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The Rise Of Leg Spin - How Leg-Spinners Dominate T20 Cricket
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The Rise Of Leg Spin - How Leg-Spinners Dominate T20 Cricket


There's a joke going around that the L in the IPL stands for "legspinners". Not just in the IPL, leg-spin is the most valuable currency going around in T20 cricket across the world, international or otherwise. If you're following the T20 leagues, you already know about the contribution and influence of legspinners. Numbers suggest that in T20 cricket, it isn't so much about the quality of legspinners as their basic ability to take the ball away from the batsman. In the article below, we'll uncover how leg spinners have dominated T20 cricket.

 
It wasn’t always thought that leg spinners would dominate T20 cricket, in fact T20 was supposed to be a death blow to the dying art of leg-spin. Adam Holliake who led Surrey to victory in the inaugural T20 Cup in 2003 once said, “We thought ‘spin bowlers are going to get hit out the ground’” “We
thought they’d be hopeless.” However, in the 2019 IPL - Imran Tahir the South African leg spinner, was the leading wicket-taker. The year before that it was the young leg spinner - Rashid Khan that burst onto the big stage, terrorized batsmen all around the IPL.

So how did T20, the format with shorter boundaries and attacking batsmen prove to be the very place to give leg-spin, its great revival in modern cricket?


REASON 1: MORE TURN, IRRESPECTIVE OF CONDITIONS

The big difference between off-spinners & leg spinners is how they spin the ball. The majority of Off spinners use their fingers to provide revolutions to the ball, while leg spinners use their wrist. Due to this, an off spinner provides the ball with fewer revolutions and relies on the pitch to offer some assistance and the ball to grip on the surface. 

However, with the greater revolutions, it becomes easier for a wrist spinner to get some turn out of any track because of the action and body force involved in delivering the ball. 
T20 surfaces unlike the 5th day of any test match are batting friendly, and leg spinners are able to get greater purchase than off-spinners, who usually need the ball and the pitch to wear and tear.

 

REASON 2 – THE DARKEST ART WITH NO DEFENCE

Leg Spin has always been difficult to master, as it requires a lot of control and patience. That's the reason you will see a lot of leg Spinners bowling half trackers every few overs and getting hit out of the park. But when a single leg-spin ball is bowled perfectly, it's literally unplayable.  One only need to ask Mike Gatting about the delivery he faced from Shane Warne – rightfully called the ball of the century.

In Test Matches & ODIs there are three main ways of neutralizing the threat of leg-spin

  1. Padding balls outside leg stump - Due to the nature of the LBW rule, any ball pitched outside leg stump cannot be given LBW, hence you often see batsman deliberately pad such balls away

  2. The Forward defense - The batsman can get to pitch of a good ball and not allow it to turn.

  3. The Single. The other option batsmen had was relying simply on singles and waiting for the half-tracker every 2 or 3 overs. 

Due to the run-rate pressures of T-20, all 3 of these defenses can be used in very limited quantity, as runs become more valuable than wickets.  The batsmen cannot wait for the half-tracker he might get in a few overs.  As the game shifts from the bowler’s initiative to the batsmen, the greatest defense against the dark art of leg-spin fall apart. 



REASON 3 – BATSMEN PLAYING AGAINST THE SPIN

T20 is a game where there is always pressure on the batsmen to take the aerial route to increase the run-rate and post a formidable total on the board. 

Most batsmen, when they try to take the aerial route against spinners, prefer to use the power generated by the bottom hand because there's very little pace available on the ball, and so they target the long-on to midwicket region. This means that leg spinners have the ability to force the batsman to play against the spin most of the time either with their stock delivery or for left-handers with their googly. 

Playing against the spin is a trickier providing less room for error. Also, with lesser pace on the ball, it must be hit from exactly the sweet spot for it to take the ball over the fence.  



Many thought that the retirement of Shane Warne, would mark the end of the golden era of leg-spin in international cricket. As many speculated that T20 and the IPL, in particular, would contribute towards making cricket more of a batsman’s game than it was before.

We must pause and recognize that in a twist of fate one of T20’s greatest gifts to modern cricket has been
The Resurrection of the INTRICATE ART OF LEG SPIN.

These were the 3 reasons we believe for The rise of leg-spin and how it came to dominate T20 cricket.  If you feel there are others please let us know in the comments section below.  And if you liked this video, don’t forget to click follow and subscribe for more tactical analysis on our channel!


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