Spin bowling

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Spin bowling

Spin bowling is a bowling technique in cricket that is used primarily by slow bowlers (also spinners or spin bowlers). With the correct execution of the serve, the ball unpredictably changes its trajectory after contact with the pitch, that is, on the rebound.

The main goal of spin bowling is to force the batsman to make a mistake with the choice of position. As a result, the batsman either makes a spade or gets into an out, or at least loses the opportunity to hit a flying ball into an uncovered sector of the field.

There are four main varieties of spin bowling, each of which has certain technical features.

A kind of Spin bowling The hand on the serve Sets the rotation The direction of the serve Representatives of the style
Off-spin Right


Finger From left to right Jim Laker, Muttiah Muralitharan, Saqlain Mushtaq, Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin
Left-arm orthodox spin Left Finger From right to left Phil Tufnell, Ravindra Jadeja, Daniel Vettori, Rangana Herath, Shakib al-hAsan, Derek Underwood
Leg spin Right Wrist From right to left Abdul Qadir, Anil Kumble, Shane Warne, Mushtaq Ahmed, Shahid Afridi
Left-arm unorthodox spin Left Wrist From left to right Kuldeep Yadav, Brad Hogg, Paul Adams, Chuck Fleetwood-Smith

Depending on which kind of spin bowling the attacking player prefers, he can use either the so-called Finger spin (the direction of the ball is set by the fingers) or Wrist spin (the trajectory of the serve is determined by the wrist). His main task is to spin the ball in a horizontal plane at an angle to the pitch. The Magnus effect does not exclude the deviation of the ball from the main trajectory even before contact with the surface of the earth: this phenomenon is called drift, and in combination with the rotation of the projectile, it can complicate the task of the batsman at times.

It is noteworthy that, unlike fast bowlers who prefer to play with a new ball, spin bowlers mostly opt for worn-out shells that allow them to achieve greater accuracy on the pitch. In addition, they are more effective not at the start but at the later stages of the match, when the pitch state naturally changes, and even a well-treated area begins to crack and crumble, which allows you to increase the angle of deflection of the projectile after the rebound.

Spin bowlers perform more often in test matches than in the limited overs format. However, with the advent of T20, they began to be used more actively, especially in situations where the pitch condition and weather conditions favor slow bowling. In addition, we should not forget that spin bowling is a fail-safe weapon against batsmen who are used to opposing fast bowlers. As a rule, their tactic is to use the serve speed to organize express runs, so they have to put more effort into achieving the same results in a collision with spin bowlers.

It is worth clarifying that depending on how exactly the spin bowler spins the ball, the pitch may change its name:

  • Topspinner – the ball spins towards the batsman, after which it “dives”, making a rebound;
  • Doosra/googly – the ball spins in the opposite direction;
  • Slider – the ball is twisted in the direction of the batsman with simultaneous deflection of the seam;
  • Arm ball – the seam is positioned strictly vertically, which enhances the effect of rotation;
  • Flipper – the ball “snaps” out of the fingers with a back-spin;
  • Undercutter – the ball rotates horizontally without changing the angle (that is, it goes into drift).

In addition, there are several criteria according to which commentators and experts evaluate the skill of spin bowlers. Exactly:

  • Depending on the efforts made by the spin bowler, the ball can fly either at normal speed or “hang” in the air, which often leads to mistakes on the part of the batsman who does not have time to bounce.
  • The slower the ball, the greater the angle of its deflection after the bounce. In addition, in this case, the number of revolutions made by the projectile and its direction is also considered.
  • The higher it is, the better because it is more difficult for a player with a bat to correctly receive a ball that bounces to an uncomfortable height for him, and in the case of a Slider, a projectile can destroy the wicket even before it comes into contact with the batsman’s bat.
  • If the ball comes into contact with the pitch at an inconvenient distance for the batsman (for example, too close or, conversely, at a dangerously far distance), he can either unwittingly make a spade or leave the wicket unprotected.
  • Verified drift significantly reduces the projectile’s speed, forcing the player with the bat to be nervous and, as a result, to choose the wrong position.

This is interesting: spin bowling is more often used by players from South Asia. The first and most obvious reason is the climate: in conditions of heat and high humidity, you have to save energy, so fast bowling is less popular in India than, for example, in Australia. Secondly, local grounds are not very dense and firm and are quickly covered with cracks, making it easier for spin bowlers who skillfully use irregularities to grip the ball with the pitch better.

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Nisha Bhavani
Author: Nisha Bhavani Position: Cricket Expert
Other articles by this author: - Length - Floater - Gully All articles by this author

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