How to Play Spin like Rahul Dravid | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How to Play Spin like Rahul Dravid

It's no secret that it's easy to struggle against spinners in the Sub-continent. England's batsmen have failed for decades.

Here is the inside guide to playing spin in slow, low turning conditions so you can coach your players to be a little more like Dravid.


Manage interception points

Sounds posh?

The concept is incredibly simple.

Either make contact with the ball as close to the bounce of the ball as possible or as far away from the bounce of the ball as possible!

This is the key difference between poor players of spin in the sub-continent and the real greats like Jayawardene, Dravid and Younis Khan.

In England and South Africa, batters can get away with leaden feet and making contact with the ball in and around the crease line whilst scoring at a normal rate. In India, if you play aggressively from the crease then your incidence of dismissal goes through the roof.

Statistically, the best player of spin in these conditions was Rahul Dravid.

Rahul was a master at reaching forward and playing both defensively and attackingly as close to the ball bounce as possible. Yet he also had a 'human spring' of a left Leg to push back onto his stumps to hit through the off-side with a back foot drive or clip through the on side with the minimum of fuss.

Hawkeye imagery backs this up.

The side on view of interception points show big numbers of balls being intercepted either very close to the bounce or way back (onto the stumps) from the point of bounce.

When you colour code the attacking shots from the defensive ones you note that Rahul rarely - if at all in some significant innings in India - attacked within small distances from the crease line.

The ball colours indicate a 95%+ defensive shot incidence within this area taken over a significant number of innings.

Contrast this to English players who have a far more balanced approach to attack and defend in the crease line area. They have poorer strike rate, runs per over and balls per dismissal ratios compared to Rahul.

So what does this mean to you as a Coach?

Armed with this information and with Andy Flower's words ringing in my ears, I have simplified the way in which I encourage batters at school level to practice and play against spin, whether it be in nets, against the Merlin Spin Bowling machine or out in the middle.

If I can help players to develop into being able to cope with the challenges of batting on Indian pitches against spin then surely that method is transferable to being successful on English pitches?

Measuring Progress

We video the crease line from sideways on (from outside the net or square leg umpire in middle practice) and we analyse each bucket of balls or set of 12 balls in the net against the "Interception Point" parameters and the player receives an Interception Point %.

Interception Point% formula is:

Number of Close to the Ball Bounce + Number of Far from the Ball Bounce ÷ Total Balls Faced x 100

We keep a note of the player's performance as he goes through his spin specific sessions and from this data we can create graphs that help us to monitor progress.

If you have time then the next formula to be applied is:

Number of Successful Close to the Ball Bounce + Number of Successful Far from the Ball Bounce ÷ Total Balls Faced x 100

You don’t have to do this often - I know that time is an issue - yet think how the follow up discussions with each player could challenge and shape the way that they implement their method against spin.

Now that is Coaching to Win!

Broadcast Your Cricket Matches!

Ever wanted your skills to be shown to the world? PV/MATCH is the revolutionary product for cricket clubs and schools to stream matches, upload HD highlights instantly to Twitter and Facebook and make you a hero!

PV/MATCH let's you score the game, record video of each ball, share it and use the outcomes to take to training and improve you further.

Click here for details.


great work once again Garas, when will your coaching course be available? can't wait sure it will be first class

I think Garas should right a book. Almost every cricket coaching book I pick up I'm disappointed to find contain nothing I hadn't already figured out for myself in 15 years of playing and watching; or worse, stuff that I know is completely wrong. These coaching to win articles always manage to put a fresh and intelligent spin on things.

Keep your eyes peeled, except "books" don't really get made any more. We have much more interactive and flexible ways to do things AB. Live in the now!

I like books, once I've read them they can sit and look nice in my study. I have an entire shelf of cricket books to add to. Home printed pdfs don't really have the same effect.

I can't believe I spelt "write" wrong in my first post.

That's true, I was being a little glib, there is still a place for books even in these days of ipads. But we focus on the more interactive stuff that is easier to update.

True - apps for phones/tablets are great and can be constantly updated. I use 3 or 4 and find them very useful. On the fly video analysis or simply giving players a chance to watch a shot in slo-mo or paused at critical moments is a real boon.

Books are a fantastic resource but once read tend to stay on the bookshelf. Plus, there is only so much you can get from words or a static picture.

i just wanna ask how to carry your form and good batting in the nets to a match i am in the team as a legspinner and doing well and in the nets i look and bat far more better thn my top order so how to do the same in the matches i am a low middle order batsmen and usually face pacers or mediums i play good agisnst pace as i never get afraid how fast the bowler is but as soon a slow air giving spinner who flights the bowl comes i start struggling to put bat on ball even if its a straight flighted bowl what should i do thn??????

Playing like Rahul Dravid, hmm seem to be the difficult task in the cricket world. I tried a lot to be like him, but didn’t get near to him. the way in which he play against the spin is the most beautiful thing the leg glance and the cut shots trust asset protection