Do you dream of bowling the perfect spinning delivery?
You know the one. For the off spinner it's the one the drifts away from the batsman before ripping sharply back off the pitch through the gate. For the left-armer and leg spinner it's the one that pitches on leg stump and clips the top of off stump. Bowled Warnie!
Turn is the currency of the spin bowler. Coaches advise their charges to give it a rip, make it fizz and to strengthen their fingers and wrists with hours. Most importantly, make it turn square.
We often focus on the arm, wrists and fingers to impart this spin. This is quite right as much of the spin is imparted in this way. However to really make the ball hiss in the air, you need to use your whole body, not just your fingers.
For me the spinners pivot is critical to imparting revolutions on the ball.
The pivot starts just after you land your front foot. Your spikes grip in the turf and you bowl against it driving your opposite hip and knee (right side for a right arm spinner) through. This turns your whole body into a machine for producing spin where the wrist and shoulders are just the icing on the cake.
To illustrate the point let's look at two different actions:
In the first picture Monty Panesar's front leg is braced and his back knee and hips are kicking through. In the second picture the front knee is still braced but you can see the back leg and hip trailing behind. Monty still has the ball in hand and his back hip is much further round already. The second bowler has released the ball but still has not rotated his lower body through.
I'm willing to bet Monty would get more spin on any given day because of that.
Common pivot mistakes
If you are trying to improve your pivot there are some common errors you want to try and avoid.
- Closing off your action by pointing your front toe too far towards fine leg (or the slips for a left armer). This is more common in left arm spinners. To resolve this point your toe to the batsman's stumps. This will allow you to bowl against your leg, not around it.
- Trying to keep a smooth action like a fast bowler. This will reduce your ability to pivot against your leg. Focus on making the ball spin with the pivot rather than how smooth your action looks.
- It's also easy to mistimed the pivot so you do it after release. You see it a lot in younger bowlers who are putting in extra effort. This is a matter of coordination and practice to drive through with your hips then shoulders and finally wrist and fingers.
It takes work to get right. However, if you can rip the ball at will you will become a much better spinner, bowl longer spells, keep your economy rate down and take more wickets. Plus your coach and captain will love you.
Image credits: Dave Hogg, matty_p, tc7.