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The “laid-back” leg-break in cricket

1) The Black Mamba

all about The “laid-back” leg-break

The example above is a simple one, but a more realistic representation of how leg-spinners actually bowl would be to have the ball coming out of the hand with the axis of rotation already in the same direction as the ball is travelling. This time the seam position at the five points looks like this from side-on:

And so we then look at the seam relative to the direction of travel:

Now you’ll see that at A the ball starts with no drift, as the axis of rotation and direction of motion are the same. However, as soon as it leaves the hand its downward acceleration due to gravity starts to create an angle and so produce drift, and this time it’s all drift towards leg. By E the ball has an angle of attack of more than 43 degrees, generating nearly 2/3rds of the maximum drift. All this extra drift, and the fact that it only drifts one way, mean that assuming the spin on the ball is the same this ball lands an extra 2/3rds further to the leg side of the pitch than the example above.

Obviously there’s a limit to the sideways drift you can get before you’ve angled the ball so much that the seam won’t grip the pitch, but let me remind you – the difference in angle between these two deliveries is less than 10 degrees…

Remember – this ball will start to drift straight out of the hand, and all the more so because it’s at its fastest at this point. Now look back at that leg-break with the vertical seam – remember how it drifted to the off-side as it left the bowler’s hand, then drifted back the other way further on? Well, doesn’t that suggest that a googly bowled with a vertical seam will drift to leg to begin with, initially making it look like a laid-back leg-break? Interesting, VERY interesting…

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