How to Attack with a Defensive Spin Bowling Line | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How to Attack with a Defensive Spin Bowling Line

Menno Gazendam is author of Spin Bowling Project. Get your free 8 week spin bowling course here.

When a spin bowler bowls outside of leg stump commentators always call it a negative line. While this is the case most of the times, it is not always so.

There is no such thing as a defensive line just outside leg stump. It only becomes defensive if,


  1. You are not actually spinning the ball
  2. The batsman is not interested in attacking you (and you persist)

If the top two points are applicable then, yes, you are bowling negatively.

However, if the ball is spinning big out of the rough then you are certainly attacking in my opinion. Most of the rough forms outside the right hand batsman's leg side, and so it only makes sense to exploit that line and side of the wicket.

Have a look at Shane Warne do this by bowling Pat Symcox around his legs back in the 90’s. I don’t think we can call that a negative line! Start watching at 2:45 (although the res is not too bad either, just very painful if you happen to be a South African that can remember the 90’s)

Also, if the batsman is attacking you and offering shots (not just kicking it away), then you are always in with a chance of getting a wicket.

The defensive line is not where you bowl, but more the match situation. Just darting it into the legs when there is no need for it can also be a very negative line.

So, do not feel you are being negative because you are bowling around the legs. As Warne has shown this is a very attacking option depending on how the pitch is turning and if the batsman is attacking you or or not.

For more detailed spin bowling advice, tips, tricks, tactics and training drill for spinners in all formats of cricket, get the Spin Bowling Project free 8 week email coaching course.

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The thing is, what format of the game do you have to be playing for rough to be forming outside leg stump?

I've played matches where it's ALL rough!

So have I, but then you don't need to bowl outside leg stump either, just stick it on middle and watch it leap sideways.

I'm just thinking I've never been in the situation where I've had to consider bowling this line. Maybe if I played 2 day games it might come into it?

i bowl legspimatchn nd use legstump line frm round the wicket alot in shorter formats i bowl some sharp turning legbreaks thn a topspinner this way i bowl economical wth almsot 2 wckts every match