Field placings for spinners | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Field placings for spinners

This article is part of "The complete guide to cricket field settings" series.

A while back I gave you some tips on spin bowling tactics for club cricket (although a lot of it works just as well at higher levels too).

Now it's some for a few suggested fields. These are subject to change depending on the batsman, weather, style of the bowler, position on the crease, amount of turn and the local conditions, but hopefully you can get an idea to build from. They all assume the bowler is bowling at off stump apart from the 2nd Slow Left Arm field that assumes the bowler is aim on or outside leg stump as a defensive tactic.

All the fields are built on the basic principles I talked about previously and can be adapted to attack with more close fielders or defence with more deep fielders. As usual, if you are a spinner or a captain and have any changes or suggestions to these diagrams then leave a comment below.

Off Spin


Slow Left Arm (Orthodox)


Slow Left Arm (Leg Stump Line, Defence)


Leg Spin


A special note for this field: The loopy bowler is something you only see in club cricket. Some turn it drastically on anything some rely on lobbing it up like a grenade with virtually no turn. They are nearly always expensive and nearly always grab a hatful of wickets. For this reason most of the usual strategies are pointless and a more creative positioning of players is needed. Each bowler of this type will see balls go into all sorts of crazy places in the air. Just go with it and put a fielder there even if it's against the normal rules. For example, a loopy leg spin bowlers field might look like this:

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I'm a leg-spinner, and I tend to get more overspin than sidespin - for this reason I always have a short extra cover and a short fine leg, for the miscued cover drive and sweep respectively. In these positions you can both save runs and get catches. They're great for overspun balls that pitch shorter than expected and consequently bounce higher; less useful for the big lateral turners though...

Great tip Jim. Do many batsmen try to go over the top with that field? That would be my temptation.

I'm a leg-spinner put i can only get Top-Spin on the ball it's annoying me

I'm sorry to hear you are annoyed Chris. Are you asking for some advice or just venting your spleen?

I'm a legspinner and can vary my legspins woth more sidespin or overspin the only advice I can say chris is that try and position your wrist in a cocked position (you wrist bent inwards) and as you bring your arm up "flick" your wrist from right to left this may be uncomfortable at first but hopefully you'll be able to do it with practise.

Practice is the keyword. And good quality practice too.

I am a leg spin bowler and I always have a "45" to protect the singles behind square on the leg side. Also, I wouldn't have mid wicket and deep mid wicket.

What position would you give up for the protection from the sweep Ben?

iam a leg spiner: what is a flipper? what is a top spin?

thanks....i am my schools cricekt captain and off spinner. my main concern is that when i bowl to a batman, he either slog sweeps me even if i bowl outside the off stump. but if i pitch it short, he goes on the backfoot and drivesme....i have tried many times to bowl faster ones to him but he is quick....wat should i do? and can u also tell me where i should bowl on the pitch basically? 1m away from the batsman or 2m?
thanks once again

Ideally I would say 2m away from the batsman and make it turn to hit the top of off stump. Flight the ball well and vary your pace. Bowl a faster ball if the batsman is looking to step out. Have a deep square leg fielder to take any edges for the batsman who tries to sweep you and also to just give singles rather than boundaries.

I bowl Chinaman's but there doesn't seem to be any feild set above except for the first under 'slow left arm', but that seems to be for left arm orthodox, anyone care to help.

It's the same principle chinaman, you are moving the ball away from the right handed batsman so use a leg spinner's field. For left handers use an off spinner's field.

David thanks but I think you may be confused i spin the ball into the right-hander...

My apologies for that. You should follow a similar field to an off spinner with perhaps more defence on the leg side. Or perhaps I should ask you. What field do you like and why?

I honestly donn't have a great feild, infact I'd say it's pretty poor. I find it fairly easy to bowl to lefty's, just pitching it outside off spinning away seems to annoy them, but for right-handers I have no clue.

OK so lets start with the basics. Where does the ball go most often?

