Off Spinning Guide

Alec Armstrong

New Member
It is always a pleasure to discuss spin bowling. I might veer off at a tangent at some points here.

1) There are a few different ways of releasing the ball with the fingers, I do not really use my fingers to generate spin, they just transfer the torque I generate from supinating my arm (not sure if you are familiar with the terminology, basically supinating is rotating outwards like a finger spinner, pronating is rotating inwards like a wrist spinner).

Almost all spin is initially generated from the position and rotation of the arm in the action. I am aware of some deliveries such as a carrom ball that a finger flicked, but in general I think the fingers transfer the spin, rather than generate it themselves. The movement of the wrist - flexion or extension - also acts as a torque magnifier. Bowlers like Warne and Murali extended their wrist to generate their prodigious turn, but many bowlers do not use their wrist at all.

2) My only solution was to practice ensuring a clean "release" with the fingers, in which all the torque is transfered down the front or the side of the ball rather than down the back. We all know what it feels like when the ball doesn't quite come out right because the wrong bit of finger has brushed on it. I tend to grip the ball with my index finger slightly bent so that the tip is pressed against the seam to ensure that this is always the last thing to touch the ball as I let go of it.
Secondly, focus on really trying to reach round the front of the ball and bowl with as much topspin as possible.

3) If you think of a raised arm with the palm facing the batsman as the "neutral position", you can then rotate it in either direction so the back of the hand is facing the batsman.

My opinion is that for the majority of people, it is biomechanically harder to bowl a delivery with a fully supinated arm (ie back of the hand facing the batsman like Murali) than it is for a fully pronated arm (back of the hand facing the batsman like Warne). This is purely to do with the movement in the shoulders etc.

3) Leading on from this, we can discuss offspinners and legspinners actions as points on a continuum where the two extremes with significantly advanced or retarded hip rotation compared to completion of the bowling action. A neutral action (eg Swann) is about in the middle, where the hips rotate in time with the bowling arm coming over. An "extreme" offspinner's action such as Ajmal's see the hips rotate ahead of the bowling arm, this allows a greater deal of supination at the point of release. An extreme legspinner's action looks a bit like bowling off the wrong foot and allows extra pronation. This is quite common amongst bowlers who specialised in googlies. Mushtaq Ahmed was an example of this.

To copy an extreme offbreak action, simply delay your bowling arm coming over a little later until the hips have rotated that little bit more than usual and try to extend your wrist towards the batsman with your palm facing back towards your face. Look how Murali has rotated his hips right round so his chest is facing midwicket - and he hasn't even released the ball yet.

Hi SLA – thank you for the advice – it was nice to get comments from someone who has already spent time working out what is required to get more top-spin on the finger-spin delivery.

Today I tried carrying out your advice in order to bowl deliveries with more top-spin. I managed quite quickly to achieve a more-regular 45 degree delivery and once managed a 5 degree delivery (near pure top-spin)! The key to what you described is bringing the bowling arm over later than usual.

I used the following five steps:
(1) front-arm goes up as normal.
(2) Back hip drives through (get up and over the front foot).
(3) Then the bowling arm goes over (with high arm action).

From doing these first 3 steps I found that the top half of my body swung around finishing a much more open-chested position than normal before releasing the ball.

(4.) Turn the wrist turned around as far as possible (in order to get top-spin). If I try the alternative Mulari style release the ball sometimes gets “chucked” out.

(5.) Bowl with the intention of putting the ball in the air. (Imaginary curtain/net to bowl over in the middle of the pitch!)

I will keep working on this and find out what works best!
 

SLA

Well-Known Member
Hi SLA – thank you for the advice – it was nice to get comments from someone who has already spent time working out what is required to get more top-spin on the finger-spin delivery.

Today I tried carrying out your advice in order to bowl deliveries with more top-spin. I managed quite quickly to achieve a more-regular 45 degree delivery and once managed a 5 degree delivery (near pure top-spin)! The key to what you described is bringing the bowling arm over later than usual.

I used the following five steps:
(1) front-arm goes up as normal.
(2) Back hip drives through (get up and over the front foot).
(3) Then the bowling arm goes over (with high arm action).

From doing these first 3 steps I found that the top half of my body swung around finishing a much more open-chested position than normal before releasing the ball.

(4.) Turn the wrist turned around as far as possible (in order to get top-spin). If I try the alternative Mulari style release the ball sometimes gets “chucked” out.

(5.) Bowl with the intention of putting the ball in the air. (Imaginary curtain/net to bowl over in the middle of the pitch!)

I will keep working on this and find out what works best!


Great Stuff! I hope it works out well, please let us know how it goes and what you discover!

