Carl Crowe: “Bad” Balls in T20 are Planned

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Carl Crowe: Mastering T20 Spin Bowling


Carl Crowe, a renowned figure in T20 spin-bowling coaching, has been influential for over a decade. He currently works with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and has experience in leagues like the Big Bash, T20 Blast, and Global T20 Canada. Crowe shares insights into the nuances and challenges of T20 spin bowling, KKR’s triumphant IPL 2024 season, and his unconventional practice methods.

The Effectiveness of Spin Bowling in T20 Cricket

Pace and Scoring Areas

The initial perception was that T20 cricket would mark the end of spin bowling due to the expectation of high run rates. However, spin bowlers have proven to be highly effective. The slower pace of spin reduces the scoring area to about two-thirds, forcing batsmen to generate their own power. This makes scoring against spin more challenging.

Mystery Spinners

Mystery spinners, who can turn the ball both ways, have been particularly successful. If a batter cannot predict the direction of the spin, they must react rather than prepare, giving the bowler a significant advantage. This unpredictability is a key factor in the effectiveness of spin bowlers.

Spinners in the PowerPlay

Akeal Hosein’s Strategy

Using spinners during the PowerPlay can be highly effective. Akeal Hosein, a left-arm spinner, exemplifies this strategy. His ability to consistently bowl a superb stock ball and an effective arm ball keeps batsmen guessing. This uncertainty, combined with only two fielders outside the circle, creates a high-risk scenario for batsmen.

Mindset and Skill

The success of spinners in the PowerPlay also depends on their mindset and skill. Bowlers willing to take on challenging situations and maintain a fearless attitude, like English left-arm spinner Tom Hartley, are more likely to succeed. Despite the potential for getting hit, a prepared and confident mindset is crucial.

The Overuse of Match-Ups

Skill Over Match-Ups

While match-ups are a common strategy in T20 cricket, Crowe believes they are often overemphasized. Skillful bowlers, like Afghanistan off-spinner Mohammad Nabi or India’s Ravindra Jadeja, can be effective against any batter in any condition. Ground dimensions and specific match conditions should also be considered, but the focus should be on maximizing the bowler’s strengths.

The Concept of Well-Constructed Bad Balls

Ashwin’s Theory

Ravichandran Ashwin’s idea of “six well-constructed bad balls” is intriguing. Crowe supports this concept, terming it “anti-skill.” Practicing certain bad balls for different situations can be highly effective. For example, a short, wide ball in a high-pressure situation is difficult to hit for six, potentially yielding lower scores and getting the batter off strike.

Varun Chakravarthy’s Evolution

Pathway to Success

Varun Chakravarthy’s journey is unique. Unlike traditional pathways, he faced numerous setbacks, which built his resilience. His work ethic and skill level have led to significant improvement. Despite early challenges, his resilience and the support from team leaders like Shreyas Iyer and Gautam Gambhir helped him succeed.

Preparation and Execution

Detailed preparation and planning are crucial for success. Varun’s continuous improvement and clear strategies against specific batters highlight the importance of meticulous preparation. His ability to adapt and execute these plans effectively was key to his success during the IPL.

Adapting to Conditions and Challenges

Cross-Breeze and Ground Dimensions

Adapting to conditions, such as cross-breeze or different ground dimensions, is essential for spinners. Top players like Sunil Narine focus on leveraging conditions to their advantage, adjusting their strategies to induce catches or minimize boundaries.

Sunil Narine’s Continuous Evolution

Dedication and Innovation

Sunil Narine’s success stems from his relentless dedication and continuous innovation. Despite being one of the best spinners in T20 cricket, he constantly refines his skills and develops new variations. This drive to improve keeps him a step ahead of the opposition.

Preparation and Adaptability

Every player prepares differently. Narine’s focus is on honing his skills and staying updated on the game. His familiarity with opponents from playing in various leagues helps him anticipate challenges. However, adaptability is crucial, as game conditions can vary significantly.

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Mental Toughness and Resilience

Handling Pressure

Mental toughness and resilience are vital for success in T20 cricket. The best players maintain a consistent process, avoiding extreme highs and lows. They find ways to deliver despite challenges, setting them apart from others. This mindset is essential for overcoming tough situations and achieving consistent performance.


Carl Crowe’s insights into T20 spin bowling highlight the importance of skill, preparation, adaptability, and mental toughness. His innovative methods and focus on continuous improvement have significantly impacted the success of spinners in T20 cricket.(cricket betting app)