This article is part of "The complete guide to cricket field settings" series.
Leg spin is dangerous on any pitch because there is greater turn, drift and dip in the standard leg break than orthodox spin. However, the leg spinner also tends to be less accurate and when combined with variations like the googly it makes for an interesting challenge when setting a field.
This is very much a standard leg spin field to a right hander that has been designed to be customised depending on the style of the spinner and the match situation. Don't use this field for left handed batsmen.
Bowling to this field
You are looking to dismiss the batsman through bowled or caught behind as the batsman misjudges the turn, especially playing forward. If you have a googly as an option you open up bowling your foe through the gate between bat and pad or getting a thick inside edge to a leg side catcher.
The leg break is best pitching somewhere around middle to middle and leg and turning to hit off stump. The exact line and length will vary considerably depending on the turn and bounce. The aim is always to get the batsman playing forward as tentatively as possible. The later they play the more chance you have of taking wickets.
Most balls will be played with the spin into the off side so you have protection in that area, especially from extra cover and gulley/short third man. The deep square leg also offers some insurance against a poor ball or a batsman who sweeps.
Variety is the key to getting wickets for the leg spinner as it prevents the batsman getting into a rhythm of timing against you:
- Googly. Bowl the one that goes the other way a little wider and fuller. This will tempt the batsman into driving and turn back onto the stumps.
- Flight. The ability to vary place the ball in the same spot but with different heights on the ball is very deceptive on any wicket. If the batsman is in a rhythm try a mixing in a flatter or loopier ball.
- Drift. If you can give the ball a 'rip' and you get it right the ball will drift in the air like an inswinger to a right handed batsman. It will also dip later in its flight than your stock ball. The batsman will often misjudge this ball if you can get it above his eye line with plenty of loop.
- Around the wicket. If there is rough on the pitch you can go around the wicket to land the ball there. This will impart a great deal of turn and bounce.
This field is designed to take wickets while giving you some insurance.
- Wide outside off stump. There is lots of protection in the covers, but too much width (especially short) has no cover in the deep.
- Outside leg stump. Unless the ball is turning a lot (say, out of the rough) then balls pitching outside leg are easier to sweep and pull without fear of LBW.
- Accurate leg spinners can move silly midwicket to the offside to make a 6/3 split field.
- Googly bowlers will need a fielder behind square on the leg side. This can come from silly midwicket, gulley or the covers.
- Faster leg spinners with less spin may benefit from a deep midwicket instead of silly midwicket.
- Gulley can go a little deeper or move to short third man but always keep someone behind square on the leg side as the ball goes there a great deal.
Batting against this field
This is a compromise field for the average club or school level leg spinner so there are gaps for the patient batsman to exploit.
Early on against an accurate spinner your best line of attack is to sweep fine where there is no protection. If you do this a couple of times the field will change and you will need to rethink. Apart from this, its best to avoid hitting across the line to anything but very short bowling as the extra turn, dip and bounce can deceive you.
If the bowling is poor (and leg spinners usually bowl more bad balls that other types of bowlers) you can drive, cut and pull. Look out for the googly and other variations before driving at balls outside off stump.
You can use your feet to turn a good length ball into a half volley to disrupt the accurate leg spinner, but as the ball is turning away this carries a greater risk. Avoid it early in your innings.
Hitting over the top on the off side is an option but you would need to get to the ball on the half volley to smother the spin effectively.
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