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the tactics of off spin bowling in one-day cricket

By Peter Such

The main tactical considerations when bowling off spin in one-day cricket revolve around the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition batsman and the strengths and weaknesses of your own side, in particular their fielding abilities.

Know the opposition before you start:

Strengths

Weaknesses

Favoured strokes and scoring areas

Whether they like pace on the ball or not

What field placing variations are you going to have for each player? 

Work the batsman’s strengths out quickly

This can be done by looking for the following signs

Grip on the bat – strong bottom hand and closed face means they are an on side player. Open face probably means that they favour the off side

Short players tend to play square of the wicket.

Tall players like to hit down the ground

Asian players are more likely to play wristy square of the wicket strokes

Those of Caribbean origin tend to favour the on side

Much of what batters do is pre-meditated, watch their eyes, sometimes you can pre-empt what they are going to do

Manipulate the strike; as a bowler you can do this, by giving the in form dangerous player the strike and bowl at the other player if necessary

The right mindset

Know your role, be satisfied with it and do it well

Usually this role involves a ‘holding job’ in the middle of the innings probably coming on as second change after the field restrictions have been relaxed

Create pressure that could result in wickets at the other end

As a spin bowler, you are not usually a big wicket taker, but

You can have a big influence on a game by taking important wickets

Awareness of the game situation

Always be aware of the game situation and bowl accordingly

When bowling first make sure, the scoring rate does not go up while you are bowling

When bowling second make sure the run rate required goes up while you are bowling

Know the run rate equation, bowl accordingly and set your fields accordingly. Keep it simple

Play the percentages

Keep piling on the pressure so desperation creeps into the opponents’ game plan

Do not gamble unless you have to

Stick to your game plan, execute it well and you will win more times than you loose

If things do not go well be prepared to improvise and go to plan B. But only if you have to.

Fielding positions

It is vital that you assess in your own mind the role each fielder will have to perform and than decide who within your side would be best suited to occupy that position. Having the right person in a particular fielding position is just as important as having the fielder in the right place. As a guide, bear the following considerations in mind:

Off side

Backward point – saves the single & cuts off the boundary. Does not have to be a top fielder

Cover – runs on to the ball. Does not have to be a top fielder.

Extra cover – Saves the single, stops and catches the drive. Needs strong hands.

Mid off / Long off – Runs on to the ball, a catching position, needs a good throwing arm

On side

Mid on / Long on – runs on to the ball, a catching position, good throwing arm, will be very busy

Mid wicket – has to be your best fielder. Quick, agile, good catcher

Deep mid wicket – attacking position, good hands and a good throwing arm, needs to be quick

Square leg / short fine – agile and quick. Left hander at short fine, right hander at square leg

Deep square / Sweep – fastest fielder in the side with good catching hands and a good throwing arm

Wicket Keeper and Bowler

Wicket keeper is the key man; he sees everything from the business end so it is important to establish a good working relationship

You have to field well off your own bowling. Your responsibility to cut off runs that are firmly pushed down the ground
As an off spin bowler you are going to have to think on your feet. Don’t expect others to do it for you, check your field before each ball, you have ultimate responsibility for what happens.

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©2007 Peter Such. Copyright and trademark information