MasterClass – Playing Left Arm Bowling

The most successful batsmen have efficient techniques against all angles and types of bowler.

Lesser players struggle against left arm over pace bowling, especially the ones who swing the ball back in to the batter. This problem is apparent with all ages and standards of cricketers.

Why is this?
It all comes down to how you practice.

Players develop their technique against right arm over bowling, throw drowns and the bowling machine from the same angle. Too often we neglect the left arm over angle.

Yet practicing this angle can identify flaws in technique that are not so obvious when facing the right arm over angle.

Better players make batting look easier by practicing in more detail.

Common faults

Practicing will help you remove some of the common faults that make it difficult to play the left arm pace bowler who swings the ball back into the right hander:

Not opening your stance: From an orthodox stance you are partially blocked off before you even begin to play a shot. This is where it all begins the process of tipping to the offside, being blocked off and playing around the front pad like in this picture:

Keeping your backswing too straight: This means the bat has to swing like a golf swing to get at the ball and therefore the batter plays across the line and ends up too chest on. At the point of contact you will be to side on and therefore blocked off and in a poor position to access the ball:

Front and/or back foot lands too sideways: This makes the batter blocked off once again because the hips are too sideways thus limiting your reach and balance.

Too much bottom hand in the drives: Causing hitting across the line.

Too big a stride: Limits the batters ability to let the ball come and adjust as the ball swings in.

Trying to make contact with the ball level with the front foot: Minimises the amount the player can get his head forward and inhibits leaning in to the shoot.

Hitting the on drive by the side of the foot: Causes poor balance and alignment and the result is tipping to the off side

Hitting straight and on drives with the front foot across the line of the back foot: This causes poor alignment and poor balance.

Putting the front foot outside the line of leg stump when playing the on drive: This results in tipping to the off side and trying to play the ball to square on the offside.

If you can’t play the on drive well you will struggle against left arm over bowlers so go away and work on that shot from the left arm over angle of feed.

In particular, technical points to look for are:

1. Open stance

  • Align yourself up to the angle that the ball is arriving:

2. Wider backlift

  • Pick the bat up over off stump or 1st slip area, rather than over middle stump.

3. Stepping out to drive

  • Lean towards the ball with head more rather than shoulder. Take a shorter stride on middle and leg stump line.

4. Foot position

  • Point front foot and most importantly back foot up the wicket when driving straight and through mid on. The back foot must turn in before he makes contact with the ball and his heel should be off the ground.

I believe the on drive is the most important cricket shot to play well, if you can play this shot you have the ability to score all around the wicket and a wide v area, you are also less vulnerable against the swinging, seaming and turning delivery.

You will be much more balanced and aligned and therefore more difficult to get out.