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Leg Spin Bowling- All You Need to Know

Here is everything that you want to know about the rare yet fascinating style of leg spin bowling and it's variations. In Spin Bowling, the leg-spin is the action of right arm bowling with wrist spin.

Last updated: 28.08.2019
Leg Spin Bowling- All You Need to Know | Sports Social Blog

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In spin bowling, leg-spin is the action of right arm bowling with wrist spin. It is also commonly known as a leggie. The ball spins and deviates from right to left in the cricket pitch. A leggie spins the ball making it drift from the leg stump to the direction of the off stump of a right-handed batsman. 


Leg spin is often termed as wrist spin. This is because the bowlers use mostly their wrist to cause rotation and spin.



The spinning ball drifts in the air, bounces on the pitch and turns sharply. Thus, the bowler usually utilizes the variations of flight by bowling loopy delivery. The flight of the ball is its line/path through the air in between the course of the ball being released by the bowler and bouncing on the pitch. 


The leg-spin bowlers bowl more slowly than fast bowlers. However, when bowled with accuracy it is one of the most threatening types of bowling. The flight of the ball and the drift makes it is challenging for the right-handed batsmen to read the delivery. The ball tends to move away from the batsmen and so the batsmen is in a dilemma whether to go for it or not.


Left-arm bowling with wrist spin


A left-handed wrist-spinner is called as left-arm unorthodox spin or more commonly as Chinaman. He rotates the ball clockwise unlike the right-handed wrist spin bowler who imparts anticlockwise rotation to the ball. Kuldeep Yadav who plays for India is a left-arm unorthodox spin bowler.


How it all started?


In the beginning, it was thought that there could be only two ways of bowling. Fast and slow. But later on, spin bowling came into the picture. However, leg-spin was believed to disappear in the 1980s amidst the success of teams using fast bowling. Few bowlers revived the art of spin bowling saving the thrill of a beautiful game. It became popular again mostly by Shane Warne and his mind-blowing ‘Ball of the Century’ in 1993. 


What keeps them ahead in the game?



Leg spinners are comparatively less in number but they have always dominated the game.


Graeme Swann once said, “Leg-spin is by far the hardest thing to do in cricket. The skill level is above and beyond anything else. It is just too hard to be consistent."


1. The rarity of the leg-spin bowlers has played a major role in keeping them ahead in a game. There is not much exposure to skilled leg spinners in every backroom, this helps the bowlers in taking more wickets.


2. The batsmen usually move forward to cut down the spin, which may lead him to leave the crease and get stumped quite often.


3. When the ball goes past the bat, there is no line of defence. 


Ball of the Century 


The ‘Ball of the Century’ as previously mentioned is referred to as the delivery bowled by Australian spinner Shane Warne to Mike Gatting, an English batsman in 1993 Ashes series. It is also known as ‘Gatting Ball’ or ‘That Ball’. It was considerably significant in cricket history and caused the comeback of leg-spin.


Leg spin deliveries


Spin bowling is always about keeping the batsman in limbo and giving quick surprises. This is possible with a variety of tricks and deliveries bowled. For a common viewer, the terms of the deliveries are ambiguous. Here is a quick run-through of the different deliveries.


Leg Break


The delivery breaks from the leg to the offside. As explained earlier, the ball drifts in the air, bounces and turns away from the batsman. When the ball is released, the batsmen see the bowler’s palm facing towards them. The leg break widely varies among different leg spinners. While some may toss it up in the air with more spin, others bowl flatter deliveries with more accuracy.      




The googly spins are just opposite to that of a leg break. It drifts away from the offside to the leg. This is a kind of deceptive bowling. In other words, a ball bowled in a leg-spin way but goes in the off-spin direction is googly. This is considered to be one of the most effective deliveries. It could be an important wicket-taking delivery for the leggie. It is used rarely as the utility of the delivery is largely driven from its surprise value.


The other variations in the deliveries include


  1. Top spinner, in which the bowler imparts topspin in a way that it drifts forward in the air towards the batsmen. A top spinner mostly dips quickly and bounce higher. 


  1. Back spinner unlike top spinner carries to a fuller length and bounces less than a normal delivery. This can also be known as a slider. This is more often bowled using back and side spin, with the ball not spinning in the direction of the seam. This deceives the bowler to think it is a leg break.


  1. Flipper is bowled in a more similar fashion in which the top spinner is bowled, on the opposite side to a slider. In general, it could be termed a back spinner. After pitching, it skids on low and fast, unlike other deliveries. 


These deliveries are not easy to acquire and are best efficient only when executed in accordance with the situation. The pitch conditions, grip variations and the situation/stage of the game are very important. Shane Warne (Australia), Anil Kumble (India), Abdul Qadir (Pakistan), Richie Benaud (Australia) and B. S. Chandrasekhar (India) are few greats of the game to be noted when it comes to leg-spin bowling. Here's the list of Top 10 Leg Spinners of all time.


Here's all you need to know about the off spin bowling

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