Afghan phenomenon Rashid Khan reveals his tricks of the leg-spin trade, and offers coaching tips for all young wrist-spinners.
Reading the conditions
Learning about conditions in different countries helps me get an idea of the right kind of delivery and length to bowl. In England, it’s quite tough to find as much spin as on subcontinent wickets, so my length is slightly shorter. A little bit back-of-a-length is good for spinners in English conditions. If you bowl it too full, anyone can play through the line and hit you for fours and sixes. Keeping it tight is the key for spinners in England.
Finding the right grip
Other bowlers hold the ball more in their hands but my grip is in the tips of my fingers. It’s a natural thing. But the reason behind it is that it gives me more pace. I can snap the ball out from the top of my fingers. The more I hold the ball back in my hand, the more it reduces my speed. It helps me bowl more on a good length and I can spin the ball as I want – more from the fingers, like a normal finger spinner, than from the wrist.
A fast-bowler’s approach
I run up to the crease quite quickly. If I don’t have a quick run-up, I won’t be able to get the ball coming out as fast. Any slower and I lose my pace and rhythm. It’s the same idea as a fast bowler: it gives you momentum through the crease with more energy on the delivery. The action and speed that I have means it’s quite tough to toss the ball up, but I can keep hitting that good length area.
The box of tricks
I bowl four or five leg-spin deliveries, each with different grips and release points. Being able to change my grip, bowling flatter at times, bowling tight to the stumps, helps me in difficult conditions. The quicker one, and the ‘wrong one’ are my favourites. The wrong one is probably my main weapon at the moment, but at the same time I’m trying to improve my leg-spin more and more, so the leg-spinner can become my most effective delivery.
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