How to get more wickets with spin | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How to get more wickets with spin

It's a little known fact that most club cricket games are won and lost with spinners.

The reason is that most club batsmen tend to have a decent defence and not many shots while most club seamers tend to not be good enough to fire out the opposition.

That leaves the spinner to step in. You ready for the challenge?

The great news is that club spinners don't need to produce magic balls to rip through the opposition like seamers do. They can do it with a decent level of accuracy, a confident captain who sets the right fields and an opposition who cannot resist having a go (and let's face it, most club batsmen fancy themselves against spin).

You may have noticed a great big proviso in that last paragraph: Spinners need to be handled well enough to do their job.

It's very easy for a captain to think a spinner is bowling badly when he is buying wickets. So how do the captain and spinner work together to do this?

The role of spin bowlers in club cricket

As we have discussed before, players need to know their role in the team. So what is the role of spinners?

Without a doubt the number one role of club spinners to take wickets.

While some spinners will be more stock bowlers and some wicket buyers, all are the key to bowling sides out in most conditions. The quality of batsman is also a factor, with better players needing less flight and tail enders unable to resist loopier bowling.

Although all spinners are wicket takers, almost all spinners are different too. Each spinner will have a unique style which will make a difference to the way they get wickets. These include:

  • Flight
  • Pace
  • Turn
  • Bounce
  • Crease Position
  • Variations (arm ball, googly, over or round the wicket)

Batters preferences need to be taken into account too. Batsman who use their feet to drive will need more in the covers than sweepers for example.

While all these are vital factors to take into account, the key difference is whether they are off spin, slow left arm or leg spin.

Off Spin

Off spinners (or left armers bowling to left handed bats) have two classic ways of taking wickets. Firstly through bowling the right hander through the 'gate' of bat and pad, and secondly caught on the leg side (ideally short leg). The ball will tend to be with the spin onto the leg side or driven quite straight. Very little tends to go through the area of backward point to cover. This means that the key positions for off spin are

  • short leg
  • midwicket (or deep midwicket)
  • short third man
  • extra cover

The field will usually have a leg side bias, especially when bowling at tail enders. Beyond this, each off spinner will get his wickets differently. For example, big turners of the ball could expect to get more 'classic' dismissals, off spinners with less rip may get more caught at slip.

Slow Left Arm

With left arm finger spinners the ball will be played far more onto the off side as right handers play with the spin.

The aim is to beat the outside edge to hit the stumps or be caught in the slips. Thick edges to short extra cover are also a classic left arm dismissal. Assuming the bowler is pitching the ball up on off stump, this normally dictates six or seven off side fielders (any less leaves a lot of gaps and should be avoided). If the bowling is too straight the left armer could be swept or played off the legs which can mean expensive overs to this field, but as having four on the leg side leaves a gap against the stock ball, it's better to get more accurate bowling than more leg side fielders.

The only time this would not apply would be when faced by a player who is set on slogging. In this case packing the leg side is an option.

Leg Spin

Leg spin is generally less accurate but sees more turn than finger spin makes large differences to the field. The aims for a leg spinner will be similar to the left armer with the added complexities of googlies. For this reason the important fielders are

  • short third man
  • extra cover
  • square leg

The latter two with the option of going deep. If the leg spinner has a googly a fielder behind square leg is vital. Four fielders on the leg side is more sensible with leg spin because of the lesser accuracy.

The final key key to getting more wickets with spin

If you remember these core elements you can use your own cricket sense to vary things and do what works for you. Remember that whatever your variety of spin, the key to getting wickets is a combination of intelligent captaincy and good bowling.

Want even more advice on getting wickets with spin? Click here for 6 more ways.


© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008


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Hi, till 3 month ago my 12 year old son who is orthodox left arm spinner bowled like Murali Kartik, now coach told him to take stright run up like Monty Panesae and he is not bowling as good as befor and not happy with new action, what is the right thing to do.

What was the reason for changing his run up?