Everywhere... I don't know there doesn't seem to be an exact area. It depends how I'm bowling, but it usually goes around covers/point, or if I'm not bowling on line anywhere on the boundary on leg Smiling.

That's a start. So let's pin it down even more.

We have to set a field to where you want the ball to land and not to your mistakes. So assuming a right handed bat the ball will pitch on off stump or middle and off and straighten towards the batsman. Mainly then he will play it fairly straight on the off or leg side. I would say in the region between midwicket and extra cover.

If you are turning it into the right hander, it's hard to hit square on the off side unless it's an edge.

So we have a basic field of mid on, mid off, midwicket, extra cover. Short third man could cover the sweep shot, slip could be in for the edge. The three other fielders could then be manipulated as you like.

What do you think?

Sounds good, but by sweep shot do you mean reverse? and what type of slip? backwards of the keeper, how far? or a wider gullyish slip?
also, I usually have to bowl outside off as i get a fair bit of bounce and even a good length ball will pop up and anything not on off stump our outside will get hit onto the leg.

Also I've been thinking of a field with a short cover, cover (different angle), extra cover, forward point and mid off. On the on side, short backward square (for the small shots they usually play around the corner), mid wicket and mid on.
This leaves me with two fielders, one I would most likey put deep at square and the other as another cover (possibly deep, sweeping) or as a slip.

Sounds like you have a good field there. Try it, see if the ball is going to where the men are. Have some attacking option sin mind too, like putting in a backward short leg.

i am a good spinner, but i can get so much spin it goes outside the square sometimes what do i do.

i am a leg spinner the ball sometimes goes to slip but not very often is there any point putting a slip in?

If the ball goes there then you would be a fool not to.

hey great advice for the others by the way.
im a leggie and can get the slider coming out, but is their other "backspin" delivers?

I would suggest posing a question like that on the forum Luke.

Hello I bowl leg spin and I have some confusion of the use of side spin. Is it the wrist or the third finger which produces the spin?


Hello David i bowl chinaman, i turn it a lot, i have good varition (googly, top spinner, slider), i bowl very loopy, i lack consistency and general field knowledge. any tips for consistency? attacking field? defensive field? thanks a lot.

It depends a great deal on the situation. To right handers the ball will turn in so you need to defend the leg side like an off spinner. However, if you are using your variations effectively you also need cover on the off side. A 5/4 leg side split would work well as a starting point.

thanks alot david
i also bowl left arm orthdox (arm ball as varition) also lacks consistency but i get alot of stumpings to right handers. problem is when i pitch it short i always get smacked (leg side most of the time) any tips??

Don't bowl short!

i am slow left arm orthodox off break is good bowl than others

Yes there are other back-spinning deliveries - The Flipper. With regards the question about side spin it's both the wrist position and the 3rd finger that help to impart side-spin.

hi sir,i m don't know how to take wicket. i b all off spin .

Suraj I take it you bowl Leg Spin (Wrist Spin) and that you're right handed? If so that means you're bowling Googly's which in the short term is a problem. You need to bowl the Leg Break which turns the other way towards the off-side. What you need to do is concentrate on where your wrist is facing as your arm comes over your head to release the ball. The wrist and the palm of your hand need to be facing the batsman as you release the ball. If you've been bowling Googly's for a long time this is going to feel really wrong and it may take you months of doing this before it feels right and the ball turns the other way. If you need more help search the internet using the phrase 'Googly Syndrome' and you should find more details about how to correct this. But in the long term if you manage to get the Leg Break you'll always retain the ability to bowl your Googly. The key to getting wickets is to bowl an accurate Leg Break ball.

Hello Dave I am a 13 year old legspinner. Is there a possible method to bowl flat because when I flight the ball I constantly bowl full-tosses outside leg stump. I want to bowl very fast and shorther than a flighted ball(good length)? When I try to bowl the quicker one the pace makes it carry on another full-toss length.