On another note Alec, you are a fellow left arm spinner, probably the only other SLA on here! There are plenty of threads here that I would be interested to hear your view on: things like what fields you use, what tactics you try, and how you cope with left hand batters, so it would be great if you could contribute to some of those discussions.

Its a bit quiet at the moment (probably everyone is on holiday), but it does quite often pick up and good discussions get going.
 

Alec Armstrong

New Member
Can anyone explain to me any successful methods for bowling a finger-spinner's undercutter? At the moment I try to do this by having the wrist held back (so palm of hand faces upwards) when the ball is balled. However, I clearly do not achieve anything like a "Flying Saucer" position, although the ball perhaps comes out a little "backwards" from the normal position as I tend to see the ball drifting a little bit more than usual.

Thank you for any comments!
 

SLA

Well-Known Member
I can't really bowl an undercutter that well either. Have you tried lowering your arm angle a little bit? That normally helps.
 

doc8176

New Member
Ok so, Ive just played my 2nd game ever of cricket (E Grade :) ). Bowled my offies and went for 55 runs from 6 overs at 0 wickets.
The thing is i don't even feel like i bowled that bad.
Im 6'2" (1.88m) and i have a very tall action (i release the ball somewhere around 2.88m in the air possibly more), and i also play on synthetic, I ALSO get good revs on the ball which includes probably more overspin than sidespin BUT this helps me turn the ball on synthetic because it grips better and I can get my fingers around the ball better when i go up the back and over the top.
I do get considerable turn and i think i bowl fairly slowly.
The problem I have is the bounce I'm getting on the synthetic is a curse, i have bowled it numerous times on a length and it has bounced up to the batsman's helmet. This results in me getting pulled and cut anything short of a half volley and i cant bowl those cos then i just get hit back over my head. And to add to that if i beat the edge, which i did a bit, its not gonna hit the stumps because its bounced like 2-3 metres off the ground. I have like a 10cm gap that i need to land the ball so that it doesn't get smacked.
I have a good arm ball, topspinner and basically just a fairly well disguised leg break that turns a fair bit.
Ive tried bowling with a rounder arm and that just loses any turn and dip that I have which I consider my main assets as an offie.
Do I need to speed it up a bit? I feel like it might bounce less and also give the batsman less time to get on the back foot.
I don't really lose any spin when i bowl faster and it drifts more. I think my problem is my hard-on for tossing the ball up and really looping it because its hard for me to tell how well I'm flighting it.
Just asking for any advice as I am fairly frustrated with my bowling.
 
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EdSpeedCricket

New Member
55 runs from 6 overs at 0 wickets... I'm assuming Grade E is like 5ths? I play at a similar level. What I've found in the area in which I play, most clubs struggle to make 4 or 5 teams; so we play a lot of 3rds teams, which generally mean they have a couple to few good players. Also at this level, we find a lot of teams 'save' their best bowlers or batters for the middle part of the game. I think this is due to most teams having set opening batters and bowlers, so when a 2nds or other player fills in then they then don't automatically get to open. I guess what I'm saying is, you can't really judge your performance by just thinking 'oh its this level so I should get a load of wickets'. I wouldn't be too hard on your bowling stats...

The issue of the batsman playing off the backfoot is something I've been working and thinking a lot about. I use to get frustrated when the batter would simply wait for the ball, play off the backfoot and then cut it once the ball bounces up and has shown if its spinning. My thinking at that time was 'I'm suppose to make the batter come forward, yet they are just waiting for the ball; how am I going to get him forward!'.

Then I started thinking about when I am batting, I move my crease position depending on what the bowler is bowling. I move depending on whether I'm attacking or defending. So if I move around the crease when I'm batting, shouldn't my length also change when I'm bowling? To keep bowling the same ball over and over with no change in results, is basically adhering to the dictionary definition of insanity! Now, I know us spinniners are suppose to be 'a bit odd' but come on!!

Now, I'm starting to realise that pushing the batter back into his crease is actually a good thing. Yeah they may get a 4 or a couple of runs by playing a back foot cut, but you can also tackle that with your field positions. As a leftie, I'll always make sure I have an eager fielder at point and backwards point.

Once you've got the batter comfortable just residing in their crease on the backfoot I feel like the advantage is now back in my court. If they are expecting an easy shot off the backfoot then I fire in a quicker arm ball. If they are going to sit in their crease then they really are restricting their options. There's only one direction they can now go in. Once the batter realises they are now pinned down in their crease and restricting their ability to get runs they are naturally going to want to come forward. Now you can bring your length back to encourage them to come forward. The batter knows you can spin it but also fire it in so they are now uncertain about what's coming next and you've turned a negative situation into a positive one!
 
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