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The art of leg-spin bowling

Published 07 Sep 2018, 14:06 IST
07 Sep 2018, 14:06 IST

Australia v India
Shane Warne

Cricket has many sights that amuse the onlookers. The straight drives, athletic fielding, cover drives, direct hits, out-swingers etc. are an absolute treat to the eye. One such pleasant sight is spin bowling. There are two types of spin bowling - Wrist spin and Finger spin. Let us concentrate on wrist spin today. It is also known as the leg spin.

Right arm leg-spin is technically spinning the ball towards the left-hander and away from the right-hander. The ball is spun by the bowler using his wrists. This is one of the toughest skills to master in the game.

It is impossible to talk about leg-spin and to not mention Shane Warne, one of the very few bowlers who managed to master this skill.

Leg-spin was almost a forgotten art until Shane Warne arrived. Warne’s success is the reason leg spin found a place in the hearts of cricket fans and lead to many more leg spinners playing an integral part in their teams’ success.

Anil Kumble and Abdul Qadir were successful as leg spinners as well, and nowadays the leg-spin are a huge hit in the shortest format of the game.

Third Test - Australia v India: Day 4
Anil Kumble

The leg-spinners usually have more variations than the off-spinners, who usually depend on the flight and trajectory to pick up wickets. But Shane Warne had even more variations than a normal leg-spinner would, he had the leg-break, 2-3 variations of the wrong-un (the one that turns the other direction, also known as the Googly), the top-spinner and last but not the least, his greatest weapon, the slider in his repertoire.

Warne had side-spin in his deliveries. He turned the ball beyond our imaginations. Unlike Warne, Kumble didn't turn the ball that much. However, he was very accurate and his googlies were deadly and he was nearly as effective as Warne.

Both Kumble and Warne had the ability to drift the ball (the ability to move the ball sideways in air). The ball of the century from Warne to Mike Gatting, who was termed as one of the best players of spin bowling, is a fine example of drift and turn.


Left-arm wrist spin is spinning the ball towards the right-hander and away from the left-hander. This type of bowling is a rare sight in the game and there are not many bowlers who bowl this way at the international level.

Brad Hogg was the only left-arm wrist spin bowler for a long time until Kuldeep Yadav broke into the Indian Team. This art of bowling is a mystery to the batsmen and magical to the viewers. Batsmen find it hard to read the wrong-un. Both Yadav and Hogg have been huge successes in the shortest format of the game.

Big Bash League - Stars v Renegades
Big Bash League - Stars v Renegades

Leg-spin is also considered as one of the toughest arts of bowling to face. Unlike off-spinners, the leg-spinners rely on the turn of the ball. If the bowler doesn't have much spin, he takes a pounding.

Mastering the leg-spin is truly a tough art. Leg-spin of the highest quality is an absolute treat to the viewers and there is no better sight in the game than watching batsmen get bamboozled at the hands of a leg-spinner. Let's hope that wrist spinners continue to entertain us with their magic and bring glory to this beautiful game.

Modified 20 Dec 2019, 17:38 IST
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