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The Art of Chinaman Bowling

Left-arm-unorthodox spin or the chinaman bowling. Bowlers spin the ball with their wrists to turn the ball left to right after pitching

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Last updated: 12.06.2018
Chinaman bowling action: Left-arm unorthodox spin | Sports Social Blog

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Cricket is a batsman’s game. After the advent of slam-bang T20, cricket pundits around the world thought that it will be an end of the road for the poor old spinners. But they were proven wrong. Spinners are doing really well in all three formats of the game. Especially the wrist spinners are the toast of the town.


One such unique bowling art is left-arm-unorthodox spin or the chinaman bowling. Bowlers spin the ball with their wrists to turn the ball left to right after pitching. In a Test match played in 1933, between England and West Indies, Ellis Puss Achong, a player of Chinese origin playing for the Windies, had bowled the surprise delivery to get rid of the England player Walter Robins. Apparently after having got dismissed, Robins said to the umpire, “fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman”. Instantly that term got popular in England and around the world.

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It is a very difficult bowling art to emulate. It requires a great deal of practice and skill to perfect the art of chinaman bowling. The great Garfield Sobers occasionally used to bowl chinaman effectively. Chinaman bowlers are few and far between in the history of the game. Hence, modern-day batsmen often struggle to read them from the hands. The value of a left-arm unorthodox bowler is immense, it gives you variety and edge over the opposition.


Let's take a look at some of the notable chinaman bowlers :


Paul Adams: He played 45 test matches and 24 ODIs for the Proteas between 1995-2004. And took 134 and 29 wickets respectively. He was quite effective with his unique bowling action. Bowled some match unique spells for his national side. Don’t judge him with his numbers, he was the first chinaman bowler who played for his national side quite regularly.


Brad Hogg: Probably the most decorated chinaman bowler, who popularized the art of chinaman bowling globally. He was a member of 2003 and 2007 world cup winning Australian squads. He played key roles in both the tournaments. Hogg retired from International cricket in 2008. But still continues to play in big bash league. He is the oldest player to play the game of cricket currently, and the only player over 40 years of age to take 100 wickets in T20 format.


Kuldeep Yadav:



He is one of the best spinners in the world currently. A genuine match-winner, has a lethal ‘wrong'un’, that everyone struggles to pick. At a very young age, he has shown a great deal of maturity and temperament in his short career so far. Indian team is quite fortunate to have a bowler like him. Kuldeep has already picked up a hat-trick against Australia in limited overs cricket. Made his test match debut against the same opposition in 2017 and picked up four wickets.


Chinaman bowlers are a treat to watch when they are in a song. One can only hope, that more such bowlers come into the game and create their magic with their crafty skills in future.

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