Field Settings: Leg Spin, Tail Ender and Set Batsman
This article is part of "The complete guide to cricket field settings" series.
Imagine a game situation where you have a tail-end batsman at one end, and a well-set batter at the other end. It makes senses to spend more time bowling at the weaker player. You are more likely to get a wicket.
The trouble is that the set batsman will do everything he can to stay on strike by hitting boundaries in the over then stealing a single on the last ball.
You don't want to defend this tactic alone as you still want to try to bowl both players out. But you also want to stop the boundary shots.
So you set an in-out field.
Bowling to this field
You continue to bowl with the aim of taking wickets. That means bowling a line so that when the ball turns it is hitting the top of off stump. Make the batsman play through the off side.
Your length will be full enough to draw the batsman forward,looking to drive; ideally popping a catch to slip or the keeper.
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If he looks to sweep off the stumps you have a great chance for LBW and even if he makes contact you have catchers in position.
With the field, set the ring fielders back deeper than normal so the batsman has the option of taking the single, but keep them close enough that they can catch the mis-hit boundary attempt.
As a leggie you may have a number of variations with which to play. Your stock ball is still the key but you are also still looking to the batsman's weaknesses. Based on that you may find the following effective as occasional variations:
Any ball that allows the batsman to score a boundary in the first few balls, or pick up a sneaky single in the last ball. Length is key, but any ball that allows the batsman to go leg side is likely to be punished.
The obvious note here is to bring the field up for the last 2 balls of the over: All fielders on the boundary can move in to save one.
You can bring in an extra catcher from mid on to silly mid on to add pressure to the set batsman. Midwicket can also go to short leg if deep square leg is out. Decide which position is most likely to get the catch as it is rare that you can have 3 close catchers in this situation.
Point can also be moved out to the boundary to give the batsman one and save a four.
Batting against this field
As the set batsman, your tactic is to protect the tail-ender but also to score runs. You don't want to do this at all costs unless you know the player at the other end is a total rabbit.
So, look to score with orthodox shots: off and straight drives. If the bowler drops short look to cut, pull and back foot drive into gaps. Don't be afraid to let the batsman at the other end face a few balls. Many batsmen get in a tangle trying to keep strike.
Think about cutting out the extra cover and square drives as the bowler is looking for you to edge the ball. Certainly avoid higher risk innovative shots unless you need to score quickly.