The main reason for a bowler bowling slow left arm to run up straight is for line and ability to drive over the front foot pivoting. I take it when bowling around the wicket he went in between the umpire and went quite wide of the crease creating a small popping area on the right angle of front line and side crease line. This is good however the body has to rotate more and get side on. The most important part of being consistant is line and length for a spinner and keeping everything moving straight through the delivery crease can assist.

Coaches only give your son options he doesnt have to change anything if you took what kevin pietersen does and put it in a manual it would get burnt. You need to play with charachter and in a way that suits yourself let him find his way !!!!!!!!

hello....i am a left arm off spinner (chinaman) ...can u tell me what field i should take while bowling to right handers,,,,,,

hi... I'm basically a all bowling department...i can bowl seam up , medium pace and also i can turn the ball.....i good in all types...i don't know what to me...even im comfortable with different types of action.

I bowl leg spin, and I seem to be unable to get the balance between turn and accuracy. when I spin it really hard, the ball goes all over the place and I become inconsistent. but when I bowl accurately there is a lot less spin. Why does this happen? is there some way to improve spin without compromising with the accuracy?

Another problem I face is that I can hardly ever find anyone to face my bowling, and so I bowl to an empty net. when there is nobody, I end up much less accurate. How do i bowl accurately to an empty net?

get a marker and mark a spot on the pitch to obtain better accuracy when there is an empty net

Warney talks about "spinning the bowl up" to prevent dragging it down when giving it a good rip. Important to have a full follow through though.

Better yet Raji, buy PitchVision and have it measure your accuracy automatically!

I am a leg-spinner..The key for getting more wickets is to have more variations , vary your balls and keep the batsmen guessing.

i am a off spinner

whenever i bowl offspin my friends charge down the pitch and hit it for four and sixes

You keep varying your speed and your length....don't let your friends guess what you bowl...

i am a leg spinner and my ball goes somewhere off to the legside and after it bounces it goes behind the batsmen i am having trouble when i am throwing the ball and when it is in the air.

With regards to wrist spinning (Leg-spinning, wrong uns, Flippers etc) you've got to remember this is recognised by most people to be the most difficult discipline within the game. With that in mind - you've kind of got to expect to have a multitude of problems throughout your developmental years as a spinner and this involves putting a lot of hours in practicing and getting your action and your technique sussed. As alluded to in the opening text in this page, there's an expectancy that as a wrist-spinner you're going to have accuracy issues and yeah, while you're learning that's obviously going to be the case. The only way that you're going to address those issues is by practicing constantly both during the season and out of the season. It's helpful if you've got a coach that knows what they're talking about and captain and team that are going to give you a spell despite the fact that you are going to go for a lot of runs when you start out. But, if you keep things simple, analyse what it is that you're doing - subscribe to forums and websites there are a lot of people out there willing to help you out and make really useful suggestions as to how to work through your problems.

With regards to the comments above I would suggest that if you're having problems focus on a few key issues and approaches......

1. Spin the ball hard and practice spinning the ball every opportunity you have e.g. if your bored and you've got the option of picking up a ball or playing some computer game - ditch the game and spin the ball - you're a wrist spinner remember.
2. Keep it simple, stick with the leg break and don't worry about variations till you've got very good accuracy with your leg break.
3. Be able to bowl the ball into a very small area on a line and length that you choose. The only way this is going to happen is through total concentration and hours and hours of practice.
4. Don't try and be Shane Warne and produce the ball of the century all of the time. I bowl to the off-stump looking for the edge of the bat and have a strike rate of 15 and an average of 3.8 most of my wickets are from catches off the bat using a leg breaks.
5. Think of your bowling in terms of a 2 or 3 year plan. It's not easy this wrist spinning, but with total focus, commitment and concentration it'll come and you could find yourself being the most productive bowler in your team!

Dave that is incredible advice, I echo it totally. Wise words.

