Ask the Readers: Set a Slow Left Arm Field and Win a Prize | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Ask the Readers: Set a Slow Left Arm Field and Win a Prize

I have a problem. With your help I can solve it, so read on and leave a comment in the comments box with your field.

As a little incentive, the best field will win the prize of an online coaching course from our library at PitchVision Academy.

The question is simple:

What is the best field for a slow left arm bowler in a club league match?

First, a little background: My club has 3 spinners. One well established off-spinner, a leg spinner and, new to the club this season, a slow left arm bowler.

Normally there would be no issue. The off spinner plays in the 1st XI. He is a top 6 bat, a reliable middle overs bowler and an excellent gully fielder. He currently has a broken wrist. His backup, the leg spinner, is a student and away on holidays.

That leaves the new guy. His slow left arm was calm and effective in preseason games so he was selected. Bowling around the wicket he has good control of line and length. His stock ball doesn’t turn much but holds its line, pitching on off, hitting off.

He also has an arm ball that is well disguised. It follows the same line before pitching but goes in to the right handed batsman with the arm:

Our league plays 100 over games (maximum of 50 overs per innings, declarations possible). Draws are possible but because of the labyrinthine points system, teams treat games like straight 50 over limited over games.

This means our slow left arm hero will look to:

  • Bowl straight through the middle of the innings.
  • Tie batsmen down, bowling dots.
  • Pick up wickets through mistakes.

 The standard club slow left arm field is not right in this situation.

He is a fairly young bowler and not confident of his field yet. As he is new to the club there is an unknown factor.

What field should the slow left arm bowler have?

So, leave a comment below and let me know what field he should have in your view.

There are no field restrictions other than covered in the Laws.

Remember the most useful field will win a prize, so don’t forget to check back to find out if you have won.

Leave a comment in the comments box with your field

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As an SLA myself, I'd like to think I'd do alright on this! First off, I'd have a short third man, maybe a bit finer than normal if he doesn't get a huge amount of turn, so almost a fly slip, a bit finer than on the 45. I would have a standard mid-on for him, cutting off the one, but my mid-off would be 10 yards further back, just in case the batsman plays inside the line of one and gets a leading edge, or mis-times a big hit out of the ground. I'd have a short-fine leg, 45 on the one. I would have a deep forward-square leg fielder, for the sweep/short ball/hoick to leg. I'd have a standard mid-wicket in, maybe 5 or 10 yards back, but with the option of coming closer to choke a new batsman, or to go back to a big hitter. My final 3 fielders would be on the off side. A fielder slightly backward of point, maybe 5-10 yards further back than normal to allow for the short/wide ball, a shortish cover, and an extra cover, again being 5 or 10 yards further back than normal. The bowler, gully, mid-on and extra cover should be looking to cut off the quick singles in the middle, or at least threaten to.

It depends on his preferred line. If he bowls at off stump or just outside he should use a 5-4 field and tempt the batsman to hit across the line. If he bowls straight at the stumps he could use a 4-5.

I'd have:
extra cover
deep mid-off
forward square leg
deep square leg
short fine leg

If the batsman is attacking the leg side more, the deep mid-off can shuffle over to a deep mid on, and the mid-on can move into midwicket.

His overpitched or underpitched deliveries are now covered by the two men back, and the remaining ring field make stealing singles difficult. The gap at midwicket (or extra cover) encourages the batsman to play low percentage shots that can easily be exploited.

Why not sweeper on the offside? Well, due to their mechanics, leftarmers tend to drag their short balls onto leg stump rather than wide of off, meaning they get hit through square leg more than point.

By the way, my field (which doesn't count as an entry) is:


Off side:
Backward Point
Extra Cover
Deep Extra Cover/Off side sweeper
Mid Off

Leg Side Ring:
Short Fine Leg/45
Short Mid Wicket
Mid On

There are a number of variations to this, but the basic principle is a 6/3 split field teasing the batsman to hit across the line and cutting off the 'easy' off side shots. We would revise things if the batsman starts working the ball to leg effectively.

Personally I am not a big fan of the 5/4 split when the ball is turning away. It leave a gap somewhere the ball is going. It may be unavoidable at times but I'm not keen.

My field would be :

2nd Slip
Extra Cover
Mid Off
Short Fine Leg (on the 45)
Deep Square Leg
Short Midwicket (quite Square)
Wide Mid On
Long On

With the bowler bowling straight a leg side field is the way to go and encourage the batsman to make a mistake trying to score on the off side.

