4 Steps to bowling spin against an attacking batsman | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

4 Steps to bowling spin against an attacking batsman

Andrew Flintoff was on the rampage.

The 6ft 4 all-rounder had been served up some easy half volleys in his innings in the third Ashes Test and was walking with a confident swagger.

Given that England were looking to move the game on, it was certain Flintoff was going to go after the spinner. So it proved with Hauritz being deposited for a six over long on and a swept four in the same over.

It's not just Test spinners that are attacked though. Spinners of all ages and skill levels experience the same problem. So how do you deal with the batsman whose eyes light up as soon as the spinner comes on?

1. Stay confident

Spin is a mental battle as much as a physical one: The spinner is trying to tease a mistake and the batsman who is playing a few shots is more likely to make one. That's why you have to stay confident in the face of an assault.

This is easier said than done. The captain suddenly can't look at you, the batsman has biffed your best ball to the boundary and you don't know what to do next.

The secret is to clear your mind, set a plan in your head and bowl that ball. A classic cliche in cricket is to play the ball not the man. This is just as true for the spinner under the pump. Keep bowling to your plan and you can force an error.

2. Cut off the big shots
Speaking of a plan. What is it?

All players, even at Test level, have their favourite and less favourite shots. Club and school players are even more limited than the professionals. This means the first job is to cut off the big shots, especially if they are with the spin.

For example, if you are an off-spinner bowling to a right handed batsman who plays with a lot of bottom hand you might put boundary fielders out at long on, deep midwicket and deep square leg. This suddenly makes it a lot riskier to play the big shot through the leg side.

In this example, you can accentuate the point by bowling around the wicket, pitching on off and turning to hit the stumps. The arm ball will slide across a batsman making it possible for it to be sliced straight up.

Your foe may still go for it, and with a big enough hit may even succeed, but suddenly they are the one taking the risk. If you get hit for a six and a four and then get a catch on the boundary your average is 10 and you are having a good day!

For leg spin and left arm spin against right handers the big shot with is more likely to be with the spin through the off side.

3. Keep the weaker areas open

The other side of blocking off a batsman is tempting him or her with a gap in the field. Let's imagine our off-spinner again bowling to this field:

As you can see from the yellow "danger zone" area, there is a large gap between slip and extra cover. Remember the batsmen plays with a lot of bottom hand? They will see the gap and look to play the ball into it for boundaries.

As long as you bowl well (pitched up, round the wicket, turning a little) it's very difficult to hit the ball into that area and the chances of bowled, LBW, caught at slip and even caught on the leg side are massively increased.

The left arm spinner can use a similar plan, keeping mid on up and inviting the on drive over the top. Not many batsmen can play this shot well, especially against the ball turning away and can slice it to the off side or bring the bottom hand in and hit it to deep midwicket.

4. Use variety

The final element is what type of ball you bowl. Each batsman has a different pace and flight that they are least comfortable against. So like it thrown up but hate it fired in. Some are the opposite. Even when you are under pressure you can experiment with how much spin, pace and flight you give the ball.

Tossing one up might seem like the last thing to do when you are being hit. Most bowlers tend to bowl flatter and more at the stumps in this situation. However, if you have confidence in your plan (which is the first three steps) you can risk trying something different.

All batsmen are better when they know the pace of the ball. Adding a little or taking some off in the flight it a great way to disrupt their rhythm, especially if they have their best shots cut off and are trying to do something unfamiliar.

The captain isn't going to take you off in the middle of an over so you have at least 6 balls to tease even the biggest hitter out.

Let's be honest, the chances of bowling to a player of Flintoff's ability are low, so exploit your awareness of a batsman's weaknesses and you will get more in the wickets column, even against attacking players.

image credit: zoonabar

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I am an off-spinner, my team mates say I have good length and flight but I lack pace. They say I need more of a hop. What drills can I do to improve the pace of my bowling and will working on a larger hop help?

i am a right arm leg spin bowler and i am always getting hit to the boundry
my spin and pace are good but the problem is my flight
are there any drills to help me??

i am a leg spinner that has developed all 5 deliveries
of warne.all im lacking is a bit of bounce to round everything off.

Im facing difficulties in playing late inswing . the bowler is swinging the ball from off to leg stump . the swing is really great . it starts swinging from the good length area and stops at my pads
quick help needed just about to play in a tournament

Every 1 who is sayin tht u need a bigger hop is utter rubbish. I am an off spin bowler at thu top level in u-15s and u-18s, 3rd and 2nd team and i hav taken over 20 wickets in all forms and i dont have a hop in my run up. Wot u need to do is hav an over exaggerated follow thru. Tht shud get the ball 2 hav nice flight and gud pace. Wen u finnish thu follow thru u shud finnish standin like a slip fielder ready 4 a leading edge or a chip back 2 u. Also, work on tactics, figure out yor perfect field and bowl 2 it. Get cloe 2 thu stumps wen a batsman is a gud driver (u do this 2 close him up and make him play either thru mid wicket or dead straight. Really as an off spinner u shud get thu batsman drivin and lookin 4 thu edge or 2 get thu ball thru thu gate. Thts y i alays hav a slip and a gully in wen i bowl) If u get thu batsman drivin an d he's hittin u for 4 alot, put about 4 fielders in thu covers. I hope this helps.

If thu bowler is bowlin late inswing, try battin slightly out of yor crease (if thu wicket keeper is not standin up). Wot u've really got 2 do is practising yor fliks thru mid wicket just by thro downs on yor legs. Get forward as close 2 thu pitch of thu ball and make sure u dont play thu ball 2 early. U might wonna listen, i've got my level 1 coaching badges.

Hi im a young leg spinner. I either drop the ball to short or i give it extra flight but it ends up as a full toss. Can u help me or give me drills to practice landing the ball in the right areas consitanly and getting the to turn aswell.

U shud try getting 4 cones and placing them in a square on yor desired area on thu wicket. Get sum1 2 keep wicket and sum1 2 bat and just try to pitch it in tht area with drift and turn. U shud get used 2 tht.

i am a left arm orthodox bowler and i need some slow motion footage of ashely giles bowling or other orthodox bowlers......pls. help me....

sir,i m off spiner but i can not get the wicket. sir, i m ball realy well. i want to learn how to take the wicket.

is the field up the top only gd for an off spin bowler if so can u give me a gd field for a leg spin bowler

You can see some sample leg spin fields in the complete guide to field settings.

I have a big problem in consistency.its like i bowl for 1 week really well that even i cant believe it but then when i try to do the same the next week and everything is gone the loop flight spin everything.i start to bowl full tosses and short balls and really struggle to land in the good area with flight.what should i do

i have this promblem if its not with landing the ball in the right areas its not getting enough turn if its not that its lack of flight. Is there an drill to help the promblem as im trying to work on these promblems during the pre season

i am a left arm chinaman, is it more beneficial if i bowl left arm over the wicket?

More beneficial in what situation Louis?

I know how to spin the ball very much but the problem is that I don't know why my drift of the ball makes it bounce too much.I can get wickets by making the batsman hit it ip to the bowler, but I do not know how to bowl them out.if u know how to help me that will be gr8 thank u sir

I have the same problem with full inswing that hits me on the shoe and get me lbw
Any tips other then throw downs thank very much

I am a Leg spiner my ball spin 60 angel but my ball goes to wide please tell me

take a middle stump guard and whip it up of your pads to fine leg or spuare of the wicket.

can some please help me out: 1) i dont get drift . 2) tell me variations

hi i am right handed leg spinner i try to through bowl in off but i can't do it please help me

Release the ball even more higher than you do now. Flight also helps the ball to increase its pace after pitching.