Cheers David, you and me we go back 4 years now as on-line friends and it's primarily through your encouragement and your initial help and comments on my own blog that I've come as far as I have prior to that I'd never played cricket in my life! The advice and support that I've had from a small core of on-line mates like yourself has been absolutely amazing and I've gone from being a bloke that could barely get the ball up the wicket 22 yards to someone who can now bowl a bit and is seemingly seen by an on-line community as someone with some valid ideas about wrist spin bowling. So cheers once again for your support and appreciation for my views on this aspect of cricket!

Again, as I often say, I'm not an expert - but I've got an enormous amount of enthusiasm and committment to this very special aspect of cricket. I comment on these pages to encourage others to explore their own potential and to share the joy of taking wickets through the skill and guile of bowling wrist spin, but I'm always looking for new ideas and new suggestions to improve my own bowling, because I'm still and always will be a learner.

It's your passion and enthusiasm that has got you as far as you have! We never stop learning.

leg spin is a very hard art, and ive been doing it for a while, i just have some tips for young leggies
1.spin the bowl as hard as you can but try to think high and spin up so you dont drag the ball down.
2.think of what shot you want the batsmen to play, do you want him to drive and get a nick or want him to cut and top edge it or if you want him to pull or cut and try and bowl him, by bowling a flipper or if your to young try a slider/zooter always think as how your going to get him out
3.use flight to your advantage, try to flight the ball well, just above the batters eye level or just to get it up there, trying to produce a false shot patient, if something doesnt work straight away dont give up, the best leggies are the ones who arent phased about being hit for six, just get ready to get him out next ball

Hello guys!I am a 16 year old leg spinner. Last season i had a strike rate of 6 with an average of 8 with the ball. Just need tips on the sort of action needed to bowl leg spin and on how to improve my accuracy.

Ps i only have a quicker one as a variation ball is that enough

Ramendeep, drop a line here ( Dave Thompson is the resident leg spinner here.

Thanks Aleksandar

i m left arm spinner and right arm batsman.

Ramendeep, someone has kindly said that I'm the resident wrist spinner on here, to be honest I only ever visit here every now and then, so sorry about the delay in answering your question.
I've just posted a comment on a technology 'Is it useful'? thread where I said that it was very useful, so one of the things you can do is film your bowling action and review it yourself and see if there's anything wrong with it. Better still is to upload it to youtube and link it to here and other simialr forums and get others to comment and suggest ways to improve. But, you do have to be careful what forums you post it up on otherwise you will just get a bunch of kids taking the mick and not suggesting anything positive. The key to improving is practice, probably more practice than anyone else in your team, because Leg spinning is to the most difficult of all the specialities, but one of the most rewarding if you stick with it and get really good at it. With regards variations you have to stick with your leg break until you got very good control of it and you're happy with it. Then add the Top-Spinner. Hope this helps?


hi guys

last season, i carved up bowling leg spinner. but this season i have lost my accuracy. i have been practicing at the net but i am not improving. i am turning the ball more than ever before.

any tips?

Ho much do you practice every week?

a bit, i have two training sessions with school, about 2-3 hours and one with club, about one hour.

ps i just wanted to ask about how much turn is considered to be a lot of turn. on turn wickets i can spin my leg break from middle to about a foot or foot and a half outside off. on a synthetic, a little less, probably a foot maximum. once i pitched a leg break way outside leg and it came back to it off

If you can turn it a foot you are good.

I would recommend bowling at a target in an empty net (no batters) more often to develop your accuracy.

I was just wondering about the leg spinners run up. Should a leg spinner have a 'leap' or a 'jump' just before bowling the ball or not. I know when i bowl with a 'leap' i tend to drop short a lot. But should you have one, is it beneficial?