My aim question is how to bowl flat and fast.

Thanks mate!

i am a leg spineer i dont ha ve consistency in my line what should ido

With regards the flatter faster delivery you might find that by holding the ball higher in the fingers helps, but still emphasising the fact that the 3rd finger is still placed firlmy on the seam. As you bring your leading (front) arm down bring your elbow as such down into the side of your chest with more vigour that'll speed the delivery up.

Another option will be to use the Shane Warne simplified slider where you bowl the ball like a seamer but have your finger going across the seam. More than anything it just sounds like you need to practice more - if you're bowling too long perhaps bowl slightly further back on the crease? Also try and change your line if your bowling faster you need to bowl an off-stump line. Hope that helps?

aadhithyan - your problem is just a case of having to practice more. Without being able to see your action it's difficult to say what you might be doing wrong? Maybe post a video up on youtube is you can and I'll have a look at it and see if there are other issues?

i find jumping higher during the fast bowl to correct its length problems and usualy the batsman rarly picks up that give away fast enought befor getting out

hi sir, my name is praveen . i am a leg spinner . talking about my bowling , i have the ability to turn the ball heavily ie either way leg spin or googly. i have great control over spin . i can bowl top spinners . zooters , flippers . i have troubled every one in the nets. i am a master of this art in the nets .. ... but my problem is that i cant do this in matches. i dont know what happens to me when am in the field. every one says that while playing am bowling too slow , huge flight , over pitch , fultoss ,short ball. only able to bowl one or two good balls. i need help . i have uploaded some clips of my bowling may be that will help you understand my action.

this is a normal are probably tensing up in a match situation and not getting into rhythm. Then you bowl a couple of full tosses, get hit for boundaries, and then you only get more tense and the bowling gets worse. Another thing that can happen in a match situation is that you are stopping early in your follow-through instead of taking an extra step or two after you go through your bowling action - this will also cause you to lose rhythm.
The solution is this: Set a strong off-side field, including a sweeper point on the boundary, a slip, an extra-cover saving the single, and a long-off. Start your spell by bowling a foot and a half outside off-stump for the entire first over until you get the length/flight right, and with this strong off-side field you won't concede boundaries. For a wrist spinner, it takes about 7-8 balls to get into rhythm, and if you don't get hit in this time then you will grow in confidence. Once you get into the rhythm and the ball is coming with a nice high action, then slowly move the line and start attacking the stumps. You can start this by bowling your googly in the second over third/fourth ball, and hopefully you will put it on length outside off, and the batsman won't expect it at all because you just bowled 8 balls going away.
Good luck!

I dont know who u r and where u from ? but any way thanks . i will try it this sunday itself . once again thanks .

At the other chinaman. Im not trying to be rude but the field that was suggested is not right at all. You are spinning into the batsman and as Terry Jenner says attack with the ball defend with the field. You should have a 5 legsde 4 offside field. Usualy on leg you would have mid on, a patrolling midwicket, a deep backwards sqaure leg (MUST HAVE), deep midwicket (if not needed put him in the midwicket region) and a 45. On the off I would have a mid off cover, extra cover and point. There is no need for a slip and definately no need for a third man if he reverse sweeps its a good shot but you are close to a wicket


i'm an off spin bowler for my school. I want to be attacking but when I place attacking fields a leak to many runs. Can you recomend me a field that is a mixture of attacking and defensive.

What field do you normally set, and where are the runs getting hit?

I usually start with a: slip, point, cover, mid on, mid off, deep mid wicket, deep backward square leg, and a bat pad. the runs are usually square of the wicket on both sides. thanks

It sounds like you are bowling too short which is the biggest problem. Do target practice and and you should see your run rate improve. Get the batter playing forward and get your dismissals with bowled through the gate or caught at slip from the one that goes with the arm.

As to the field, It is fairly sound although it's unusual to have a short leg and then 2 deep men in school cricket. I would say lose the short leg (unless he is taking catches for you) or bring in the deep midwicket (if your short leg is getting catches the ball shouldn't be heading out to cow much).

