What is a Yorker in Cricket? – Why Yorkers are Important?

Every aspiring fast bowler should be looking to perfect the yorker so let’s take a closer look at this delivery and how to execute it in a match situation.

What is a Yorker in Cricket?

A yorker is a full delivery that is intended to pitch at the batsman’s feet when they are standing in their normal stance. As it is aimed at the very bottom of the bat, it is very difficult to defend and it is almost impossible to score runs from a yorker when it is executed correctly..

Etymology – Why is a Yorker So Called?

No-one is quite sure how the Yorker got its name. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that it was coined because the delivery was used by players from York. Another theory is that the term ‘yorker’ is colloquial for ‘cheater’. There is no issue with cheating when it comes to bowling yorkers but maybe certain people felt that it gave the bowlers an unfair advantage.

Types of Yorkers

Slow Yorker

A traditional yorker is delivered at the bowler’s regular speed. Therefore, if that bowler changes their pace and slows things down, it can be very confusing for the batter.

I’d recommend looking at the video of Steve Harmison bowling to Michael Clarke in the 2005 Ashes for a great example. Clarke is completely deceived by the lack of pace and the ball crashes into the stumps.

Fast Yorker

This is the most common type of yorker. The fast bowling unit in any team will be striving to bowl quicker yorkers. They will either bowl them at their usual speed or they may try to push it through with even more pace than usual.

Swinging Yorker

The swinging yorker has that full length but it also moves in the air on its way to the batter. It can swing late and in either direction – in or out.

Toe Crusher

The toe crusher is so called because it is aimed at the batter’s feet. If delivered correctly, the natural instinct for that batter is to get the foot out of the way before it hits and causes serious injury.

The toe crusher also swings but it tends to move in very late. When it’s sent down accurately, it can be the most difficult of all the yorkers to play.

Who are the best bowlers of the different Yorker Types? > Read our article

Why Yorkers are Important?

Run Rate Check

I’ve mentioned that yorkers are very difficult to score from. They are wicket taking deliveries but they can also be a defensive tool. In any form of cricket, if the run rate is getting too high, the bowlers may look to bowl a series of yorkers in an attempt to get it moving in a downwards direction.

Fear in the Batsman

A batter knows how difficult it is to score from a yorker. They will also know the times when it is most likely for a bowler to send down this type of delivery. This can instill fear in the batter because it is so difficult to maintain that run rate.

A batter may be expecting the yorker and that can see them attempt to premeditate their shot. We’ve seen players use the ramp shot while others, like Jos Buttler, stay much deeper in their crease.

This can be effective but, if the bowler then sends down a short ball, the batter is completely in the wrong position.

Useful in the Death Overs

This is tied into run rate and keeping the scoring down. In limited overs matches, you may see the yorker used to a far greater extent during the final overs. These are known as the death overs. It’s also common for teams to have specialist bowlers who they rely upon at this stage of the game.

Those bowlers who enjoy featuring in the death overs will know how to use the yorker effectively. At this stage of the match, batters will be looking to score runs so the yorker can keep that run rate down and it can also be a wicket taking delivery.


Throughout the history of the game, the yorker has been the most difficult delivery for a batter. It’s extremely difficult to score runs from and, in first class cricket, most players are happy just to prevent the ball from hitting the stumps.

The issues with facing the yorker come with other concerns in the limited overs formats. In 50-over and T20 games, it’s not acceptable to defend the stumps all the time. The run rate has to be maintained and that’s why batters have premeditated shots and developed new ways of dealing with yorkers.

Some play ramp shots while others look to stay deep in their crease as the ball is delivered. However, this is a risky approach as the bowler could send down a short ball and the batter would be in completely the wrong position.

In summary, the yorker is a very useful delivery and, if you are a young bowler, it’s worth taking time to try to perfect it.