up more than 10,000 deliveries without conceding a front-foot no-ball.
Cricket statistician Mazher Arshad calculated that Eoin Morgan’s side passed the remarkable landmark during their victory over Sri Lanka in Saturday’s second one-day international, with Liam Plunkett the last man to transgress in Cuttack 40 games ago.
Overstepping can be a costly error at the highest level, adding a run to the total, an extra delivery to the innings and a free-hit from the next ball. In a world of marginal gains, England’s eradication of the habit is a valuable one.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) October 13, 2018
Woakes, the most experienced seamer in the limited-over set-up, told talkSPORT: “It’s great to hear, over 10,000 balls is a hell of a lot of deliveries.
“The bowling unit who’ve bowled over that time know how dangerous they can be. They can lose you games of cricket.
“One no-ball at a crucial part of the game can cost you seven runs or more, with guys hitting boundaries off it, with the free hit that follows, they can be disastrous for a bowling side.
“It’s a great stat to have but we need to continue making sure we have our feet behind the line.”
Avoiding straying a couple of extra inches beyond the whitewash may seem like a minimum expectation for the average fan but Woakes insists it is not as simple as it appears.
“It sounds like a basic skill but a lot of teams around the world do still bowl them. It’s a credit to our guys that we haven’t for a long time,” he said.
“Sometimes you get criticised for bowling no-balls but you’re running in at a serious pace and trying to bowl as fast as you can, also focusing on where you’re trying to bowl the ball. A slight slip of concentration – like a batsman playing a rash shot – and you do slightly overstep the line.”