First Slip
Short Gully
Short Leg
Silly Midon
Short Cover
Long on
Deep Midwicket
Backward Square Leg

Gaps on the legside encourage the batsman to hit across the line and play against the spin. Short Fielders looking for a push outside off stump or a half-hearted attempt to work the ball away to leg. Deep midwicket, deep midon are there for the slog. Short Cover is for the leading edge and to encourage hitting over the top.

If I was a left arm spinner angling the ball into a right handed batsman and with a good arm ball, I would love to see him trying to play the ball away through the gap at backward point. I'd give him an over before I either sneak a straight one inside the bat and knock back the stumps or he spoons it straight to gully.

Personally, I think a 6-3 field is a bit too negative a tactic and forces the bowler to err towards bowling wide of off stump for fear of giving away easy runs into the legside. To my mind this negates his best tactic of bowling straight at the stumps.

Thats a very attacking field for a 50 over game Ant. Its the kind of thing you would see in a test match against a tail-ender, with men out for the slog and almost everyone else in catching. Most club batsman would be happy simply working 4 or 5 singles an over against field.

There is a case for both tactics, I think 5/4 has benefits too and is a most sensible field.

I don't think 6/3 is defensive though. There are no easy runs on the leg side unless the batsman takes a risk by sweeping or hitting against the spin. If he does this successfully we can look again of course.

I like the flexibility that having a 5/4 split field gives me, I'm then not afraid to attack the stumps, and if I over/under-pitch the ball, and they play me to leg I'm not going to lose out too badly!

If you are going to bowl straight - what about a 3/6 leg side split and spearing it at the legs? No "one day" wides in our games so it's safer if you go wrong.

Backward Point
Deep Cover
Extra Cover
Short Straight Catching Cover
Long Off
Mid On
Straight Mid wicket
Short fine leg a bit squarer than 45.

Slip for knick. Short catching cover will be there for leading edge when batsmen works across the line and can cut single off to mid off. Long off back for miss hit attempt over leg side on one that turns or a little slower. Straight mid wicket to encourage batsmen to play around the front pad a bit squarer. If batsmen starts to get ontop and hitting legside, consider using slip or catching cover at deep forward square leg. If ball is not turning use deep cover across on legside, again to encourage batsmen to play squarer increasing chance of knicks and bowled.

Could go on for much longer but thats enough for now


I have a similar, if slightly more seasoned campaigner, in my club side. I'd say the standard field settings (as per ) are too attacking for a slow lefty. Any air shot in this scenario is runs whether the batsman connects properly or not. A couple of good blows and your boys confidence is shot.

Take the backward square leg and put him on 45 about 30 yards out. This will make the batsman think twice about the paddle shot from any ball that goes a little straight or full and bring the guy in as a catcher if he doesn't think twice.

There are a couple of options for your other two on side fielders depending on how well set the batsman are and how they play spin. You can have a regulation mid wicket with mid on being on the single if the batsman is tentative, or you can push mid on back either to 3/4 or all the way if you think you can entice him to drive against the spin.

The other option if you think the batsman is going to get frustrated and have a slog is to have a short, straight mid on and drop the other guy to cow corner.

For the off side I would start with mid off at 3/4's. Keep your cover tight on the single and drop a guy deep at cover point. He will be there both as cover for any ball that drops short and gets cut but also will come into play as a catcher if the batsman tries to straight bat one over the top and doesn't get it right.

With a regulation slip, gulley and point you have a tight field. The batsman either has to play across the line to hit the gap at square leg or take his chance going over cover. Point, cover and the bowler are cutting out the easy off side single so to score anywhere the batsman has to use his feet and drive straight, and as we know that's how the slow lefty gets his wickets.

good luck

I'm slightly confused by that Richard, can you elaborate?

In particular, is point on the boundary or just a bit deeper than usual?

Also, you only mention 8 fielders: slip, gulley, point, cover, mid off, mid on, midwicket and backward square leg. Is the other guy at extra cover?

As a side note, its interesting to see how AB says short balls tend to be pulled and you say short balls tend to be cut. Just shows how every spinner is different!

sorry for the confusion - the field is backward square leg, midwicket, mid on, mid off, cover, deep cover point, point, gulley, slip.

The point fielder is regulation, the cover point drops back.

The bowler is a slow left arm, pitching off, hitting off so I when talk about giving him cover for the ball he drops short which gets cut I'm really talking about him missing his length, not a rank bad ball half way down the track. If he needs cover for that you'd probably be best getting your seamers back on Smiling

All this time I have said "point" and "cover point" as the same position, but i see from a bit of googling that they can be slightly different. How confusing.

