Spin bowling is one of the most fascinating aspects of cricket, promoting subtlety and character in its purveyors. There are many varieties of the art and an understanding of the technicalities can only benefit the beginner or more seasoned cricket player.
How To Bowl An Off Spinner
An off spinner turns the ball from the off to the leg side of a right-handed batsman. The spin is generated by the index and first fingers and the more revolutions the bowler can get on the ball the more effective the delivery.
The middle joints of the index and middle fingers should be spread across the seam with the ball resting against the third finger. On delivery turn the wrist and index finger to generate spin on the ball, the result will see the ball turning in a clockwise direction.
How To Bowl A Leg Spinner
Leg spinning is a difficult craft to master but bowled successfully will bring great reward. A leg spinner turns the ball from the leg to the off side of a right-handed batsman. It is often referred to as wrist spin as the wrist, opposed to the fingers, generate the revolutions on the ball and therefore the turn.
The top joints of the index and middle fingers should be spread across the seam with the ball resting between thumb and third finger. On release straighten the fingers with the third finger doing the majority of the work. Flick the wrist so that the palm finishes facing downward. The ball will turn in an anti-clockwise direction.
How to Bowl A Googly
The googly is the leg spinner’s secret weapon but takes time and effort to perfect. It appears to the batsman as a normal leg spinner but turns the other way, from off to leg, like an off break.
The ball should be held as for a standard leg spinner but on release the palm of the hand should be open and facing upward with the back of the hand facing the batsman. The wrist should be180 degrees to the ground with the seam of the ball pointing toward fine leg. As with the leg break, the third finger should impart most of the spin, with the resulting delivery turning the ball anti-clockwise.
How To Bowl A Top Spinner
A top spinner provides extra bounce, often surprising the batsman. Again, the ball should be held as for a standard leg spinner but this time the wrist should be 90 degrees to the ground with the seam facing the batsman. On release, the ball should be spinning in an anti-clockwise direction. Extra bounce will result as the seam hits the pitch.
How To Bowl A Flipper
The flipper is another variation open to the leg spinner and again will take time to master. Rather than spin away from the batsman as with the normal leg spinner, or into the bat as with the googly, the flipper skids low and fast on pitching.
The ball is held in the standard way but the significant difference with the flipper is that the thumb does most of the work. The ball is squeezed between the thumb and fingers so that the ball under-spins on pitching. A good way to visualise the delivery method is to imagine clicking the fingers on release.
How To Bowl Off And Leg Spin
Learning to bowl spin is a matter of understanding theory which can be implemented though hard work and patience. A spin bowler needs to practice consistently to achieve a good playing standard and understanding the basics of spin bowling is an integral part of that process.
How To Swing And Seam A Cricket Ball
Learning how to swing and seam a cricket ball will add variety and incision to a bowler’s armory. While weather, pitch, ball conditions and bowler action can influence swing and seam there are certain basic techniques which need to be learned.
Gripping the Ball
Learning the basic grip will get the wrist behind the ball, an advantage for any type of bowler. With the seam vertical, the ball should rest on the third finger and thumb with the middle and index finger placed either side of the seam. To obtain the greatest chance of movement the seam should land as straight as possible on the pitch.
Bowling an Inswinger
The inswinger moves the ball in the air from the off to the leg side. This ball increases the chance of the batsman being bowled or LBW. The later the ball swings the more effective the delivery will be with grip on the seam and direction of the ball vital. The seam should be vertical but angled towards leg slip with the first two fingers close together and thumb underneath. The shiny side of the ball should be furthest from the batsman.
Bowling an Outswinger
The outswinger swings the ball in the air from the leg to the off side. This delivery moves the ball away from the outside edge of the bat and increases the chance of the batsman being caught behind the wicket. The grip of the ball is the same as for the inswinger but for this delivery the seam should be angled toward the slips with the shiny side of the ball nearest the batsman.
Bowling Reverse Swing
Reverse swing comes into play as the ball wears and is the result of air moving at different speeds on either side of the ball. After a few overs with the new ball the bowler decides which side of the ball to shine and which to let roughen as the innings progresses. Air prefers rough surfaces and will therefore initially travel faster around the rough surface, consequently moving left or right in flight depending on how the ball is held.
However, when the ball gets very old the air changes its preference. Once the rough side has greatly deteriorated the now roughened shiny side is preferred. Therefore, without changing the seam position, the ball begins to swing the opposite way. It has begun to reverse swing.
Bowling an Off Cutter
An off cutter is basically a fast off break, moving the ball off the pitch from off to leg. The fingers will cause the ball to rotate with the result that it can also prove an excellent slower delivery. The seam should be vertical with the index finger placed along the seam and middle finger about two centimetres away. The thumb should be underneath the ball on the seam. The ball should rest against the third finger.
On release, the index and middle finger work down the side of the ball so that the thumb passes over the top of the ball. This will generate spin and consequently produce an off cutter.
Bowling a Leg Cutter
A leg cutter is a speedy leg break, moving the ball off the pitch from leg to off. On delivery the seam should again be vertical with the middle finger placed on the seam and index finger about two centimetres away. The ball should rest between thumb and third finger.
As the ball is released, the middle and index finger work down the side so that the thumb passes over the top of ball, generating spin and producing a leg cutter.
How to Swing and Seam a Cricket Ball
Swinging and seaming a cricket ball requires practice and game awareness. Aptitude and application are prerequisites but, as with all sporting skills, time spent understanding and implementing theory will be amply rewarded in competitive situations.