Leg-Spin - An Introduction
- By SP. Bhatia
Right-arm off-spin and left-arm orthodox spin
involve the use of the fingers. On the other hand,
the wrist of the bowling hand plays a dominant part
in right-arm leg-spin and left-arm unorthodox (chinaman)
spin. Leg-spin bowling is one of cricket's most
attractive, and difficult aspects. It is an art in
itself, which needs to be looked at closely, and
The stock ball of a leg-spinner is the leg-break,
wherein the ball changes direction from the
leg-stump to the off-stump after pitching. As the
ball is released, the bowler's wrist flips over
towards the batsman while the third finger spins
the ball along the seam.
Shane Keith Warne, Leg-spinner Extraordinaire.
Leg-spin bowlers tend to have a shorter run-up.
They run at a slight angle towards the popping
grease, to help them retain their side-on position.
A leg-spinner can take lot of wickets if he
continues to bowl accurately. If he is not accurate
enough, he runs the risk of getting a pasting.
The grip for the leg-break:
1. Place the first and second fingers across the
seam at the top. The third finger should be bent
and lie along the seam. The ball should not be
rested on the thumb. You have to flick your wrist
forwards as you release the ball, so that your palm
faces the ground. Keep looking forward as you lean
away from the batsman, stand tall and keep your
back straight. To help you stand side-on, keep the
back foot as parallel to the crease.
2. Rotate the wrist to achieve maximum spin, swing
the bowling arm backwards and upwards, keeping it
close to your right ear. The arm should move over
your head. Transfer your weight onto your front
3. Release the ball from as high as possible,
keeping your head upright and steady, and keep your
front knee steady. As you swing the right arm
forward, pivot your body around on your left foot
and flick the ball as it leaves your hand, so that
your palm ends up facing the ground. Spin the ball
using your third finger and make sure that the left
arm does not drop to the side after you release the
4. Use the left arm to balance the body as your
weight moves forward after delivering the ball.
Make sure that your follow-through is energetic and
powerful. Bring the right arm down and past your
left thigh as you complete the action.
5. Watch the ball as it pitches and be prepared for
a return catch.
There are different types of leg-spinners. There
may be some like Bill O'Reilly (Australia), Bhagwat
Chandrashekhar (India) and Anil Kumble (India), who
belong to the 'fast off the wicket' club. These
bowlers relied, and in Kumble's case, rely, on
speed and bounce along with accuracy. Then there
are others like Clarrie Grimmett (Australia) and
Subhash Gupte (India), who were huge turners of the
ball. It used to be said of them that they could
turn the ball even on a glass surface! Shane Warne,
the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, is a
member of this fraternity of 'turners'. The quality
leg-spinner has a lot of tricks and variations up
his sleeve. Each of them will be examined and
explained in the subsequent articles