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the perfect offspin delivery

By Peter Such

When setting out to bowl off spin the first thing any bowler needs to consider is the outcome, what are you trying to achieve. In my mind the desired outcome was always the perfect off spin delivery.

What does the perfect off spin delivery look like? For me it has to do several things, drift away from the right handed batsman, drop in the air and spin back to hit the top of the off stump. This is not going to happen every time, but if you set out with this goal in mind you will have a far greater chance of success.

Having outlined the goal thought then needs to go into producing a consistently repeating action, one that maximises spin on the ball and gives the control required for success.

Never loose sight of the fact that you are a spin bowler not a slow bowler. You are trying to spin the ball; it just happens that your pace is slower than most other bowler’s. As a spin bowler, it is an insult to be referred to as a slow bowler.

Spinning the ball hard

My first piece of advice to any spin bowler is to spin the ball as hard as possible at all times. By spinning the ball as hard as possible, it achieves the following results

Causes the ball to bite and spin off the pitch.

Gets the ball to drop in the air almost like top spin if you get your fingers over the top of the ball

Gets the ball to drift away in its flight path if you come round the side of the ball.

If you do not try to spin it hard then you will not be completing your action properly.

Striving for a quick loop

Two words are often used to describe the balls trajectory after it has left the bowlers hand, one is flight and the other is loop.

Flight is about tossing the ball up in the air and letting gravity take over.

Loop on the other hand helps to create the illusion of the ball pitching on a shorter length than it actually does.

Loop is achieved by getting the fingers over the top of the ball to impart a degree of top or over spin, which makes the ball dip, rather like a top spin shot in tennis. The ball must go up above the batsman’s eye line and then drop or dip in flight; this is the essence of loop.

‘How it arrives is just as important as where it lands.’

This is something that stuck with me throughout my career. The meaning behind it is that if the ball arrives spinning, dipping or drifting then it will be more dangerous to play and will make the poorer delivery more difficult to put away.

Bowling an attacking line

As an off spin bowler it is vitally important that you bowl an attacking line outside the right-hander’s off stump. How far outside the off stump is dependent on how much spin is in the pitch. As we said earlier, the perfect off break should hit the top of off stump. The value of an attacking line is that it maximises the number of ways you can get a batsman out, encourages batsmen to play outside the line of their head and against the spin. Good players like to play the ball under their eyes.

One of the keys to bowling this consistently good attacking line is foot alignment at the crease. If you are looking to bowl the ball 1 foot to 18 inches outside the line of off stump then your feet at the bowling end ought to be the same distance to the side of the stumps. Remember bowling is all about straight lines. Place your feet at the bowling end on the same line that you intend to bowl at the other end.

Mindset and summary

When in a game situation it is vital that you don’t loose sight of your role. As a bowler it is two fold, to take and wickets and restrict the flow of runs, (a batsman has the opposite role i.e. to score runs and occupy the crease). Because of this you must bowl to stay on by either taking wickets or restricting the flow of runs, this is particularly relevant at the start of your bowling spell. Remember, if you don’t bowl you don’t get wickets, if you don’t get wickets you don’t stay in the side.

In summary I would say to spin bowlers ‘remember what you are, a spin bowler, not a slow bowler, strive to spin the ball hard at all times, this will achieve the results of spin of the pitch and loop and drift in the air as outlined earlier. You must bowl an attacking line outside the right-hander’s off stump and to help with this think about your foot alignment at the crease.’

The goal is to bowl the perfect off spin delivery every time.

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