Understanding the Leg Side in Cricket

Leg side in cricket

If you watch any cricket you’ve probably heard the term ‘leg side’ thrown around a lot.

The terms ‘leg side’ and ‘off side’ refer to different parts of the cricket field, depending on the view of the batter. If you’re new to the sport, you may be a little unsure of what it means. In this article, we’ll break down the basics of the leg side in cricket and answer what leg side is in cricket.

The Basics of Leg Side in Cricket

So, what is the leg side in cricket?

Put simply, the leg side in cricket is the area to the left of a right-handed batsman when facing the bowler. For a left-handed batsman, the leg side is opposite – the area to their right when facing the bowler. As you can see, which side is leg side in cricket depends on whether somebody bats left handed or right handed.

Leg side can also refer to the type of delivery bowled by a bowler. Leg side deliveries are those that are aimed towards the leg side of the batsman, rather than the off side.

As we’ll explore later in the article, leg side deliveries can vary in type and can be deemed wides a lot more commonly when compared to

Definition and Importance of Leg Side

Understanding the leg side is crucial for both batting and bowling in cricket.

As a batter, it’s possible to utilise the leg side effectively to score runs and build partnerships with your teammates.

Players might be described as being “strong on the leg side” for instance. This all refers to certain types of shots, such as the pull shot, which is played on the leg side:

Alastair Cook was one of the strongest players when it came to playing on the leg side, flicking balls off his pads and scoring runs to the leg side more often than on the off side.

Understanding how to use the leg side effectively can be a key factor in a team’s success or failure on the pitch.

Leg Side Terminology and Fielding Positions

There are a number of positions on the field that relate specifically to the leg side. These include the Leg Slip, Short Leg, Square Leg, Long Leg, and Deep Backward Square Leg positions.

For example, the Leg Slip fielder is positioned close to the batsman on the leg side to catch any mis-hit shots or edges on the leg side, while the Deep Backward Square Leg fielder is positioned further back to cut off any shots that make it past the square leg fielder.

Leg Slip fielders are much more likely to be deployed in Test cricket and longer formats of the game, as in shorter formats deliveries down the leg side tend to be given as wides.

The video below explains the big difference between off side wide and leg side wide balls.

It’s worth noting that the position of each fielder on the leg side will change depending on the type of delivery being bowled. Teams will often set different fielding positions for spin bowlers vs. seam bowlers, and will change things up throughout the game to keep the batsman second-guessing and based around the tactics of the bowler. If they want to try to get the batter caught down the leg side, expect plenty of fielders to be deployed on the leg side to cut off the shots played to this area.

Leg Side Bowling

When bowling on the leg side, the line and length of the delivery is crucial. A ball that is too short and wide on the leg side will often be dispatched by the batsman, while a delivery that is too full can be flicked away for runs.

As a result, bowlers will often aim to bowl a full, straight delivery on the leg stump or just outside it. This makes it difficult for the batsman to score runs, as they must either play across the line and risk being bowled or LBW (leg before wicket), or play defensively and risk being bowled over time.

Bowling on the leg side needs to be so accurate due to the wide rule and the fact that inaccurate leg side bowling will almost always lead to wides being given.

Types of Leg Side Deliveries

There are a number of different types of leg side deliveries that bowlers can use to keep the batsman guessing. Fast bowling strategies include:

  • The Leg Cutter – A delivery that moves slightly away from the batsman after pitching on the leg side.
  • The In-Swinger – A delivery that moves towards the batter often after pitching on the leg side.
  • The Yorker – A delivery that lands right at the batsman’s feet, making it difficult to play.
  • The Bouncer – A delivery that is aimed at the batsman’s head or chest, designed to unsettle them and force a mistake.

Leg Spin is one of the most common techniques that includes the leg side and pitches to the bowler’s leg side. The idea is for the ball to turn inward toward the stumps after pitching.

The master of this was Shane Warne, who shares some interesting insights below:

Setting the Field for Leg Side

The position of the fielders when a bowler is bowling on the leg side is also crucial. As mentioned earlier, there are a number of specific fielding positions that are used to support the bowler when they’re bowling on the leg side.

The fielding team will often adjust the field based on the type of delivery being bowled. For example, if the bowler is aiming for a Yorker, they may place more fielders in the deep to cut off any runs.

Leg Side Batting Techniques

As a batsman, being able to use the leg side effectively can be a great way to score runs and frustrate the bowler.

Playing the Leg Glance

The leg glance is a classic leg side shot that involves guiding the ball towards the fine leg region using the bat’s face. This shot can be particularly effective against bowlers who are bowling a little too straight on the leg side.

To play the leg glance, the batsman should get their front foot towards the line of the ball and use their wrists to guide the ball towards the fine leg region.

The On-drive and Flick Shot

The on-drive and flick shots are two shots that can be played on the leg side that are both effective for scoring runs when the ball is pitched up on the leg stump or just outside it.

The on-drive involves driving the ball straight down the ground along the ground, while the flick shot involves using the wrists to guide the ball towards the mid-wicket or square leg region.

The Sweep and Reverse Sweep

The sweep and reverse sweep are two shots that have gained popularity, and are often used by batsmen to score runs when the ball is turning on the leg side. The sweep involves hitting the ball across the line towards the square leg region, while the reverse sweep involves hitting the ball towards the third-man or fine leg region using the reverse of the bat’s face.

Both of these shots require a high level of skill and can easily go wrong.

What Do People Mean By “On Side”

The Leg Side and On Side are the same thing. People commonly use the term leg side, but on side in cricket means the same thing, and is just the opposite of the “off side” as we’ve discussed.

Final Thoughts

So now you know the difference between off side and leg side in cricket.

The leg side is a key aspect of cricket that requires a high level of skill and strategy from players on both teams. Whether you’re a batsman looking to score runs or a bowler looking to take wickets and restrict scoring options, understanding the leg side is essential, and can lead to you using better tactics for the match in question.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *