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!
 

doc8176

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!
Ok thanks for the help!
I have definitely improved which is good to see. Because my club goes E-B-A grades (5ths-2nds-1sts) I ended up playing probably half my games in B grade averaging 17.5 with an SR of 15 but an economy of 7 (average 80 in E grade which says alot) with best figures of 2-13 off 3 overs. Only caught and bowleds,caught at mid off/on and stumpings would probably be caused by dip and bounce off of synthetic. Got the opportunity to play on turf for the last game of the season, 1-26 off 4 overs, got the No. 5 out stumped, turned it through his gate after putting him under some pressure by stopping an easy single he was getting (playing spin the same way i do makes it easy for me to bowl to him), bounced over the wickets obviously lol, was definitely my favourite wicket of the season though, theres something very satisfying about watching the look of terror on the batsmans face when they realise they're out of their crease and they turn around but just tie themselves into a knot on the floor lol.

The issues for my economy rate i would say belong to me bowling a little too straight and too short, syntho lets them just hoick it in front of square leg, been making good progress to get my stock ball landing more around like a 6th stump line (because i can turn the ball sharply if Ive got my action all oiled and working properly) and up more to get the batsman driving.

The problem with E grade was that the batsman do not drive and probably do not know how to drive so they just endlessly hoick, so i get pulled out of the attack after 2 overs. Would explain why my average and SR in B grade is so much lower, because i get played with a straight bat, which is what I want because it gives me so many more ways to get someone out.

Also my cricket league isn't a central city league its more of a southern suburbs cricket league, like its an entirely different sub-board for cricket so we don't play city teams. Means there is usually only about 2-3 teams per club, and we found a few people that intentionally play in too low of a grade because it boosts their ego.

Oh and I'll just add, Ive increased my bowling speed, but by no means have I sacrificed flight for it, I've just made it a lot harder to sit back to. I also started playing around with changing my pace and flight to suit a batsman, particularly in the turf game at the end of the season, I got that batsman out instead of a lot of my wickets where the batsman got themselves out, I also took a lot of pace off the ball to the local slog and actually tied him up pretty well. It was actually the bloke that was driving me past mid off that increased my economy, but id rather that than getting pulled for 4.
 
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EdSpeedCricket

New Member
It sounds like you're on your way to becoming a much better bowler..! Nice one. I have to keep reminding myself that I need to bowl more to the conditions. Whether that be the pitch or the batter or even the match. This seems to be coming with experience, there's so much to learn!

My main issue at the moment seems to be a lack of confidence. I am actually a confident person, my friends would say I'm at times 'over confident'. However, this confidence seems to be shaken really easily. A couple of bad balls or a big hit from the batsman and I'm questioning EVERYTHING! Is my front arm doing the right thing, is my wrist position correct, am I aligning properly? The more I think about this, the worse everything gets. It's like my mind becomes clouded over from all these things I need to correct in order to bowl that next ball better. Once this happens I seem to lose all accuracy.

Another question I wanted to ask people is: How much does tiredness affect your bowling? I find that once I get tired my action starts to fall apart. I know it makes sense that as my muscles tire, I don't have the strength to get through the action. But it is so frustrating. I like to practise bowling for quite long periods of time and once the action starts to wither I like to try and find ways to overcome this. My idea is: that if I keep going and going then I'm going to improve my strengthening and I'll find ways to counteract this. One way i have found is that as I tire, increase my run up speed so I don't need as much strength to get through the action. This doesn't always work as my action can fall over. Another way is to do the opposite, slow down the action and concentrate on using my back foot to help push through the action.

This seems to mostly happen at nets. I like to finish nets on a positive. If I'm bowling then I NEEEEED to finish on a good delivery. I literally won't stop until this happens, then once that happens; I need to bowl 2 good deliveries then 3 etc... So after 2 hours of nets, I'm tiring but yet I need to finish on some good balls. The cycle can be hugely frustrating. Anyone else have this mental issue? Maybe I need to speak to a therapist lol!
 

EdSpeedCricket

New Member
Thought I'd pop back and give you a little update from yesterday! After reading about how many people have many mental issues when playing sport I decided to come up with a little mantra to help me when I'm feeling overwhelmed or seem to can't see the wood from the trees. This is what I came up with:

'BE CALMLY CONFIDENT - FOCUS AND FEEL FREE'

I went to nets last night with this in mind and I had an absolute BLAST! I only bowled for an hour and I bowled 3 players, 1 lbw, 1 catch off the batter and then (unfortunately) a dropped catch (off the batter)! I then batted really well, looking to play shots and it was really really fun...

Part of this has come from analysing professional bowlers actions and realising that my front arm needs to stay up and high for as long as possible before releasing the ball. I also noticed that I wasn't planting my back foot parallel and therefore misaligning and not using the contact to push onto the front foot. This little improvements have really helped my increase my confidence.

If you want to see the videos I have been watching then here they are:
They are linked to the point in the video I have been studying:

> Ajaz Patel
> Akshar Patel
> Ashton Agar
> Washington Sundar
> Kane Williamson
https://youtu.be/U6rhTUzoXIE?t=13 > Nathan Lyon
https://youtu.be/xCrrj3Z57kE?t=23 > Graeme Swann
https://youtu.be/rNQ0FOoYAb4?t=70 > Ravindra Jadeja

Hope that is of some use to someone!
P.S: I'm left handed so it helps to also watch other left handers. Gets real annoying trying to replicate things from right handers!
P.SS: The art of spin bowling with Muralitharan - YouTube > This is a real great watch, loads of actions and advice in one little video! Wish there were more of these...
 
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