I've bowled for years with a bit of a skip leading into the explosive action through the crease. last year I endeavoured to get rid of the skip as it wasn't helping with my bowling. I initially worked with the stand start drill and moved this along step by step till I'd developed a 4 or 5 step approach to the crease and this was a big development. This season I've been working with a 'Bound' and apart from the fact that I've got an on-going knee injury the bound seems to be making a big difference to my bowling.
The 'Explosion' through the crease needs to be powerful and dynamic and the bound increases aspects of the required 'Explosive' action. So, whilst you can bowl with a relatively smooth and flowing approach to the wicket that doesn't include the bound (Watch Terry Jenner bowling) I would say that if you're young, you should work to bowl with the bound as it will have a hugely beneficial affect on your bowling.

I came over today to ask a question about field setting theory as I reckon David H what with being a Keeper and a 'Wannabe Wrist Spinner' will have some good advice on this. So the situation is I'm bowling over the wicket R/Arm picthing the ball on the off stump erring towards outside of the off-stump. I've identified that the batsman wants to get the ball on the Leg-Side and play his obviously preferred Leg-side shots. Would there be any merit in not having a Mid On or Mid off, trying to get him to come down the wicket to play straight bat shots or play front foot drives from a pretty static position, looking to get the edge or a stumping if he comes down the wicket. Any suggestions how I might set the field. One last thing I have a wrong un which often cramps them up and spins off vertical almost. Complex stuff this field setting lark, or is this complete tosh?

hey. i am a left arm spinner and i bowl well but some times i bowl a lot of full tosses or bang it in short.and with the fear of bowling full toss i wont spin the ball.i want to know how should a left arm spinner approach at the wicket and how to control my bowling

Do you have a nice controlled run-up and a consistent action? Often the underlying problem with a lack of control of length is because you are hitting the crease at different speeds and stride lengths every time. Consistent run-up, consistent action, consistent bowling speed should lead to a consistent length.

There is no point being a spinner unless you are going to try and spin the ball - however this said, you don't need to rip the ball as hard as you physically can every delivery if it means you lose control of where it goes. Just a nice corkscrew rotation should be enough to get the ball dancing around.

Get your captain to give you a little protection at deep square, so that if you do bowl a full toss or a long hop, it won't automatically be 4.

Great advice AB, and as usual there are no shortcuts: Get in the nets and bowl until you are reaching that consistency.

PitchVision helps you track it too.

I have often found that this is more of an issue with release than anything else. Try to get somebody to video your action several times, from tip to toe and watch the angle (height) of release... do you always release at the same point? Too late and you will bowl short, too early and you will bowl full. Eye-wink

i am off spiner

similar to off spinners bowling to r hand bats

I am an allrounder and i bowl leg spin, but i can also bowl off spin. I am not sure but i think off spin takes more wickets. Can u tell me which spin takes more wickets so i will bowl that one.

ROy bro! Mate leg spinning is probbaly the way to go if you are willing to PRACTICE LOADS. becasue there is no doubt once you can bowl it, you will be the most lethal bolwer in your line up. But dont get me wrong, off spin is a handy art as well Smiling

Please do not ask your son to change his original bowling actions and copy others. Let him continue to bowl with his original variations. Why his coach needs to create another Monty Panesae?

Hello, do you think a variation like the following might be useful for a leg spinner: You pull your wrist backwards with the palm facing the batsman and generate lots of backspin, this causes the ball to become much slower after pitching so the batsman might mistime it and hit it in the air.

hai, i am an left hand orthodox spin,i tends to drop short how can i correct it?

The only way to correct that is to practice practice practice. Place a marker where the ideal length is and try to hit it. Do that as much as you can whenever you can. But keep spinning the ball as hard as possible. Dropping short is usually a result of trying to bowl too fast or flat. You should rather give the ball plenty of flight , spinning it hard trying to generate dip.

I am a 13 year old leggie and I get good turn and flight but not very good accuracy. I practice on targets but I do not hit them much are there any good drills or ideas?

Hi, my name is Faareh and I'm a left arm spinner . I can turn the bowl well and Ian accurate with my off spin but whenever I bowl it comes out really slow even though it pitches at good length and spins well. Need help!

i am a off spinner when i throw off break the batter plays the cut shot and the ball goes for a six