Pitchvision Academy


Happy New Year! It's a great tme to make a fresh start on all your cricket goals. Check out the tips below to give you a boost.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Left Arm Bowling is Magic Skill: Make the Most of the Cricket Southpaw

Left arm bowlers are special. Here's how to make the most of your southpaw cricket style.


The lefty is rare. Batsmen are more common, but bowlers are in shorter supply. There are unique challenges that put up barriers to success if you bowl with your left. Understand these and use your unique advantages to become a success instead.

Bowling angles

The obvious advantage is your change of angle. You create angles no one else can, like sliding the ball across the right hander.

Most batsmen rarely practice facing left arm bowling, especially over the wicket. The change might seem minor, but with such a narrow bat, a minor change is all you need to induce an error.

Set your field right and enjoy the cricket boost you get purely from bowling with a different hand.

Of course, you can add to the fun if you build skill in swing, seam or spin. The left arm legend who can swing it back into the right handed batter has huge advantages. The same applies for the finger spinner who moves it away from the bat.

In T20, you have more death options. You can bowl left arm over full and wide to make it extremely tricky to hit the ball to leg. Add that to your inswinging yorker from over and round, and you don't even need a bouncer.

Technique, speed and turn

If you are a seamer, your left hand might also be a barrier to speed. If you bowl spin, it might make it harder to rip it.

It comes back to angles. When you are learning to bowl you probably do it mostly to the righties. This encourages you to bowl with a slightly closed off action. While this is not an exclusive issue for the left, it does happen more often.

Whether you want speed, accuracy, dip or turn; closing off prevents it because you lose hip drive. The hips are the powerhouse of the action for spin or pace.

So, build your action carefully and keep open. It will give you more of what you want. Although you will need to stay constantly aware of the inclination to close off.

The left brain

The third difference most lefties have is the brain.

Left arm spinners have a reputation for being almost as crazy as wicketkeepers. Left handed bowlers (and golfers, interestingly) are much more likely to get the yips. While we cant say with any confidence every left handed person is in the same mental boat, we can be aware of some of the trends and work to manage them.

Chances are you are the only left bowler in your cricket team. If you are a spinner the chances are even higher. So, you need a determined mindset in the knowledge that no one else really understands your struggle. It gets lonely, even in a team sport.

You also probably need to do more work on visualisation, goal setting and confidence building than most. Of course, we all need mental strength in cricket. If you are left handed, you can boldly proclaim you need it more and work on it overtly. No one will disagree because everyone thinks you are a bit bonkers anyway. You can find solace in this quest with your team wicketkeeper. They are most likely even more in need of this stuff than you.

Summary: Ride the Difference

  • Understand the power of angles for tactics.
  • Watch the technical pitfalls.
  • Work hard on your mental strength

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The Unstoppable Power of Left Arm Pace Death Bowling

If you have any pride in your left arm seam bowling, you need to bowl at the death in your cricket matches.


As a left armer, you have all the tools open to you of a righty, plus an extra one that makes you perfect for closing out a game. But it does require a great deal of skill.

Are you up for the challenge and chance to be the hero?

The wide yorker

Your weapon of difference is the wide yorker.

Deliver this ball into a small slot just inside the wide line and just in front of the popping crease (10cm or so).

This works because when you hit your yorker, you have cut off the leg side. You can pack the off side and keep the runs to a minimum. Against batsmen who go to leg at the death - most club and school cricket players - you will see increased frustration and more wickets from silly shots.

Wide yorker: yellow line


Practice your skills

Of course, you need to work on hitting this small target. Get it wrong and you will see the dreaded wide signalled.

Practice the ball often. Ideally against real batsmen as you can gauge how they react to it. However, you can bowl at cones, shoes or PitchVision as well.

If you feel you are making progress - about a 25% success rate is a good point - you can start to increase the difficulty by adding more variations.

Many left arm bowlers find it difficult to choose the right option for the right moment. As a result, their variety is often their biggest weakness. They have not worked out what to bowl and when to bowl it.

So practice this too.

For example, you might want a range of balls to bowl at a newer batsman while sticking to your wide yorker to get a set hitter off strike.

To increase your skill in this area, set a cone straight in front of the stumps 5 to 10cms in front of the popping crease and a cone on the same length just inside the off side wide line.

Hit the wide cone with every ball unless given a signal. As you run up, have a coach or team mate occasionally shout for you to hit the straight cone. If you get good at that, you can also add length balls and bouncers to the options.

Track your progress with PitchVision.

This way you are developing skills in a range of areas with your unique left arm twist. Captains will be begging for your cricket talents in no time!

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Improve Your Bowling with Variety

How many times has a left arm seamer been picked because they offer “variety” to a cricket team?

In a world dominated by right-arm over medium pace bowlers, the promise of a different angle to batsmen is too tempting for selectors. And it works. Many batsmen find it hard to adapt to the change of angle. The left arm bowler gets more wickets.

It’s exactly this reason - creating problems for batsmen - that means any variety will help your team. Here are a few more ways.

Always pick a spinner

There are plenty of excuses not to pick a spinner. Maybe you don’t have any good ones in your club. Maybe the pitch is green. It doesn’t matter; you always have a spinner.

This is because batsmen who play spin well are rare. Even an average spinner causes problems simply by the fact there is less pace on the ball. Tail-enders especially can’t resist. Even if the ball does not turn an inch, there is still flight, dip, drift and variations of pace. Combine that with left arm spin and you are looking at a hero for all conditions.

Yes, there is a risk to blindly playing a spinner. You may be left with three seamers to do most of the work if your spinner does nothing. Yet, without that variety you will always be left wondering if you could have done more.

Get out of the corridor

Whatever arm or pace the bowlers use, you can offer variety through changes like going around the wicket, bowling yorkers and slower balls or just setting unusual fieldsAnything that gets the batter out of their rhythm for a little while.

It may not work but as the saying goes;  if you do what you always did, you get what you always got.

Of course, you might be confident enough with the skill of your reliable right arm over pitch it up medium pace bowlers to never worry. I'm willing to bet there are times when that extra effort was worth the risk. You can always find something to to do.

Change the bowling

Which brings us onto the last tip: If nothing is happening, change the bowling.

Give your main bowlers time to get a batsmen out, especially your spinners, but you also need to get that feel for when the batsmen are finding it easy: scoring runs without looking like getting out.

That is the time to switch to another bowler.

Keep spells short to confuse the batsman as much as you can. You can even swap ends with bowlers. The change might just be enough variety. 

At club and school level you have to work with what you have. But even if you just have three right arm seamers and an occasional slow bowler you can create variety. It's not an exact science (it wouldn't be as much fun if it was) so get creative and never stop thinking when you cross that white line. You never know what might work.

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PitchVision Cricket Review of the Year

Another year, another 150,000 words, another 1,500 minutes of audio and video. It's been a crackerjack year for players and coaches who follow PitchVision.

Mark Garaway’s Review of the Year Part Three

In the final part of my 2017 review, I take a look at the back end of the year, September to December.


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: 494
Date: 2018-01-05