OFF-SIDE: slip, backward point, sweeper, extra cover, mid-off
LEG-SIDE: deep square leg, mid wicket, straight mid wicket, straight mid-on

Hello sir,
The field set-up for this slow left Arm bowler could be a tricky one. Firstly, he should go by a one fielder at 1st Slip.With Fielder at first slip there's always a possibility of a ball taking an Outside edge of the balls. One at Fine leg isn't a bad idea, because batsman could try a sweep/paddle sweep for some runs, as many of the batsmen do.
A gully fielder, Cover fielder for Backfoot shots should be applied. The bowler needn't try too much. He should bowl good length and line little out of off stump from Round the Wicket to keep those (above mentioned) fielders in operation. A fielder b/w straight position & extra cover (inside the 30-Yard circle) should be kept to avoid boundary through that site. And one at long-on should be kept. Because all the fielders inside the Circle becomes bad idea if batsman switches to Aggressive mood.
For a bowler to be aggressive and put some pressure onto batsman he should go by a short-leg fielder. To get Gain of this fielder, bowler should try arm-balls from round the Wicket which may get inside edge onto the pad to the short-leg. And one fielder should be at Mid wicket (leg side)..
This field set up is for Right handed batsman..For left handed the field position should be reversed.
I a bowler lacks confidence, then no field set-up will help him. If bowler be able to put some pressure to the Batsman, then it would help him. Bowler should change this field occasionally or According to the situation, so that batsman do not get used to the field! Sometimes, A silly point should be placed to put some extra pressure. For tale enders move mid-wicket to backward (Bacause mostly they try to slog due to lack of ability to defence properly or to handle pressure).

Sir, what you think of the field. If there's a any type of error, plzzzz post me. I'd like to hear from you.
Thank you....
< Pup>

I believe he should have a long on and long off at the boundary, than have a player on the cut position (I dont know the right term for this placing as we always used to refer it as a 'CUT' fielder, maybe gully for a slow left arm) and a slip.

He should have a Fine leg on the circle, square leg in the middle and a dropped down Mid-Wicket (at the boundary) for the odd 'Inzi'-like pulls.

Keep a cover inside the circle and have a deep point.

I am the under 13 captain for my school and club here in Barbados. Here is my field placements for the SLA bowler.

Wicket Keeper
Deep Extra Cover

Long off
Mid on
Mid Wicket
Deep Midwicket
Deep Backward Square
Short Fine Leg

squarish deep fineleg
deep midwicket
short midwicket
mid on
short third man
backward point
deep cover point
long off

Personally I'm very nervous about a 4/5 leg side field spread to all corners.

The stock ball does hold it's line so a decent batsman will be looking first to score in the V between straight and extra cover. I don't think 2 or 3 men in the ring on the off side is enough, it's easy runs through plenty of gaps.

I think at the very least you need 4 men in the off side ring to protect the main scoring area.

Also, I think having men on the boundary on both sides is a bit of a waste. Club batsmen are not Sachin and don't flay it all round the park. You have to be somewhat flexible to work out the boundary shots and cut them off but once you have that covered there is no need to spread the field wide.

Pardeep, I can't work out what that field is. Can you list the fielding positions to clarify for me?

Lots of interesting suggestions thus far. Its interesting to hear peoples reasoning too.

I want to post field setting through MS POWER POINT SLIDE PRESENTATION SLIDE...

Can I post it in that form??

I am also a left arm orthadox spinner, who didn't sharply turn the ball when I was starting out in my early teens. There are a few things I'd definately recommend from a field perspective.

1. Start with a man at flatish mid wicket on the boundary. Bring this fielder up to a squarish midwicket position (on the ring) once the bowler is comfortable. Some of us young(ish!) spinners rely a lot on confidence, especially in the first over or two of our spell. We genuinely worry that the first ball we bowl wont hit the pitch, or will bounce twice. It is comforting to know that if this does happen, there will be a fielder at mid wicket there to protect that rank longhop/full toss. The mere fact this fielder there made me less nervous and less likely to bowl a bad ball! (make the position more square for a left handed batsman, as the ball is turning into a leftie, so the ball is more likely to be hit square).

2. & 3. Have a long on, and also a straightish midwicket (almost like a cow fielder inside the ring by around 5 - 10 metres). These fielders work together.

