Field Setting: Off spin, old ball, turning wicket, limited overs | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Field Setting: Off spin, old ball, turning wicket, limited overs

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

In limited over matches there are times when the batsman is on top and an off-spinner is bowling.

It’s unlikely to be at the death, but with modern aggressive batting methods, a spinner can be faced with a death-like onslaught at any time and so will need to go into defence mode.

This field reflects an aggressive batting situation, and although it requires great calmness and control is the strongest field a club or school spinner can have in the circumstances.

Bowling to this field

A well set batsman on the attack can be intimidating, but it’s also a great time for you to take a wicket and peg back the scoring rate. You have to play with intent, even when aiming to keep the scoring rate down (which is your main priority here).

You can choose to bowl over or around the wicket. The line is straight, aim at off stump or even middle and off, turning in to the right hander to hit the stumps.

This means when the batsman attacks he looks to go over mid wicket, or mid on because hitting to the off side is against the spin and riskier.

Aim to get the batsman playing forward as it gives less time to work the ball into gaps. Pitching the ball somewhere around 12-14 metres from the bowlers popping crease should do the job. Use the batsman's footwork reaction as a guide to length.

Bowl quicker and flatter than normal, but make sure accuracy is dead-eye.

Bowling variations

Variety is essential to make sure the batsman can’t get set against you. Use whatever variations you have (although now is not the time to try something new).

  • Flight. The ability to place the ball in the same spot but with different heights on the ball is very deceptive. On slow wickets you can vary the flight of almost every ball, or just throw in the odd flatter/loopy ball if you feel the batsman is in a rhythm.
  • Arm ballThe ball that drifts away from the right hander is an excellent way to deceive the batsman and get a dot ball (or turn a boundary into a single). It's also a wicket taking ball. Pitch it further up and with a middle stump line.
  • Doosra. If you can bowl the one that goes the other way (a rare skill), bowl it at middle stump on a length and hope it catches the edge or the top of off stump.
  • Yorker. The very full ball is not just for the seamers. It's hard to hit a full and straight ball anywhere but down the ground.
  • Position on the crease. Adjusting where you deliver the ball can upset a batsman's timing. Try bowling from bowling crease instead of the popping crease, or going wider on the crease to change the angle.

With all these variations it’s crucial to keep a tight line on the stumps so the batsman cannot free his arms easily without risking getting bowled.

Avoid bowling
  • Short. Spinners don’t have the speed to trouble the batsmen, anything short will give them more time to play.
  • Full toss. The ball can be hit anywhere.
  • Wide outside off stump. With a 6/3 leg side field and nobody on the off side boundary you will be put away for easy runs.
Field variations
  • Less accurate spinners can move deep leg gulley/short fine leg to short third man/deep gulley instead.
  • Cover and can move to the boundary under pressure
  • Mid off can be brought up to squeeze the batsman

Batting against this field

When you have decided to hit out the bowler will look to restrict you with a leg side field and straight bowling.

Play straight, looking to score in an arc between mid off and midwicket, especially if the bowler drops short so you can play back foot drives and pulls with control.

Don’t be afraid to try hitting boundaries on the leg side, especially if you have the power to clear the rope. Fielders are useless when the ball sails high over their head for six. If you need to improvise try hitting over the leg side by clearing the front leg.

Punish anything on the off side with drives and cuts, although you will not get much chance against an accurate bowler. Don't get tempted into going 'inside out' and driving against the spin as this is a risky path that can lead to you missing or mistiming the ball.

The sweep is productive against over the wicket off spin, but it can be risky if the bowler is going around the wicket because the line is straightening onto the stumps.

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