Types of spin bowling in cricket

Written by henry francis
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Types of spin bowling in cricket
A man grips a ball by his side, seam upright. (Getty Images)

In cricket there is a large variety in the types of spin bowling deliveries in the repertoire of a spinner. Fundamentally, a spin bowler is either a leg or an off spinner (also known as finger spin.) Spin bowlers bowl at much lesser speeds than pace bowlers, and tend to average between 50 and 60 miles per hour (80 to 100 km per hour). Whereas pacemen look to induce errors through accuracy and intimidation, spin bowlers attempt to deceive the batsman with accuracy and guile.

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Off spin: Off break

The off break delivery is the most common of off spin deliveries. The aim for the bowler is to roll his fingers over the ball as he releases it in a bid to get the ball to bounce from the off to the leg side (to the right, as the bowler views it.) The bowler holds the ball so that the seam is upright but perpendicular to the pitch and causes the spin with his fingers.

A left handed bowler who bowls off spin is known as a left hand orthodox bowler. The ball will spin in the opposite direction to a right handed off spinner, moving from leg into the off.

Off spin: Arm ball (slider)

The arm ball (or the slider) is where the bowlers grip on the ball and run up are exactly the same as the off break, but the bowler does not enact spin on the ball in a bid to get the ball to pitch and bounce straight on. The theory is that the batsman will be deceived by the fact that the ball has not spun, so has not deviated off a straight line, and will get caught out by the ball going straight through.

Off spin: The doosra

The doosra is something of a 21st century creation. Pakistani spinner Saqlain Mushtaq established the delivery, where the grip is the same as the off break but the ball comes from the back of the hand and spins in the opposite direction to the off break, moving from leg to off. The disguising of the ball with the same grip as an off break, as well as the ball coming from the back of the hand, makes a well-delivered doosra a fiendishly difficult ball to predict and defend against.

Leg spin: Leg break

Much like the off break, the leg break is the leg spinner's stock delivery. The main difference is that, while leg spinners do use their fingers to spin, the key to successful leg spin is the wrist movement. This is why leg spinners are known as wrist spinners.

When players first try to leg spin the ball, this is the natural delivery that they will come across, with the ball bouncing from leg to off, away from the bat of the right-handed batsman. The ball is delivered simply by rolling the fingers across the ball and rotating the wrist around the ball, anticlockwise.

Leg spin: Googly

The googly is very similar to the stock leg break delivery, but, like the off spinner's doosra, the ball comes from the back of the hand. Again, like the doosra, the reversal of the hand means the ball spins in the opposite direction to the leg break, moving from off into the leg.

Leg spin: Top spinner

The top spinner is halfway between the leg break and the googly. The thumb is on the release-side of the ball, but the rest of the hand remains as with the leg break. Instead of spinning from side to side, the ball spins straight onwards. The top spin imparted on the ball sometimes means the ball will bounce higher than the batsman expects.

Leg spin: Flipper

The flipper is designed to skid on to the batsman rather than pitching and bouncing. This is achieved when the bowler squeezes the ball out between his thumb and forefinger rather than a rolling wrist. This imparts back spin on the ball, which is why the ball skids rather than bounces.

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