Spinners have found a renaissance in the Twenty20 game. The slower pace and wider potential for variety makes the ball harder to hit.
However, when a spinner does come on, many batsmen decide it's time to go for the big hits.
What tactics can you use as a spinner to limit the damage someone can do?
Variety in the flight
Like the seamer, a god way to slow scoring and take wickets is to bowl a ball that the batsman is not expecting. Seamers have slower balls and bouncers. Spinners have more subtle variations in pace and flight.
The key to flight in Twenty20 cricket is similar to the longer format. Put the ball on roughly the same length but vary how long the ball stays in the air with no change of action. As the diagram below shows, the basic two options are:
- Fire it in. Increase the pace and aim at the stumps. There will be less turn, ideally 'skidding' through so it is on the batsman earlier than he expected.
- Throw it up. Getting the ball above the batsman's eyeline, making it harder for him to judge the length.
There are degrees between these two extremes; the more variety of flight the better. As you have little time to work out which option the batsman most dislikes you may need to experiment with different lengths and flights and risk being hit. If you remain accurate and your field is set right you will be more likely to get away with it.
Orthodox off spinners have two basic lines as show here:
The red line is more aggressive, aimed outside off stump and turning in to hit the top of the right handed batsman's off stump. It works well when the ball is turning and bouncing but can be hit more easily through a wider arc, especially if you drop short.
The yellow line is bowled at the stumps with less turn. It's more defensive because the batsman has to take more risks to score anywhere except down the ground. It can be bowled over or round the wicket. This line also suits the bowler who turns the ball less and skids the ball on with a more top spin action.
The arm ball (the one that moves away from the right hander in the air) is a good variation on a pitch with a bit of turn.
Slow Left Arm/Leg Spin
Spinners who turn the ball away from the right hander can be put together tactically. However, it's worth noting the leg spin bowler has the potential for more variety so can be very destructive in the short game.
The two basic options are show here:
The red line is aiming at middle and off or off stump line to turn the ball to hit off. This line can be very difficult to hit, especially when combined with variations in flight and spin. If the arm ball or googly is an option then the batsman may not have confidence when trying to innovate.
You can make this line slightly straighter and bowl shorter using a leg spinner's slider (one that keeps low and moves off the pitch more quickly than an orthodox leg break).
The yellow line is aimed more towards leg stump and usually bowled over the wicket (slow left arm). This angle means the batsman can only hit against the spin to score on the leg side (or take a bigger risk going inside out risking a stumping). The line works especially well when 'fired in' at yorker length.
How do you do it?
Are you a spinner who regularly bowls in shorter format games? What tactics do you use? Leave a comment or drop us a line.
Image credit: PaulSh
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