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Types of Spin Bowling | What are the Different Techniques Applied in Spin Bowling?

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Cricket is a sport that involves a battle between the bowling team and the batting team, each trying to outdo and restrict the other. While the batsmen try to pile up runs by trying to hit the ball out of the park every opportunity they get, the bowlers try to get them out or restrict the flow of runs and this is where the spinners play a pivotal role. Spin is a type of bowling technique employed in cricket in which the ball is delivered rather at a slow pace, but with revolution/rotation, thereby giving it the ability to deviate from its course upon pitching upon the ground. The bowlers delivering these types of balls are called spinners.

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Spin Bowling- Purpose

Image Source- Rediff

The main purpose behind spin bowling is to deceive the batsman. The balls are rapidly rotated with the help of the fingers, or the wrist and they deviate from their original path when they bounce on the pitch. The placement of the pitching of the ball is also very essential as a well-placed spinning ball can easily go through the defense of the batsman or trick him and get him out. Spinners deliver the bowl at a rather slow pace, as it is the revolutions of the ball matter more than the speed of the ball. Spin deliveries usually lie in the range of 70-90 kmph (45-55mph). What’s more interesting is that spinners also often incorporate several variations into their spin bowling, thereby giving them an extra edge over the batsman.

Types of Spin Bowling in Cricket

SPin types
image source-Research Gate

There are majorly four types of spinners in cricket, namely

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  • Right-arm off-break spinner

  • Right-arm leg-break spinner

  • Left-arm orthodox spinner

  • Left-arm Chinaman spinner

Right-arm off-break Spinner

off spin
image source-Wikihow

As the name suggests, the bowler uses the right arm to bowl these deliveries. He uses his fingers to rotate the ball so that on impact, it goes into the body of the batsman, in the case of a right-handed batsman (whereas in the case of the left-handed batsman, the ball will go away from his body upon pitching). They are also referred to as Right arm off spinners’ or ‘Right arm finger spinners.

Off-break bowling does not require the use of the wrist, as the bowler will use his fingers, primarily his index finger or a combination of his index finger and middle fingers to generate spin. The fingers will be rolled towards the right side, resulting in a clockwise direction spin.

Some notable off-break bowlers are Muttiah Muralitharan, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Harbhajan Singh.

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Right-arm leg Spinner (or a wrist spinner)

Leg break
image source-Indian Express

These are the spinners who make use of their wrist to rotate the ball. Therefore, a right-arm leg break bowler will use the wrist of his right hand to spin the ball. For them, the ball turns from right to left. Hence, for a right-handed batsman, the ball will spin away from him, whereas, for a left-handed batsman, the ball will come towards his body upon pitching.

Leg break bowlers are often quite successful in deceiving the batsman because they can cover the ball with their wrist during the run-up. As a result, the batsman fails to pick the variations that the spinner delivers. Leg break bowlers become especially dangerous on old pitches that have worn out and dry surfaces. The bowler tries to pitch the ball in the rough areas on the pitch, which provide extra spin.

Some masters of the art of leg-spin are Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, Abdul Qadir, and Shahid Afridi.

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Left-arm orthodox Spinner

left arm orthoxox

A left-arm orthodox spinner is essentially a left-handed off-break bowler. Just like the off-break bowler, he too makes use of his fingers to rotate the ball. Their deliveries turn from the right to the left, as a result of which the ball would leave the right-handed batsman, whereas it would come towards the left-handed batsman.

Like the traditional off-break bowlers, they are generally quick and usually do not have a lot of variations, hence they make use of their pace and spin to get the batsman out. Ravindra Jadeja, Rangana Herath, Daniel Vettori, and Shakib-Al-Hasan are some of the most popular left-arm orthodox spinners.

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Left-Arm Leg Spinner (or a Chinaman bowler)

image souce- Quora

Left-handed leg break bowlers, or Chinaman, are the rarest form of bowler in the game of cricket. Not many teams have had the privilege of boasting of having a chinaman in their playing eleven. Like a traditional leg spinner, he too uses his wrist to spin the ball. The ball turns away from the left-hander while it comes towards the right-handed batsman.

They also usually bowl in the range of 70-95 kmph. Brad Hogg and Kuldeep Yadav are some of the chinaman to have played the game.


As mentioned earlier, the spinners have in their arsenal a lot of variations that they employ to deceive the batsman and claim his wicket. Let us go through these variations:

Leg-spin Variations

  •  Googly: It is one of the most popular variations of a leg-spinner. A Googly comes towards the right-handers after pitching and goes away from the left-hander.
  •   Top spinner: It is a delivery that produces more dip and bounce and spins towards the batter.
  •   Slider: It is a delivery that is bowled with a scrambled seam and turns away from the batter.
  •   Flipper: It is a delivery that is squeezed into the fingers to produce backspin. The ball keeps low and is generally difficult to play.

Off-spin Variations

  •   Doosra: Very much similar to googly, it is a delivery that turns away from the right-handers and turns into the left-handers with more bounce and dip. However, the doosra is largely obsolete and is no longer in use by the bowlers. Made popular by India’s Harbhajan Singh.
  •   Carrom Ball: A Carrom ball is one of the toughest deliveries to be bowled by an off-spinner. It is gripped between the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger. It is released in a way similar to a flick of the disc on the carrom board. A carrom ball can go straight, spin towards the leg, or offside depending upon the grip.
  •   Arm-ball: It is a delivery that tends to generally turn away from the stock delivery with less spin and bounce.
  •   Under Cutter: It is a delivery that is bowled with the palm facing the sky. It produces more drift but less spin and is rarely used by the bowler.

Read More | Top 10 greatest Indian spinners of all-time

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