Left-arm unorthodox spin

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Trajectory of a left-arm unorthodox spin delivery Left Hand Off Spin Bowling Animation.gif
Trajectory of a left-arm unorthodox spin delivery

Left-arm unorthodox spin, also known as slow left-arm wrist-spin, is a type of spin bowling in the sport of cricket. Left-arm unorthodox spin bowlers use wrist spin to spin the ball, and make it deviate, or 'turn' from left to right after pitching. [1] The direction of turn is the same as that of a traditional right-handed off spin bowler, although the ball will usually turn more sharply due to the spin being imparted predominantly by the wrist. The delivery was sometimes historically called a chinaman.


Some left-arm unorthodox bowlers also bowl the equivalent of a googly, or 'wrong'un', which turns from right to left on the pitch. The ball turns away from the right-handed batsman, as if the bowler were an orthodox left-arm spinner.

Notable left-arm unorthodox spin bowlers

The first cricketer known to bowl the style of delivery was 19th-century South African bowler Buck Llewellyn. [1] [2] Chuck Fleetwood-Smith, an ambidextrous Australian bowler, notably used the delivery in the 1930s, including in his 10 Test matches. [1] [2] [3]

Among noted players who have bowled the delivery are Denis Compton, who originally bowled orthodox slow-left arm deliveries but developed left-arm wrist spin, taking most of his 622 first-class wickets using the delivery. [4] [5] Although better known for fast bowling and orthodox slow left-arm, Garfield Sobers could also use it to good effect. [1] In cricket's modern era, Australian Brad Hogg brought the delivery to wider notice [1] and had one of the most well-disguised wrong'uns. [6] Kuldeep Yadav, who debuted for India in March 2017, bowls left-arm wrist spin, [7] [8] and Paul Adams played 45 Test matches for South Africa between 1995 and 2004 using the delivery. [1] [8]

Historical use of the term chinaman

Historically the term "chinaman" was sometimes used to describe the delivery. The origin of the term is unclear, although it is known to have been in use in Yorkshire during the 1920s and may have been first used in reference to Roy Kilner. [lower-alpha 1] [8] [11] It is first known to have been used in print in The Guardian in 1926 in reference to the possibility of Yorkshire bowler George Macaulay bowling a googly, [lower-alpha 2] but the term became more widely used after a Test match between England and West Indies at Old Trafford in 1933. Ellis Achong, a player of Chinese origin who bowled slow left-arm orthodox spin had Walter Robins stumped off a surprise delivery that spun into the right-hander from outside the off stump. As he walked back to the pavilion, Robins reportedly said to the umpire, "fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman!", [8] [12] [13] leading to the more wide-spread use of the term. [2]

In 2017, Australian journalist Andrew Wu, who is of Chinese descent, raised concerns about the use of the term as "racially offensive", [12] in which he argued the term itself "has historically been used in a contemptuous manner to describe the Chinese". [12] Wisden formally changed their wording of the term to slow left-arm wrist-spin in the 2018 edition of the Almanack, describing chinaman as "no longer appropriate". [2] [14]


  1. Kilner bowled slow left-arm orthodox deliveries rather than wrist spin. Although it is possible that the term was first used either by Kilner or in reference to his bowling, it was not used by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack in 1924 when he was one of their five Cricketers of the Year or in his 1929 obituary. [9] [10]
  2. Macaulay was a right-arm bowler who did not bowl wrist spin deliveries.

Related Research Articles

Leg spin Type of spin bowling in cricket

Leg spin is a type of spin bowling in cricket. A leg spinner bowls right-arm with a wrist spin action. The leg spinner's normal delivery causes the ball to spin from right to left in the cricket pitch when the ball bounces. For a right-handed batsman, that is away from the leg side, and this is where it gets the name leg break, meaning it breaks away from the leg. The turn is mostly when the ball pitches.

Left-arm orthodox spin Type of spin bowling in cricket

Left-arm orthodox spin, Left-arm off spin also known as slow left-arm orthodox spin bowling, is a type of left-arm finger spin bowling in the sport of cricket. Left-arm orthodox spin is bowled by a left-arm bowler using the fingers to spin the ball from right to left of the cricket pitch.

