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Off Spin Bowling - All you need to Know

In cricket, the evolution of bowling techniques flourished with the innovation of spin bowling. Here is the guide to understanding the art of off spin bowling and detailed description of types of spin bowling and their variations.

Last updated: 29.08.2019
Off Spin Bowling - All you need to Know | Sports Social Blog

Finger spin bowling is imparting spin using specific hand techniques. This may be also called as off-spin. With the technique being simple and easy, finger spinners are more accurate. By 1970s interest in cricket in India had risen a lot. This is when more new spinners were brought into the team. The tactical approach in off-spin bowling revolves around the strength and weakness of the batsman. When a spin bowler bowls slower delivery, he must attempt more to impart spin onto it to maintain the same rate of revolution. Finger spin is classified based on the direction the ball deviates after pitching.


The spin bowlers who use finger spin technique are of two categories. 


  • Off spinners are right-handed finger spin bowlers.

 Ravichandran Ashwin (India) is an off-spinner


  • Left-arm unorthodox spin bowlers are left-handed finger spin bowlers

Ravindra Jadeja (India) is a left-arm unorthodox spinner.




Off spin, bowlers spin the ball from offside to the leg side of a right-handed batsman. This makes the ball drift towards a right-handed batsman and turn away from a left-handed batsman. In general, off-spin is considered to be less difficult when compared to leg-spin. It is because their style of bowling do not largely possess deceptive flight. While leg spinners more often use spin as their basic weapon, off-spinners are considered to use pace to deceive the batsmen. They bowl a more accurate and faster delivery.




Off spin is often referred to as the first of a kind of mystery bowling. It was introduced by a farmer called Lamborn from Hambledon days, who is claimed to be the first mystery bowler.


Left-arm orthodox spin


This is also known as slow left-arm orthodox spin bowling. This is the act of finger spin bowling done by a left-arm bowler. From the bowler’s perspective, the ball drifts from right to left. The ball spins in the air, bounces on the pitch and turns towards the off-stump. This drift and turn are the attacking features. The major styles of delivery incorporated by a left-arm orthodox spin bowler would be a top spinner, arm ball and left-arm spinner’s version of doosra.


Deliveries and Variations in Off-Spin: 

An off-spinner without variations is not threatening as he becomes predictable. The surprise elements that makes the batsman unsure highlights off-spin bowling.




Arm ball:


It is an outswinging straight delivery. It is delivered with rolling fingers down the back of the ball on release. The ball doesn’t turn much and travels straight on in the direction of the arm. It is largely used as a surprise delivery by an off-spinner who is turning the ball considerably.




Doosra, often known as the off spinner’s default delivery deceives the batsman and leads him to play a poor or mistimed shot. In Hindi, Bengali and Urdu the term ‘doosra’ means ‘the other one’. The ball spins from the leg side to the offside to a right-handed batsman.


Top Spinner:


Top spinner is a type of delivery used by both finger and wrist spinners. The ball is released over the top of their fingers causing it to spin forward in the air towards the batsman. The off-spinner would largely try to pitch the delivery on or outside off stump expecting the batsman to play for a turn. 


Off Break:


The off-break spins in the opposite direction to a doosra. It is bowled by holding the ball in the palm with the seam of the ball running across under all the fingers. This is considered to be one of the easy deliveries by an off-spinner. It is frequently bowled with variations in the line and length.


Carrom ball:


The carrom ball is also known as the sodukku ball in various parts of India. Like a carrom player flicking the disc on a carrom board, the ball is flicked by the fingers and thus it derives its name. The carrom ball can travel straight based on the degree of the grip on the ball towards the leg side. And so, it can travel straight or turn to either leg or offsides.


Sodukku ball:


The carrom ball method was totally forgotten since the 1970s. In the Asia Cup 2008, Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka) revived this style of delivery. Following which, Ravichandran Ashwin (India) had also helped in the re-entry of this delivery. He calls his variation in this delivery the ‘sodukku ball’. In Tamil, sodukku means snapping of fingers. Ashwin recalls learning this while playing street cricket in Chennai. The name of this delivery signifies the snap of the middle finger and thumb during the release of the ball.



Other Variations:


The variations in pace aim to make the batsman play the shot a little earlier or react late. When a ball is bowled wide of the crease, it will drift and turn more due to the angle. However, if the same delivery is released from close to the stumps, it may not turn more and can travel along its original path. Thus the variations employed in the same type of delivery bring about different results.


The simple and common variations of an off-spinner is an added advantage to the usage of their different types of deliveries. A few other notable off-spinners would be Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka), Harbhajan Singh (India), Saqlain Mushtaq (Pakistan – invented doosra), Nathon Lyon (Australia) and Graeme Swann ( England). Check here the list of top 10 greatest off spinners of all time.

In Spin Bowling, the leg-spin is the action of right arm bowling with wrist spin. Here is everything that you want to know about the rare yet fascinating style of spin bowling: Leg Spin- All You Need to Know

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