Streetwise Bowling: The Moon Shot | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Streetwise Bowling: The Moon Shot

This article is part of the "Streetwise Bowling" series from PitchVision Academy. To view the full list of tactics click here.

Off spinners have to be clever. Moving the ball in to the right hander reduces your ability to take wickets over an equally skilled slow left arm bowler.

That means you need to be even more canny than the average spinner, and it's why you see such a variety in styles of off spin.

The big ripping offie bowls an "attacking" line outside off stump and through the gate. This is a great tactic, but what do you do to mix it up, or defeat a batsman who has your number?

So, picture the scene: an attacking off spinner who is having no luck against a batting pair. The batsmen are using their feet well to get to the pitch and drive safely.

What happens next?


  • Name: The Moon Shot
  • Bowling Type: Off Spin, especially if you turn it.
  • Difficulty Level: 5/10
  • Success Level: Medium

Ball 1-2

Get close to the stumps, bowl straighter and rip it less. Throw the ball up more at a slower pace than usual, getting the ball above the batsman's eye line. Keep things subtle at this point, but make sure there is plenty of fielding protection for straight shots.

Ball 3-4

Once you feel comfortable, use the next couple of balls to get the ball even higher. Now the batsman is starting to notice because you are distinctly loopy in your flight. However, there is not much he can do apart from hit straighter, only now he also needs to hit harder.

Around now, the batsman might mistime it due to the change in pace. If your luck is in it will go to a safe pair of hands at straight midwicket or extra cover.

If you have a keen fielder, drop in a silly point here. Short leg would be suicidal, but a silly point is safe enough if you bowl full and it crowds the batsman.

Ball 5-6

Now you need some guts: Really throw it up. Make the ball shave the moon.

If the batsman has been tied down in the over, his eyes will light up and he will either put it in the trees or down deep mid on's throat. If the batsman has scored freely he might assume you have lost your marbles and given him a freebie. Deep mid on will need a good safe pair of hands.

With a well defended area from midwicket to cover, and the right length, this tactic is fairly safe and easy to try. The batters might well simply push every ball to the straight boundary for a single and not lose cool.

However, you have given him something to think about, and as a spinner that's one of your most powerful tools.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on.

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This is an excellent tactic to use, against some players bowling the ball slower every ball won't work, but if you can bowl the last ball very fast and flat you have a better chance of taking a wicket.

I'd suggest only using this against batsmen who have slightly open stances. I've noticed that they tend to struggle more against deliveries that turn in (with the odd exception) But it's that way in international cricket too most of the time (Ponting, Lara, Chanderpaul, Tendulkar etc. Had open stances and struggled more against in-turning deliveries)

In my personal batting experience it's the same. If I have an open stance all my leg side shots except the hook shot become more difficult. I tend to favour the cover drive then (risky shot when the ball turns in) With a closed off stance I favour leg side shots (risky shots against away-turn)

I'm not really an off spin bowler, but I still turn my deliveries in, and the batsmen that I have the most success against have open stances. Just an interesting fact there.

There's an off spinner at my club that bowls the "moon ball" as his stock ball. It's quite effective because he is rarely slogged and gets lots of wickets against batsmen who struggle against spin. The reduced pace does cause a lot of problems.

I am trying to get selected in my school's playing eleven and so this tactic doesn't work for me.
Please tell me a way to bowl in a containing way.


Jacques, come back to big cricket man! You were an enthusiastic chinamen and I don't know why you quit.