You certainly need an extra cover too. 5/4 leg side split is good.

Don't be afraid to leak runs if you are getting the batsman to play forward. If he is driving or sweeping you have a chance of getting him out. However if he is playing back and hitting square you are bowling badly and you can't set a field to that.

David, you'll have to explain your comment in laymans terms! When you say 'Playing back and hitting square' do you mean - waiting for the ball to pitch, seeing where and how much turn it's going to turn then playing off the back foot (Stepping back) and cutting it to the off-side through point/gully?

Yes - if the batsman is cutting and pulling you are bowling too short Dave. Even playing back foot drives is not ideal. The point is - you have to get the batsman playing forward.


Another few questions. What are some tips you can give me on getting more drift and dip? They say to flight it up, but when I rip as hard as i can the ball goes way to flat and fast. Any suggestions?


Jack, Dip's a pretty easy one to suss, especially if you're able to get in the nets and bowl at a batsman. The secret to dip is to get your top-spinner working, if you don't already bowl a top-spinner I would advise that you look to having it as your first and possibly only other variation because it enhances your Leg Break. You need to bring your wrist round in the delivery so that your thumb is aimed at the batsman as your arm comes over the top in your delivery. If you were to look up at that point you'd be looking at the back of your hand. The important thing is to still be giving the ball a big flick off the 3rd finger using the wrist, getting maximum rotation. The top-spin will then cause the ball to dip - the more spin the more dramatic the dip. If you practice it, you're quite likely to be able to see the effect and you might think that you're bowling short - but you just need to adapt your length slightly to accomodate the dip. But if you get a chance once you're getting it sussed bowl with a batsman - bowl your normal stuff and the put in the Top-Spinners without saying anything and if he's playing through the shot - ask him - did it dip, see if he notices the difference.

Drift: Bob Woolmer has made some interesting comments in his book 'The Art and Science of Cricket', looking at Warne's 'Ball of the Century' Woolmer comments....

"If the axis of rotation of the delivery is the same direction as the direction of the forward movement of the delivery, then the delivery will not drift. Thus to bowl his ‘Ball from Hell’, Warne had to have the axis of the rotation of the delivery at an angle to its direction of movement. Most likely, the seam was tilted slightly backwards from vertical (When seen from above), with the seam on the left side of the ball slightly ahead. In this position, the axis of rotation (seen from behind the ball) is upwards and to the leg side".
Art & Science of Cricket; Bob Woolmer; New Holland Publishers; London; 2008.

If you can get your head round that, if you're looking to get maximum drift you need to be flighting the ball with the seam almost spinning at 90 degrees to the direction of flight (Big Leg Break), but the seam needs to tilted backwards rather than just straight up and down as it spins through the air. I find that the levels of awareness required to be in control of your fine motor skills in what is essentially quite a violent action (Explosion through the crease) are acute. It takes years and years of practice to be able to think - 'Right - this one's going to have loads of drift on because I'm going to do this.......' To be able to bowl with that kind of accuracy is a long term objective or something that perhaps some people do naturally?

But a simple answer is in there somewhere because lots of Leg-Spinners do get lots of drift.
1. Get the seam spinning so that you're trying to turn it big.
2. Get your wrist right over the ball trying to put lots of top spin on the ball as well as releasing it with the seam pointed 45 degrees or more to its flight direction.
3. If you can get your head round the idea of tilting the axis try it. But a combination of good top-spin and angle will produce drift.

Hope that helps

Have a look at my blog it's being re-constructed at the moment, but the images are still there and the text is still fairly 'Sound'. If you fish around it, you'll also find stuff about leg breaks and drift.

