Inspired by a posting that was made elsewhere I thought it time to go back to basics. It amazes me that there are still people out there to whom phrases like 'finger-spin', 'didn't pick the googly' and 'pitched outside leg' mean nothing. That some of these people live in Test cricket playing nations is nothing short of scandalous.
So. Spin bowling.
Hold your hand (either one will do) palm up in front of you. You can rotate your wrist (I hope) in two directions, clockwise and anticlockwise. If you were to throw a ping pong ball at a table, while rapidly rotating your wrist, you would impact spin on the ball, and when it hit the table, it would deviate from straight. (This is no idle experiment - Bosie invented the googly while doing this exact thing, but more on this in Part IV). If you were to rotate your wrist in the opposite direction while releasing the ball, if would spin in the opposite direction (in theory). Given that you can twist your wrist either clockwise or anticlockwise, and that you can bowl, in theory, with either your left or right hand, I hope you can believe me when I say that there are 4 different ways of bowling 'spin'.
(I ask for Iverson and Mendis to excuse me. I'm not going to get into the Carom ball)
Sadly, I'm not going to teach you how to bowl. If you want to do that you really need to consult someone who can actually play cricket. All I can promise is that by the end of this little series of articles you will understand the differences between off-spin, slow-left arm, leg-spin and chinaman, hopefully illustrated by videos of some all time greats, and the King of Spain.
Tomorrow (ish). Part II - Off-spin!