1. Pick the delivery – before anything else, you must be able to spot the type of delivery that has been bowled. Mostly this will involve spotting variations in the release from the hand, whether the bowler is looking to bowl a quicker ball or one that spins in the opposite direction than expected. If you struggle to read the ball out of the bowler’s hand, sometimes a batsman can pick up on differences in a bowler’s action, such as speed of the arm or changes in the bowler’s body position at point of release.
2. Read the length early –successful players of spin will judge the length of the delivery early on, allowing them to be decisive in playing on either the front or back foot. The cardinal sin of batting against spin is to be rooted on the crease, but if you can read the flight of the ball quickly this will allow you to get to the pitch of the ball or alternatively use the full depth of your crease and play on the back foot. Quick and decisive footwork is vital to playing spin successfully.
3. Head forward – where your head goes, your body will follow; therefore the positioning of your head it critical. By leaning forward, particularly in your stance, you will be able to keep the ball on the floor and more successfully place the ball into gaps. This will also help to negate the effect of spin, as you will be able to get closer to the bounce of the ball.
4. Soft hands – more so than facing fast bowling, the hands and wrists are important for manoeuvring the ball into gaps in the field. You should look more often than not to hit the ball in the same direction as the spin, to reduce your chances of mishitting the ball. You should play with soft hands, with an especially loose grip on the bottom hand, to ensure that you don’t chip the ball in the air to a fielder. Particularly skilled batsmen use their wrists to guide the ball into open spaces.
5. Be positive – it’s crucial that a spin bowler is not allowed to settle, so you should look to be aggressive from the start. Playing spin therefore involves a having a plan of attack, and at times premeditating the shots you play. Two ploys which can be successful are advancing towards the pitch of the ball and hitting straight back down the ground, or looking to sweep. Whatever your preference, the key is to be clear and confident in your plan. It is easy to become bogged down against spin if you fail to dictate terms and having a clear method in your mind will help you disrupt the bowler’s line and length to gain the ascendancy.
PHOTO / brettm8