variations and wrist position in bowling off spin
By Peter Such
To develop as a top quality off spin bowler it is essential to have a number of variations. The purpose of variations for the spin bowler is so that the batsman does not get used to the way that you are bowling.
Variations are also used to deceive a batsman and make him play a false stroke, which could result in taking his wicket.
If you become predictable then you become easier to play against.
Variations using the angle of the wrist
In the article coaching spin bowling , I spoke about the need to coach the wrist into the right position to deliver a consistent stock delivery. This is the delivery that you must master and be able to come back to before developing variations based on the angle of your wrist when releasing the ball.
Variations based on the angle of the wrist at release include
Undercut, this involves the wrist sliding underneath the ball so that the ball spins on an axis that keeps the seam parallel to the ground. The effect of this is that the ball will drift away from the right-handed batsman and on pitching, will either spin back towards the stumps or carry on its journey towards the off side. It is easier to bowl if the arm at release is lower. If for your stock delivery your arm is at 11 o’clock, to more effectively bowl an under cut delivery the arm needs to be at 10 o’clock.
Side spinner, this involves the spinning or index finger to pull down on the seam of the ball so that in flight the seam is upright and at 90 degrees to the direction in which it is travelling. On pitching, the ball will either grip or turn in towards the stumps of carry on along its original line.
Stock Ball, this is the basic delivery referred to in the article coaching spin bowling . The ball travels down the pitch with the seam upright, but angled slightly towards the leg side. On pitching, the ball will turn in towards the batsman’s off stump and bounce more than usual
Top Spinner, this occurs when the angle of the wrist at release means that the ball travels down the pitch in a vertical position. Consequently, it will appear to drip in flight and bounce more after pitching. Think upon it as a top spin shot in tennis
Doosra is the off spin bowlers ‘other one’, the aim is to get the ball to turn away from the right handed batsman on pitching and is achieved by getting the wrist in a position so that the ball travels down the pitch towards the target with the seam upright and angled slightly towards the off side
Creating the illusion
To the batsman this is all achieved with what appears to be an off spin action. Even if you don’t manage to consistently achieve your goal of bowling the designed variation delivery, remember that the batsman will also be confused and be unable to read your intentions. All of these variations need to be practiced and mastered before they can be used in a game situation with confidence. The best way of perfecting these variations is to practice using the sequence of wrist drills highlighted in the section Coaching The Wrist Into The Right Position At Release in the article coaching spin bowling .
Remember that you must practice until you don’t get it wrong, not until you get it right.
A trap that many bowlers can fall into is that they over use these variations to a point where they can loose the ability to effectively bowl the stock ball.
Master the basics otherwise; the whole wall will fall down under pressure.
The stock ball is the one that you have to go back to when under pressure so make sure you don’t loose this skill.