Off spin Type of bowling in cricket

Off spin is a type of finger spin bowling in cricket. A bowler who uses this technique is called an off spinner. Off spinners are right-handed spin bowlers who use their fingers to spin the ball. Their normal delivery is an off break, which spins from left to right when the ball bounces on the pitch. For a right-handed batsman, this is from his off side to the leg side. The ball breaks away from the off side, hence the name 'off break'.

In the game of cricket, a googly refers to a type of delivery bowled by a right-arm leg spin bowler. The googly is a variation of the typical leg spin type of delivery, in that the cricket ball is presented from the bowler's hand in such a way that once the ball pitches, it deviates in the opposite direction of a leg spinning type of delivery. It has also been colloquially and affectionately referred to as the wrong'un, Bosie or Bosey, with those latter two eponyms referring to Bernard Bosanquet, the bowler who initially discovered and began using the googly.

A topspinner is a type of delivery bowled by a cricketer bowling either wrist spin or finger spin. In either case, the bowler imparts the ball with top spin by twisting it with his or her fingers prior to delivery. In both cases, the topspinner is the halfway house between the stock delivery and the wrong'un - in the wrist spinner's case his googly, and in the finger spinner's case his doosra.

Glossary of cricket terms

This is a general glossary of the terminology used in the sport of cricket. Where words in a sentence are also defined elsewhere in this article, they appear in italics. Certain aspects of cricket terminology are explained in more detail in cricket statistics and the naming of fielding positions is explained at fielding (cricket).

An arm ball is a type of delivery in cricket. It is a variation delivery bowled by an off spin bowler or slow left-arm orthodox bowler. It is the finger spin equivalent of a wrist spinner's slider or zooter.

In the sport of cricket there are two broad categories of bowlers: pace and spin. Pace bowlers rely mostly on the speed of the ball to dismiss batsmen, whereas spin bowlers rely on the rotation of the ball.

Hedley Verity English cricketer

Hedley Verity was a professional cricketer who played for Yorkshire and England between 1930 and 1939. A slow left-arm orthodox bowler, he took 1,956 wickets in first-class cricket at an average of 14.90 and 144 wickets in 40 Tests at an average of 24.37. Named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1932, he is regarded as one of the most effective slow left-arm bowlers to have played cricket. Never someone who spun the ball sharply, he achieved success through the accuracy of his bowling. On pitches which made batting difficult, particularly ones affected by rain, he could be almost impossible to bat against.

Wilfred Rhodes English cricketer

Wilfred Rhodes was an English professional cricketer who played 58 Test matches for England between 1899 and 1930. In Tests, Rhodes took 127 wickets and scored 2,325 runs, becoming the first Englishman to complete the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in Test matches. He holds the world records both for the most appearances made in first-class cricket, and for the most wickets taken (4,204). He completed the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in an English cricket season a record 16 times. Rhodes played for Yorkshire and England into his fifties, and in his final Test in 1930 was, at 52 years and 165 days, the oldest player who has appeared in a Test match.

Delivery (cricket) Single action of bowling a cricket ball

A delivery or ball in cricket is a single action of bowling a cricket ball toward the batsman. These terms can also refer to the events that occur after the ball is bowled while the ball is not dead.

Ellis Achong West Indian cricketer

Ellis Edgar Achong was a sportsman from Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies. He played cricket for the West Indies and was the first person of known Chinese descent to play in a Test match. Left-arm unorthodox spin was sometimes known as "slow left-arm chinaman" and thought to be named after Achong's bowling style.

Frederick Martin (cricketer) English cricketer

Frederick Martin, also known as Fred Martin and Nutty Martin, was an English professional cricketer who bowled left-arm medium-pace spin. Martin played first-class cricket between 1885 and 1892, primarily for Kent County Cricket Club, and appeared twice in Test matches for the England cricket team. He was considered one of the best left-arm spin bowlers in the country between 1889 and 1891.

Wrist spin Type of spin bowling in cricket

Wrist spin is a type of bowling in the sport of cricket. It refers to the cricket technique and specific hand movements associated with imparting a particular direction of spin to the cricket ball. The other spinning technique, usually used to spin the ball in the opposite direction, is finger spin. Wrist spin is bowled by releasing the ball from the back of the hand, so that it passes over the little finger. Done by a right-handed bowler, this imparts an anticlockwise rotation to the ball, as seen from the bowler's perspective; a left-handed wrist spinner rotates the ball clockwise.

