This article is an extract from Spin Bowling Project: A comprehensive manual that covers every aspect of spin bowling on sale now. To download the rest of the book click here.
Flight is absolutely crucial for any spin bowler. It does not matter if you are an off-spin or leg-spin bowler, without getting proper flight on your deliveries you can never hope to become a great spin bowler.
Flight is bowling the ball above the batsman’s eyes when the ball leaves the bowler’s hand. The idea is to bowl and spin the ball up, get it just above the batsman’s eyes and have the ball drop on him just short of a good driving length. Do not bowl the ball too high as that will make the delivery too slow. The rule is to just ensure the ball gets above the batsman’s eyes.
The batsman has to keep moving his head to follow the ball’s trajectory. Ever wondered why a full toss is so easy to hit? It’s because the ball is coming straight at the batsman and he does not have to move his head. However, if the ball is going up and then coming down the batsman has to not only to contend with the spin, line and length you are bowling, but also try and keep his head still while following the ball. And as you know the downside for any batsman is when he is not keeping his head still when playing a shot.
Flight also helps with creating drift or curve. This is when the ball slowly drifts to the side in the air when bowled. For the off-spinner the ball will drift in the air towards the off-side and for the leg-spinner the ball will drift towards the leg-side. The reason for this drift is different than what makes the ball swing for a fast bowler. The technical term for this is called the “Magnus Effect” but all you need to know is that the harder you spin the ball and the more flight you give the ball the more it will drift.
Another crucial advantage that flight gives any spin bowler is that it will result in more spin and bounce. When proper flight is put on the ball it will be bowled at a slower pace and will thus have more time to grip on the pitch giving the ball more time to turn. If the ball is bowled at too a flat trajectory it will only skid on like a fast bowler. A spin bowler does not want this as he is looking for plenty spin and bounce.
Giving the ball flight will have the ball drift, spin and bounce. Getting it all right will result in the batsman having to move his head up and down as well as to the side even before the ball bounced. Which means plenty wickets for any spin bowler. So, do not be afraid to toss it up!
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