Right handed batsman: By bowling the ball on middle stump/middle-and-leg and turning the ball away you are encouraging the batsman to hit the ball along the ground through the vacant mid on for a "safe" single. Because of this fielding placement, the batsman must not only time the shot well, but must also place it perfectly. If he hits the ball too straight, the bowler can field this. If he doesn't hit the ball straight enough the man inside the ring at straight-cow will cut this off. Because the fielder is 5 - 10 metres inside the ring, he can move to his left (for a right handed batsman) and cut the ball off more quickly, so there is no chance for a single.
Left handed batsman: Hitting the ball with the spin through long on is easy, so if batsman start doing this on a regular basis, don't bring long on up - play with the fielder at straightish cow - make him more straight or closer to the batsman - as required.

4. Square leg - either inside the circle or outside the circle - depending on: how much the batsman is sweeping and the confidence of the bowler. This fielder should be infront of square for a right handed batsman, and behind square for a left handed batsman. It's pretty hard to sweep a really slow left arm orthodox, but club batsmen love it, so if your spinner is quite slow through the air, bring square leg up and encourage the batsman to hit the ball over/through the field. If you're a bit worried about the spinner loosing his confidence, then put the flat-midwicket fielder back to protect a slog sweep.

5. Slip - A slip told me that my captain thinks I can get a batsman out, even if I didn't think that! It also encouraged me to try and turn the ball as much as I could. It also comes in to play when the batsman is trying to hit the ball down to long on. A right handed batsman is playing against the turn and is not using the full face of the bat to do this, so this increases the percentage that an edge will be drawn. A left handed batsman may well play inside the line of a ball outside the off stump and edge. For left handed batsman, have slip almost standing at one-and-a-half-slip, as an edge off a ball that doesn't turn generally seems to go slightly wider than first slip - especially if the spinner is slow.

6. Mid off. Try to get the batsman to hit the bowler over mid off. It's harder than you'd think for a right handed batsman to do this. Although they're playing with the turn, they are playing an inside-out shot because of the angle so they often loose a lot of power. For a right handed batsman, maybe put mid off slightly wider than a conventional mid off, but never too wide so that a skied drive wont be caught. For left handed batsman - driving against the spin will promote the ball going in the air, so once again, mid off is there for a catch. If the spinner isn't turning the ball, then dropping mid off back an extra 5 metres could be an option. Remember, the bowler will be bowling over the wicket, so should be able to collect any misstimed shots in his followthrough

7. Point/gully, Cover point and Extra cover. Choose point if: the batsman likes to cut (point), whether the bowler is bowling long hops (point or even deep point), choose gully if: the bowler is maintaining a good line and length and he is turning it. Gully is a catching position for the big "hoick" either over cover or even cow. It's there for a thick outside edge off a shot with a lot of batspeed. Remember it's a catching position, so don't have him too deep. He should be about as far away from the bat as a standard gully for your opening fast bowler.

8. & 9. Cover point and extra cover work together, especially for a right handed batsman. If your left arm spinner strays off his straightish line and bowls a ball on off or outside off, the batsman will be promoted in to cover driving. Since the ball is turning away from the right hander it will either hit the middle of the bat (and hopefully go to extra cover), or hit the outside of the bat and go to cover point. Cover point can afford to be closer to the bat and actually become a catching position just off the block (if you're feeling aggressive), because a shot off the outside half of the bat will not only be aerial, it will also not be that powerful. To protect your offside field though, your cover point will need to be on the edge of the circle. This guy is there not only because a well timed cover drive will arrive at him quickly, but because he must protect a lot of ground on the offside field. You therefore want this fielder to be quick.

Hope this helps.


A thirdman a slip midwicket fielder a mid on and mid off backward point cover fielder extra cover fielder silly mid on

My field would be;

-Straightish cover (saving one),
-Straightish mid-wicket (saving one),
-Cover-point (saving one),
-Short third man (saving one),
-Deep mid-wicket (covering the slog sweep),
-Square leg (saving one),
-Deep backward square leg.

As a slow left arm bowler I use this field often in one-day games, mixed in with variations in pace & flight. It seems to work OK.

slow left arm bowler should have 1.long on, 2.deep mid wicket 3.short fine 4.square leg 5.1st slip 6.third man 6.point 7.extra covers 8.mid off 9. sweeper 10.covers


How Can I post my field in POWERPOINT Slide...?
Pls respond to my prev post...

Praya, you can't. Just post the fielding positions. You can provide some explanation text if you like.

My field placement for the left hand bowler is short thirdman, short cover, short extracover, deep extracover, long off,leg gully, deep sq. leg, short midwicket, long on

p.sasi kiran, you are not allowed 10 fielders.

OK I'm closing entries to this. I'll announce the winner shortly.

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