Finger spin is a type of bowling in the sport of cricket. It refers to the cricket technique and specific hand movements associated with imparting a particular direction of spin to the cricket ball. The other spinning technique, generally used to spin the ball in the opposite direction, is wrist spin. Although there are exceptions, finger spinners generally turn the ball less than wrist spinners. However, because the technique is simpler and easier to master, finger spinners tend to be more accurate.

Roy Kilner English cricketer

Roy Kilner was an English professional cricketer who played nine Test matches for England between 1924 and 1926. An all-rounder, he played for Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 1911 and 1927. In all first-class matches, he scored 14,707 runs at an average of 30.01 and took 1,003 wickets at an average of 18.45. Kilner scored 1,000 runs in a season ten times and took 100 wickets in a season five times. On four occasions, he completed the double: scoring 1,000 runs and taking 100 wickets in the same season, recognised as a sign of a quality all-rounder.

Maurice Leyland English cricketer

Maurice Leyland was an English international cricketer who played 41 Test matches between 1928 and 1938. In first-class cricket, he represented Yorkshire between 1920 and 1946, scoring over 1,000 runs in 17 consecutive seasons. A left-handed middle-order batsman and occasional left-arm spinner, Leyland was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1929.

In the sport of cricket, throwing, commonly referred to as chucking, is an illegal bowling action which occurs when a bowler straightens the bowling arm when delivering the ball. The Laws of Cricket specify that only the rotation of the shoulder can be used to impart velocity to the ball – a bowler's arm must not extend during the bowling action. If the umpire deems that the ball has been thrown, they will call a no-ball which means the batsman cannot be given out from that delivery.

In cricket, a slider is a type of delivery bowled by a wrist spin bowler. While a topspinner is released with the thumb facing the batsman, a slider is bowled in a similar manner to a legbreak, but instead of imparting sidespin with the third finger, the bowler allows his fingers to roll down the back of the ball, providing a mixture of sidespin and backspin. Whereas a topspinner tends to dip more quickly and bounce higher than a normal delivery, a slider does the opposite: it carries to a fuller length and bounces less than the batsman might expect. The sliders will typically head towards the batsman with a scrambled seam. This has less effect on the flight and bounce but absence of leg spin may deceive the batsman. Frequently the slider is bowled with a mixture of side spin and backspin. This has the effect of making the ball harder to differentiate from the leg break for the batsmen without reducing the mechanical effects caused by the backspin. This delivery may skid straight on or it may turn a small amount.

John McMahon (Surrey and Somerset cricketer) Australian cricketer

John William Joseph McMahon was an Australian-born first-class cricketer who played for Surrey and Somerset County Cricket Clubs in England from 1947 to 1957.


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  2. 1 2 3 4 Rubaid Iftekhar (25 June 2020) The 'Chinaman mystery': Racism and left-arm leg-spin, The Business Standard . Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  3. Fleetwood-Smith, Leslie O'Brien, Obituaries in 1971, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack , 1972. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
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  5. Arlott J (1988) The great entertainer, Wisden Cricket Monthly, May 1988. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  6. Dorries B (20 March 2014) Aussie spinner Brad Hogg admits he didn’t know what wrong-un was early in his career, The Courier Mail . Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  7. Kuldeep Yadav, CricInfo. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Bull A (18 March 2017) Isn't it about time cricket consigned 'chinaman' to the past?, The Guardian . Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  9. Bowler of the Year: Roy Kilner, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack , 1924. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  10. Roy Kilner, Obituary, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack , 1929. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  11. Maurice Leyland, Obituary, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack , 1968. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  12. 1 2 3 Andrew Wu (26 March 2017) Australia v India Test series 2017: Does cricket really need to continue using the term 'chinaman'?, The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  13. The Original Chinaman, CricInfo, 31 August 1995. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  14. Wisden replaces Chinaman with slow left-arm wrist-spin bowlers, CricketCountry, 12 April 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2019.