Thanks this all sounds great, just one thing, I bowl off spin. Would you be able to tell me again just in off spin terms. And maybe something I could do in the nets to practice this. Thanks

For an offspinner you're looking to beat the inside edge of the bat with your stock delivery and the outside edge with your variation balls. You should be looking to pitch the ball just outside offstump so that your stock ball spins back to hit middle stump. You should be physically twisting the ball as you release it to get as many revolutions as you can on it. This will create drift and turn. If you manage to get an element of topspin onto the ball, then you will also get dip. The ideal stock delivery will be bowled at your natural pace, with 50% sidespin and 50% topspin. This will give you dip, drift and turn. It's hard to help you any more than this without seeing your bowling action.

A few more pointers:

Experiment bowling round the wicket, to both left handers and right handers. This increases the chance of getting both an lbw and an outside edge. From round the wicket you should be pitching the ball on middle stump to lefthanders and off stump to right handers. I bowl finger spin and I only ever bowl round the wicket.

Make sure you pitch the ball up - ask your captain to set mid on and mid off quite deep so that you are not afraid of being driven - you want your opponent driving, this is where the majority of your wickets will come from. You should be bowling a "short half-volley".

Always spin the ball as hard as you can. The slower you bowl, the more effort you will need to make to physically spin the bowl as you let go of it. Sometimes in trying to spin the ball hard you will drag it short. Your captain should give you a deep square leg to protect you. Without this protection, spinners are often reluctant to really try and spin the ball and instead focus on not getting hit for four.

Once you have mastered a good stock ball, learn a couple of simple variations, but only bowl one variation ball an over. Which ones suit you will depend on your action. The main options are the arm-ball, the undercutter, the backspinner, the topspinner, or the legcutter. All of these balls will attack the opposite edge of the bat to your stock delivery. Its wise to bowl them a fraction quicker that your stock ball, as this adds to the element of surprise.

hello, i am an off spinner and i play under 15s cricket (20 overs) and i am one of the younger ones and i have an iconsitant line and lengh when i am not in form. i do get turn but i have a basic off spinning action so i cannot discise my variations well. i need a defensive field what should i do

hello, i am an off spinner and i play under 15s cricket (20 overs) and i am one of the younger ones and i have an iconsitant line and lengh when i am not in form. i do get turn but i have a basic off spinning action so i cannot discise my variations well. i need a defensive field what should i do

i think off spinners 5-4 diffensive fielding is should b lik this....
if batsman is new there should be slip...!!
if the both batsman are settle down then
short third man , deep coverpoint , short extracover , long on.
short fine leg , deep square leg , short mid wicket , deep mid wicket , long on.(this is right handed bats man's fieldin.)
to the lefty bats man - deep fin leg (it should be slitely squarer), short mid wicket , deep mid wicket , long on . short third man , point , deep cover , short extra cover , long on....!!!!

i bowl leg spin around the wicket. What is the best field set up with more on the off side for right handers?

That depends on your goals, and the match situation. Bowling around the wicket is highly defensive for leg spin to right handed batsmen. What's are you looking to do?

4/5 field is the best Ifeel even today two catches went in that area. In the radio commentary days we used to hear frequently of backward short leg, forward shortleg, short square leg, a silly mid on and so for Prasanna, Venkat & co. The fielders excelled in these positions were like Solkar Abid ali and co.

I am a right arm leggie and im 15 years old. Ive been bowling it for 2 years now and am fairly accurate for someone who is just learning. I spin the ball a mile and get plenty of edges to slips. Im playing senior cricket and I always seem to get 2 or 3 early wickets, then get no more and dont go for any runs either. Is the batsmen playing defensively against me? If so how do i get him out if he's just trying to survive. I like when the batsman uses his feet because of the amount of spin I get and i get plenty of stumpings. What can help me get a bag full of wickets. I mainly just bowl hard spun leggies, top spinners and sliders. I dont rate my googly as it is too easy to pick. Also how do I get noticed by coaches in higher grades? Thanks

Im interested...where do u play cricket? England?

I play in Australia.

I play in Australia... In queensland, if it matters