Streetwise Bowling: Around the Legs | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Streetwise Bowling: Around the Legs

This article is part of the "Streetwise Bowling" series from PitchVision Academy. To view the full list of tactics click here. This tactic has been provided by Spin Coach, Menno Gazendam.

Bowling leg breaks to a batsman with a weak spot on his legs?

Don't just go the obvious route and pitch every ball outside of leg stump.

The batsman will know what is going on and just pad you safely away. Instead, work him over by getting him to come forward, then surprising him with a big turner outside leg.


As such, it can be used in both attacking and defensive roles.

  • Name: Around the Legs
  • Bowling Type: Leg Spin
  • Difficulty Level: 7/10
  • Success Level: Variable

It's a method that has worked for the greatest ever leggie. Take a look at this clip of Shane Warne setting up Darren Powell. For more than an over and half he draws Powell on the front foot, getting him to commit early with coming forward. Then he bowls his big turning leg break wide outside leg, catching Powell off balance and leaving leg stump exposed.


Here is how you bowl it.

The Over

Ball 1: Bowl well up around off-stump and outside.

Ball 2-4: Vary your drop, drift and turn ( but do not use your biggest leg break). Maintain the same line throughout the over: good length, hitting the top of middle and leg to leg stump. Encourage the batter to defend and drive on the front foot. Be patient and keep at it. Yes, this is important to lull the batsman into thinking he understands your method.

Ball 5 or 6: When you have your man, bowl your biggest leg break wide outside leg stump and full. This way you will catch the batsman off-balance. He will be looking at going forward and not be able to get in position to defend the leg stump. The chances are very good that you will hit the stumps out of the rough.

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

For more spin bowling tips, tricks and tactics get the free 8 week spin bowling course from Menno Gazendam, Authour of Spin Bowling Tips.

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To pull this off the pitch condition, ball condition and delivery excecution has to be perfect. If you want to bowl a batsman around the legs with your "biggest leg break" you would have to get the seam spinning at the optimum angle and pitch it at the best possible length.
For a skilled wrist spinner the "biggest leg break" is the leg break with the seam at 90 degrees. [Clean side spin] However, on most pitches this delivery will not turn as much as a hard spun 45 degree leg break unless it's a real dust bowl. The reason why I don't think the 90 degree leg break should be used is that the 45 degree leg break dips and drifts more than the 90 degree leg break; so you are essentially using your best weapon (45DLB) to set the batsman up; only to use a weaker leg break (90DLB) to try and get him out. I have witnessed wrist spinners bowl batsmen around the legs, and each time it wasn't necessarily the turn that beat them, but the dip and drift which beat the bat and pads. You only have to pitch four 'big leg breaks' (90 degrees) on off stump or slightly outside without any drift; and on the 5th ball a 45 degree leg break that starts on off and drifts past the stumps will suffice.
Unfortunately this is no easy feat and it requires total focus and perfect excecution. The 45 degree leg break also has a chance of bouncing over the stumps due to its top spin.
Warne used a 75 degree leg break to bowl Powell around the legs, the pitch allowed just enough turn and the dip and drift fooled Powell. Without dip or drift it is much more difficult to bowl a good batsman around the legs. Even the ball of the century most likely wouldn't have bowled Mike Gatting had it not done its magic through the air (though it wasn't actually around the legs the concept is the same)
So isn't using the 45 / 75 degree leg break as the wicket taker a better ploy? I'm sure that most club level wrist spinners don't even have full control over the biggest leg spinner! What would be even more deceiving is using leg breaks with mostly top spin; bowling them full on off stump with a few straight backspinners. The batsman won't expect a ball to turn back from outside the leg stump if all the deliveries on off stump barely spun but bounced a lot.
I'm not sure if other wrist spinners would agree with me as everyone has their own opinion on bowling with clean side spin and its potential; but the 45 degree leg break (in my experience) is by far the better option for wicket taking!