The 3 golden rules of captaining leg spin | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

The 3 golden rules of captaining leg spin

Leg spin is the greatest bowling asset a captain can have. But the combination of lesser accuracy and greater variations means the leggie is also the most difficult to manage.

And that means it's easy to misuse the treasure of the wrist spinner.

Fortunately, there are three simple rules you can keep in mind as captain to help you get the most from leg spin.

1. There is no orthodox leg spinner

The classic caricature is that leg spinners buy their wickets by throwing the ball up. They combine getting hit all over the shop with unplayable balls nicked to the keeper or slip.

Although roughly right, the truth is leggies vary greatly in style and personality. The former fast bowler in the twilight of his career will fire it in more accurately with less turn. The young talent who can turn it square may not have the confidence to try his tricks.   

Each spinner is different. Each one has a slightly different stock ball (flatter, loopier, turn, bounce), a different range or variations and a different personality.

That difference means the ball will go in different areas between leggies. There is no stock field.

So you need to make sure the field is set for this bowler and not another leggie.

For example; we have a leg spinner at our club with a well-disguised googly. It's vital for him to have a fielder behind square saving one on the leg side. Yet the position would be useless if he only bowled leg breaks outside off stump.

2. Be clear

More than any other bowler, the leg spinner needs to be clear on what his captain wants.

So many captains will just throw the leggie on somewhere in the middle of an innings because it's his turn. The strategy is no more complex than "if he gets hit he's off, if he takes wickets he stays on".

But that's not a clear role. That's captaincy by fear of failure and leg spinners tend to fail a lot (its part of the deal).

To give you an example, let's go back to our young club leg spinner. I give him free reign to try and take wickets, set aggressive fields and make sure he knows I will keep him on if he gets some tap.

I know I can afford this because at the other end I can bowl either a very accurate medium pacer or a flat, accurate off spinner. They keep one end tight while the leggie has his fun.

It's also important to let your spinner know when you want him or her to bowl. The tradition is to wait until the shine is off the new ball, but don't be afraid to try a spinner early, or leave it until late when you need to bowl the tail out to win.

It gives a spinner confidence to know roughly when he or she is going to bowl in an innings as well as wheat you expect.

3. Hold your nerve
This is the most important rule.

You have to have some guts to have a leg-spinner bowling the last over of a match where you need one wicket to win and they need five runs. The safe bet would be the seamer bowling straight and full. But where is the fun in that?

Be prepared to let your leg-spinner bowl within the clear role you set out for him.

Sure, if he is bowling nothing but rubbish you will have to take him off. But was that last over that went for eight really so bad? He beat the bat twice and both boundaries were hoicks across the line that almost went to hand.

It's easy to talk about sitting here, but in the heat of battle with the opposition closing in on your score and every wicket valuable can you hold your nerve?

For the sake of the art of leg spin, I hope you can.

image credit: Leo Reynolds


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great for both captain and spinner as well.

Time and time again I read articles about the way captains handle leg spinners and time and time again I hear about how they are mishandled. A Legspinner is a key asset to any team and must be used wisely. If set the right field, they are bound to get wickets, but alot of the time captains neglect legspinners in favour of more orthodox bowlers who's end outcome is almost a given (Line and length but no wickets)

this is a great article and i agree total with it as i am a leg spin bowler as soon as i get hit for more then 8 runs in a row i get pulled off no matter if we are defending a total of 200 an the team is 3 down for 15o odd or they are chasing 300 and the 8 for 50 or in beetween ther no matter wat i get taken off the only times i have had a long spell is were i have bowled darting quick balls 3-4 times an over it hurts me doing that because my instinct is 2 toss it up and beat the batsman with spin and flight. I also hate it when the captains says ok spinners on lets put a few on the fence. i understand but evry time i get hit the put another 1 on the fence. my feild would have on square leg on the fence and a deep point but evry one else in normal positions or close 2 the bat. It suks being a leggie but im noting going to change because of these sill captains u think 1 boundry you r off. 2 any leggies who are readinbg this please for the sake of cricket dont give up your art because of yopur captain

Good on ya D.Aloi, well said about not giving up, especially if you're with a club that has few Spinners as senior players and therefore you don't get a lot of support. But we do have a responsibility as Leggies to bowl properly, inaccuracy is still in-excusable so if you're bowling to a off-side field you've got to make sure that it goes down the off-side untill you decide otherwise. Poor bowling as a Leggie because of the spin still gets you wickets, but you know deep down that you're not the finished product. What we do as Leggies is the most difficult thing in cricket, but the rewards when we get it right are amazing.

it is in-ecusable but a captain thinks that well at least my captain thinks that a bad ball by a leggie is one that has that be of flight he escpects darts all time i think that if you r a leggie that bowls darts that is bad bowling an in-ecusable i perfer a leggie 2 get hit for six or four down the ground by toss a ball up or get hit out of the ground because he tried that 1 time to spin that ball a bit more harder but it turn up 2 be a half tracker than a leggie that comes in bowls darts and takes 0/10 of 10 or so overs yes gd eocdmy rate but as a bowler dont we bowl to get wickets not keep runs down a give easy singles by leaving 2 many people on the fence.

I cant seem 2 view any comments anyone has posted since my last posting can some 1 explain y is that Thankyou

DO you mean on this thread? There have not been any. Or am I misunderstanding?