Why are dibbly-dobbly bowlers rare in cricket?

During the 1992 Cricket World Cup, New Zealand had four players in their side that were slow-medium pace bowlers. These four players lacked variety but because of their mediocre pace, batters found it difficult to generate power on these deliveries as they had to send the ball to boundaries with their own brute force. The field setup is defensive. The maximum allowed players are placed on the boundary lines as they expect the batter to strike the incoming the slow ball with a force that won’t be enough to send it outside the fence. The little help from the bowler’s pace meant that the scoring rate would drop as batters would more commonly resort to running between the wickets.


The four Kiwi bowlers were Gavin Larsen, Chris Harris, Rod Latham and Willie Watson. They were named dibbly, dobbly, wibbly and wobbly for the pace with which they bowled. But these dibbly-dobbly bowlers soon became popular as they were immensely helpful in bringing down the scoring rate in the middle overs in One-Day International matches. They were not effective wicket-takers but were very economical. There was at least one dibbly-dobbly bowler in every side since then.

The purple patch of these breed of bowlers came to an end when the powerplay was introduced in cricket. It restricted the number of fielders that could stay outside the circle for certain overs. The diminishing of defensive field setups thus led to the fogging of dibbly dobbly bowlers. Andrew Symonds, Sourav Ganguly, Paul Collingwood, Jesse Ryder, Hanse Cronje are some notable dibbly-dobbly bowlers. 

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