Pitchvision Academy


We give spinners the attention they deserve this week with tactics and attitudes for aspirational spinners.

Plus there is the latest cricket show available to listen to, and a sad story about a captain that we should all heed.

Have a great weekend, 

David Hinchliffe

Why you should stop bowling leg spin

“Oh, I’ve given up bowling leg spin,” the talented youngster said to me during the first game of the cricket season on a bright April day.

“I took up bowling pace in the winter at University and my coach says I’m pretty good.”

I sighed. It wasn’t a surprise because the leggie (or now former leggie) had often spoken of his frustration at bowling spin. It didn’t matter to him that he could bowl fizzing leg breaks that swung into the right-hander before dipping and biting off the turf because has also bowled a few long hops in his efforts to give the ball massive turn.

He wanted to be a fast man; to take off heads and growl at batsmen. Through the pressure of most of the senior players in the team he had continued to bowl leg spin in the last couple of seasons. He was 18 and in the 1st team.

But one winter away from us had given him the room to make the change he so desperately wanted.

So halfway through that first match (a pre-season friendly) the captain threw him the ball. The pitch was green and had been seaming around.

Becoming a fast bowler

I looked at first slip and we took a rough guess as to how far back to stand.

Our hero tore up to the wicket from an extended run and as ‘keeper I crouched in readiness. I had images of the ball whistling past the outside edge and crashing into my gloves, pushing me back. I was ready with the shout of “good wheels buddy”.

His first ball was down the leg side. It was medium paced at best. It bounced before reaching me and I had to sprawl in the spring mud to gather it. His second ball was a slow medium wide half volley outside off stump. The batsman made short work of it.

The slip was removed. I stood up to the stumps.

“I thought you were bowling pace?” I mocked hoping to fire him up.

He managed three overs before being taken off with figures of 0-23. He still insisted he was sticking to pace bowling so for the first competitive game of the season he was dropped as the first choice spinner for the 1st XI to the first change seamer for the 3rd XI.

He moved away the season after and no longer plays for us. But his story is a common one.

Young leg spinners the world over face the same dilemma and often come up with the same conclusion: leg spin just isn’t worth the effort.

Only brave cricketers can bowl leg spin

This happens because to be a leg spinner you need to be the bravest person in the team.

If you are not brave, you may as well forget it.

Wrist spin is easily the hardest skill to learn and master in cricket. It takes work, there are inevitable setbacks and there are hundreds of uncultured batsmen with little talent waiting to slog your good length delivery into the trees.

While you are learning you will bowl a lot more bad balls than the average medium paced seam bowler. Your rate per over will be high.

Yes, you are a match winner (taking 5-38) but you are also a match loser for a while (often taking 1-64 or similar). Your captain will be afraid to bowl you because he has never understood how to handle spinners.

It’s an easier option to switch to miserly medium pace and take your figures of 1-24 off 10 overs every week. You always get a bowl that way.

But it’s also awfully cowardly.

With a little of the right practice you can bowl leg spin with turn, accuracy and good figures every week. Bowlers like Warne and Kumble have proven that you can bowl leg spin without being costly.

It’s just you have to get over that first hump where you are inaccurate.

If you don’t have the guts and attitude to do that right from the start, yes, you should stop bowling leg spin. Let the really passionate guys bowl it instead.

But once you are on the other side it’s accuracy, dip and wickets all the way.

And wickets mean more bowling at a higher level than ever before.

Do you want to know exactly how to practice and play before you fall into the ‘seamers trap’?

Get the free PitchVision Academy newsletter and we will announce a way of doing exactly that very shortly. 

image credit: Senthil Prabu.S

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Now it's even easier to solve your cricket problems

The revolutionary PitchVision Academy Problem Solver has had a major upgrade.

Judging by the number of questions we get here at PitchVision Academy, a lot of players and coaches have a cricketing problem they need solving. Everyone has something; a technical flaw in the cover drive, not quick enough bowling, getting gassed with low fitness levels and a hundred other things.

We also know that there is a frustrating gap for most of us.

The coaches and experts with the answers to your problems are expensive or inaccessible, or both.

At least they were.

Until PitchVision Academy started putting the secrets of top coaches online in our premium online courses section and started making the information affordable for those who can't get to the top coaches.

Problem solver: Linking your problems with premium expert coaching

PitchVision Academy has revolutionised the way people get cricket coaching with affordable access to high quality coaching.

So we came up with a really simple way to find the course that is perfect for you: The problem solver.

PitchVision Academy: Solve your cricket problems

The problem solver is a simple online tool that asks you what help you need and gives you a  premium online coaching course to fix your issue. It's fast and easy to use guiding you to answers directly.

We have just done a major upgrade of the problem solver, adding more course, solving more problems and making it even easier for you to get the help you want.

Batting, bowling or fielding; it's all there and all designed to help you get a better player directing you to tips, drills and techniques used by top coaches.

Click here to give the problem solver a try and see if we can help you play better cricket this summer.

(Please note, this tool will not solve your issue, only guide you to a coaching course with the right information, these course are not free but do represent incredible value when compared to paying coaching fees to the elite coaches who put the information together)

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Cricket Show 97: Baseball mitts and Chris Peploe

PitchVision Academy Cricket Show

Listen to the best cricket show on the web this week with two more quality interviews.

First, we get advice on baseball gloves from Bradley Jones, softball player and boss of The Baseball and Softball Shop, if you are looking for top quality gloves and advice on how to look after and use the gloves then pick up your glove from there.

Second we catch up with Chris Peploe; Unicorns left arm spinner and coach at Ealing CC in West London. We talk one day spin bowling tips and tricks including the 3 most important things a spinner needs to do in one-day cricket.

Plus Burners tells us all about his umpiring stint and we answer your coaching questions on:

  • Catching nicks as a ‘keeper
  • Bowling in hot weather
  • Controlling aggression and over-confidence as a batter


Remember you contribution is all important on all open topics. And we really do need your feedback to make the show work.

How to Get in Touch With the Show

Our contact email can be found here.

Use our twitter or facebook accounts.

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Avoid spin bowling variations that make you look like an ass

This is a guest article from AB, a club left arm spinner and aggressive batsman with more than 15 years experience. His claim to fame is a 50 run partnership with JP Duminy.

Batsmen are not as stupid as they look.

If you bowl obvious variations thinking you are going to outwit the idiot at the other end, all a decent batsman is going to do is make you look foolish by putting your well thought out “other one” into the trees over cow corner.

How a bad captain will cost you more than matches

Captaincy at club level is the one place in cricket you can find better players than you see in the professional game.

And it’s also the place you can see some horrific butchering of the art of captaincy. If it’s bad enough it could cost your club dearly, as this story shows.

During a short stint at a club two years ago, I played with a captain who used to smoke while standing at mid-on.


About PitchVision Academy

Welcome to this week's guide to playing and coaching better cricket.

I'm David Hinchliffe and I'm Director of the PitchVision Academy team. With this newsletter you are benefitting directly from over 25 Academy coaches. Our skills include international runs and wickets, first-class coaching, cutting-edge research and real-life playing experience.


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Issue: 134
Date: 2011-01-21