03.08.2020,14:08 4959 0

How to Spin a Ball in Cricket

How to spin a ball in cricket


Cricket is a sport where the competition is between the bat and ball in terms of runs and wickets. Spin bowling is a form of bowling where the ball is bowled with rapid revolutions so that the ball deviates after pitching making it difficult for batsmen to hit the ball. Spin bowling is a delicate art where there is a lot of science involved. Spin bowling can be divided into two variables as before pitching and after pitching. The ball can be controlled by the bowlers before pitching but the ball`s action after pitching depends on the no. of revolutions, angle of spin, pitch conditions, etc. Spin bowlers often deliver the ball at lower speed ranges of 70-90kmph.

Spin bowling mainly finds its place in the sub-continental conditions in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh due to the dry nature of the wickets. Spin bowlers normally bowl with the old ball because the softer ball will be easy to grip. Without the introduction T20 cricket, spinners have mastered the challenge of bowling with the new ball too. Spin bowling is often divided into two categories namely wrist spin and finger spin. In this article, we can look at different techniques, classifications, variations, and bowling tips and techniques to improve your bowling.

Spin bowling Techniques

Spin bowling has been divided into four main categories.

Right-arm off-spinner

Right-handed bowlers who use their fingers to spin the ball are referred to as right-arm off-spinners. This is one of the most common types of spin bowling used in cricket. Off-spinners tend to move the ball at right-handed batsmen after pitching the delivery. Some of the famous off-spinners are Ravichandran Ashwin, Nathan Lyon, Muthuiah Muralidharan and Graeme Swann.

Right-arm leg spinner

Leg spinners are those bowlers who use their wrists to spin the ball. Leg spinners tend to move the ball away from the batsmen after pitching the delivery. Leg spinners are likely to generate more revolutions in comparison to off-spinners. Speaking of prominent leg spinners, one can mention Shane Warne, Saqlain Mustaq, Anil Kumble and Imran Tahir.

Left-arm orthodox

Left-arm orthodox bowlers bowl in a similar way to right-arm off-spinners by rotating the ball using their fingers. The traditional movement of the ball is similar to that of leg spinners as they generate rotations in the opposite direction compared to off-spinners. A few notable left-arm orthodox bowlers are Daniel Vettori, Ravindra Jadeja, Rangana Herath and Shakib Al Hasan.

Left-arm unorthodox

Left-arm unorthodox is the least common bowling type used in cricket. These bowlers bowl with their left hand and use their wrists to rotate the ball. They are also called chinaman bowlers. Some of the famous chinaman bowlers are Brad Hogg, Kuldeep Yadav and Paul Adams.

What terms are used in spin bowling?

Undoubtedly, we all have often come across different terms such as turn, dip, drift, bounce, etc. while listening to commentators during a cricket match. It seems only reasonable to find out what they actually mean and what function they serve.

  1. Turn often refers to the amount of deviation of the ball’s trajectory after pitching and is often measured in degrees by cricket analysts. The rate of turn generally depends on the number of revolutions of the ball. The more rotations the bigger the deviation.
  2. The term flight is used to describe the trajectory on which the ball is bowled by the bowler. As a rule, the ball is delivered on a higher trajectory to be flighted. The flighted deliveries tend to spin more than the flatter ones.
  3. Bounce refers to the height at which the ball bounces off the pitch. The bounce depends on the height from which the ball is pitched. We can usually see bowlers delivering the ball above the batsmen’s eye level to get more bounce.
  4. Drift refers to the sideways movement of the ball before pitching. The sideways movement often happens when the bowler does the spin at a slight sideways angle. Late drift causes the batsman to misjudge the line of the ball.
  5. Dip refers to the vertical movement of the ball before pitching. The dip usually occurs in case a topspin is performed. The ball tends to pitch at a shorter distance which causes the batsman to misjudge the length of the ball.

Spin a ball in cricket

What are the different types of balls in spin bowling?

A spinner can turn the ball and deceive the batsmen in terms of both line and length. Imagine if the batsman could predict the exact direction and amount of turn caused by the spinner and play accordingly. Spin bowlers have to implement variations on their bowling to deceive batsmen, using different kinds of deliveries.

  1. Stock delivery refers to a standard delivery bowled by the spinner. The stock delivery for the right-arm off-spinner means the ball coming at the right-handed batsmen and avoiding the right-handed batsmen for the left-arm spinner and right-arm leg spinner. The seam is usually held at 45 degrees for the stock delivery by the spinners.
  2. Doosra or Googly are balls that turn in the opposite direction to the stock delivery, deceiving the batsmen. The bowler rotates the ball in the opposite direction. Right-arm off-spin bowlers’ delivery moves away from the batsmen and this type of delivery is called doosra. When it comes to the right-arm leg spinner, the ball moves at the right-hander and is called googly.
  3. Arm ball or Slider are used to describe a delivery that does not change its direction after pitching and goes straight on. Usually, in order to bowl these types of deliveries, the seam is held upright or the scrambled seam is used. 
  4. Flipper is a ball which usually skids after pitching and keeps low. This delivery is bowled by wrist spinners implementing backspin on the ball. Right-arm off-spinners and left-arm bowlers rarely bowl this kind of delivery.
  5. Undercutter is a type of delivery in which the ball moves in the air, producing a drift but not turning after pitching. The revolutions are generated horizontally to make a drift and it is mostly off-spinners who bowl this type of delivery.
  6. Topspinner is a ball that usually tends to have more dip and bounce rather than sideways movement. The revolutions are made in the vertical axis to produce dip and the ball is flighted to get more bounce.


How to spin the ball like a professional

h a better understanding of the implemented techniques and the existing types of deliveries in spin bowling, it is high time to learn how to bowl spin effectively, making one step closer to such cricket legends as Ashwin, Murali or Warne. Here are some tips that would make a world of good to your spin bowling skills.

  1. Grip the ball. A firm grip on the ball is required in order to rotate it. Always make sure the ball is dry before bowling and don’t forget to wipe a wet one with a cloth.
  2. Strengthen your fingers and wrists. It goes without saying, the ability to bowl and rotate the ball to move it on the desired trajectory directly depends on the strength and flexibility of the fingers and wrists which can be increased by regular exercising.
  3. Use the seam. The seam of the ball should be used in different directions to make rotations horizontally, vertically and scrambled in order to make different types of deliveries.
  4. Take care of the bowling action. A good bowling action with proper hip and shoulder movement is key to getting the desired momentum. A smooth repeatable bowling action is a must for good speed and accuracy.
  5. Practice. There is nothing more useful for anyone wishing to master his or her skills than regular training. It is necessary to practice bowling at the right line and length as well as bowling different variations in order to control and deceive batsmen.

There is no shadow of a doubt, great results can be achieved by those who practice regularly and those who are dedicated to polish their spin bowling skills to perfection. If you consider yourself one of such people, then why are you still here and not training?

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