Thursday, 26 October 2017

The Big Leg Break

Updated 6/1/19  - 56 veiws                8/4/18 - 40 views

Note this is still under-construction

See comment (a) Below

Your stock ball leg-break will probably have a seam that is released with the seam angled approx 45 degrees to the direction of its flight. In the previous post on the Leg-Break I've written about the fact that the Leg-Break is your main delivery and the one that you need to master over and above all others. I also explain in other posts that it has sub-variations... more side-spin or more over-spin (Top-Spin). The Big Leg-Break is one of the sub-variations facilitated by the angling of the wrist and or the lowering of the arm in some instances. These changes enable you to release the ball so that it is bowled with the angle of the seam at 90 degrees to the flight direction. 

Some of the stuff I'm going to write below is fairly contentious and there will be lots of people that completely disagree with what I write. One of the things I'll point out at this point is that, Warne's career ended right at the point where camera technology was about to move forward to enable the use HD high speed cameras. As a result, there's very little footage that is readily available that we're able to analyse with any confidence. This means that any arguments that arise relating to the use of the Big-Leg-Break and its attributes are a moot point. 

I’d never heard of the Big Leg Break being described as something different to your bog standard Leg Break until I read Peter Philpotts book. I thought a Leg Break was a Leg Break and when it turned big it was either - you putting more effort into it or you getting lucky and the ball turning out of some rough! I didn’t realize that there was a technique to it, but there most definitely is and if you haven’t read the book the art of wrist spin bowling you may find this contentious or simply physically impossible. The characteristics of the biggun are all pretty much as you’d expect of the Leg Break, but it just turns more – a lot more! This comes about through the application of Philpotts round the loop theory whereby the position of the wrist dictates the direction of the spin and therefore the direction of the deviation from the expected line of delivery.

The top spinner with it’s over-spin - spins forward because the wrist flicks forwards with the thumb leading the way. The batsman sees the hand with the thumb at the front and the side of the hand visible. Hold your hand out in front of your with your thumb facing your nose that’s the aspect that he sees. Now turn your hand 45 degrees anti clockwise between the Top-Spinner position to one where your thumb is pointing to your right and the face of the hand is facing you. This is the leg break position and any variation between those 45 degrees potentially offers you varying degrees of sideways deviation off the line of flight because of the sideway rotation. Needless to say the palm facing you with a big flick would mean that the ball would come down the wicket to you as the batsman with seam rotating sideway and only the smooth side of the ball visible, so once it hits the track it’s only going to go one way – sideways.

Therefore, In order that the ball turns even more radically off the wicket, you apply the round the loop theory. From the Leg Break position of the back of the hand facing you...

(A) Now turn your hand further still anti-clockwise so that side of the hand with little finger (The karate chop side) is facing away from you, as in the image above. Note for some people (dependent on your wrist dexterity) this may be enough to release the ball with back-spin producing the exceptionally rare Orthodox back-spinner  so if this happens, you should work with this and make this one of your deliveries! Most of us though, will find that this enables us to release the ball with far more side-spin and we can see that with some work the 90 degree spinning leg-break is possible. Image (B) below is an approximation of how you'd see the ball from your perspective e.g. on release the back of your hand would be facing mid-wicket.

Another way of visualising the position of the hand/wrist at the point of release is if you think of yourself throwing a javelin or spear.

Image (B)
When you're trying to learn this - try and go further round than you need to - try and execute the Orthodox back-spinner as that's the way that I figured it out and gradually was able to get my wrist into a position to release the ball with the seam rotation at 90 degree.

See the video here where I demo how to flick the ball inwards as described by Peter Philpott in the book "The art of wrist-spin bowling". Needless to say, as a part of the release you need to flick the ball as hard as possible in order to spin it as much as you can.

In the book Philpott alludes to this early on, suggesting that as well as spinning/flicking the ball from your right hand to left hand with the seam sideways to you, also hold the ball at arms length with the seam straight on to you and spin it back in towards your body.
As we have already discussed, spinning it from right-hand to left-hand. The other is to hold the it out in front of your body and spin it back towards your chest. I'll come back to that later. (The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling - Peter Philpott 2006 -page 22),

So right from the start he’s suggesting that you learn the back spin technique as well as the conventional side to side technique when you're just standing around learning how to flick the ball and get the rotation going with the use of the wrist.

It’s this that produces the Big Leg Break. The ball lands and has diagonal backspin towards the off-side. The forward motion is suddenly interrupted by the contact with the surface in the same way that the Flipper is but the diagonal nature of the seam angle means that the forward energy is combined with the diagonal backward forces and the result is the big turning Leg Break.

I think I’ve said before that lots of people do have the ability to pick up a cricket ball and simply using common sense and agility can bowl leg break balls using all sorts of variations of the 2 up 2 down grip and sometimes other more unorthodox grips. When I first discussed this technique (Big Legbreak) on website forums it was met with derision by some people and I personally couldn’t do it across 22 yards always instead producing a Googly/Wrong Un ( Googly syndrome ). But I did have an hour once practicing with a mate throwing the ball back and forth and I got it and was able just for that hour to produce massive turning Leg Breaks. Other people on the forum that tried it have developed it and now report that their little leg Break is now a big Leg Break simply by using Philpotts back-spinning into the body technique.

If you try this standing up at arms length and bowl it over short distances it’s relatively easy to replicate with the big flick and back-spin and you’ll see how the forward motion is interrupted on impact and the ball spins away to the left (Off-side) massively as a result of the seams position and the back-spin. If you have any doubts with regards the validity of this as a technique I can only point you in the direction of Peter Philpotts book The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling.

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