First Test – Pakistan v Australia: And how do you play spin bowling?

It’s only the fourth day but so much of what I’ve been saying all winter has been on display in Dubai and in the Barbie Cup one-dayers.


When I was a kid, when front pad, bat and head were always in line to watch for real spin we were told to get to the pitch of the ball so that it can’t turn. Then, when you frustrate the bowler and he pitches short you go back and punish him. Where has all of that gone?


Now you have Clarke, Bailey and Langer making stupid statements about wickets and Asian cricketers being brought up on slow spinning wickets. Talk about masking your inadequacies.


Ian Chappell says that he and his mates mastered the art of playing spin at age eight. He says that Dougie Walters was the greatest player of English off spin he’s seen and Neil Harvey would play spin two or three metres out of his crease and he never got stumped in Test cricket.


In this Test match our three and four got 10 runs in four bats and our two spinners took 6 for 440 and half of those wickets were blokes slogging at the end of an innings.


Richie Benaud says that if the right hand bowler’s front arm is not high and pointing to fine leg at the point of delivery when bowling to a right hander then he should give up. For the leftie transfer the direction of the high front arm to first slip. That applies to all bowlers. There is not a bowler in Australia from first grade to test cricket who does that. For the spin bowler that gives you accentuated spin, loop and drift and for the faster bowler that gives you real swing which was last demonstrated by Terry Alderman, Bruce Reid and maybe Damien Fleming.


The Barbie Cup has been a month of sub-standard cricket played by a heap of Neville Nobodies. What a damp squib start to what is being promoted as a stellar season. And now, that cricket guru, Pat Howard wants to add a team of junior Nevilles to the competition.




  1. Three phrases:

    1. Clear the front leg.
    2. Hit through the line.
    3. Collapse on slow pitches.

  2. A very underwhelming start to the series. With two of our specialist batsmen, Clarke and Doolan, managing 10 runs in four innings, our front line spinner Nathan Lyon managing only two wckets in the match, and Mitch Marsh having a quiet debut in the all rounders role, we clearly have some problems playing in the sub continent . Lucky it’s a two test series.


  3. You didn’t muck around Lou.

  4. Don’t bother calling for the replay on that one.

    But G Swann made the stop order look foolish on tailored-dusty Pommy decks.
    (P Hughes, U Khawaja, etc)
    A couple of series on fast decks v England and S Africa and we’ve not been exposed to the slow majesty of death-by-bewilderment for a while.
    M Clarke has been a crack player of spin in the past.
    Though not many of the others.
    Can it be learned rapidly?
    D Lehmann could handle the spinners and he’s a fine teacher. Here’s his chance.

  5. Test cricket on dusty turners is played in the mind before it is played with the hands and feet. Years of playing short form ‘sloget’ and flat roads in Shield ‘cricket’ have dulled the senses and concreted the feet.
    Playing spinners from the crease in these conditions is a delayed suicide promissory note.
    The last great era of Australians playing spin that I can remember was 68/69 when we beat an India of Bedi, Prasanna and Venkat 3-1 on their own soil. KD Walters and IM Chappel sublime.
    Then on to South Africa to have the Richards belted out of us.
    Thanks Lou.

  6. So what changes for the second test? Maxwell for Marsh, Faulkner/Starc for Lyon ?
    Do we retain Doolan at 3? Take away the openers the batting was feeble, with the bowling not much better. We can only improve .

    With, or despite, the proliferation of spinners in the 20/20 format, there has not been the comenensurate improvement in how Australian batsmen handle this form of bowling. Maybe it’s a bad analogy to draw, 20/20 V the 5 day game, but most of our batsmen are now getting regular exposure to the spin bolwers of the sub-continent, who stlll manage to enthrall them when it comes to cricket at this level..



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