Off Spinner

The off-break is the ball that turns from the off-side to the leg side for the right handed batsman. There is no difference in the grip for an off-spinner and a left-arm spinner, except that they use different arms to bowl. The left arm spinner is a mirror image of the off- spinner, but we shall discuss more of that later.

To bowl the off-break, hold the seam of the ball between the index finger and the first finger with the ring finger folded at the second joint to support the ball (see picture). The thumb rests beside – and parallel to – the seam. The ball is gripped in the fingers, not the palm and there is a gap between the palm and the ball. The ball is gripped in such a way that the seam of the ball is at 45 degrees to the pitch when the ball is released.

The spin is imparted by bringing the first finger, which first moves up over the seam briskly, thus spinning the ball in the forward direction ( clock-wise) towards fine leg. The first finger comes off last from the ball and the ball is released from behind the palm. (see picture for a better understanding of this concept).

After releasing the ball the bowling arm has to go further up, which helps to add more spin to the ball. Making the ball spin in the air helps it dip in its flight at the end of the parabola ( illustration of parabola). The forward and long follow-through helps the body-weight to be put into the delivery and this adds nip off the wicket.

Some off spinners also use the thumb to assist the first finger to impart spin and some hold the ball deeper in the palm. A bowler with long fingers can hold the ball in his fingers but one with small fingers may have to hold the ball a bit deeper and it may even touch the palm. The grip may vary with the size of fingers and palm of the individual. These are individual traits, and if you succeed in what you intend to do, then don’t tamper with your grip.

Remember :

Spin bowlers (left- arm spinner and right arm spinner) are more effective having a side-on action and the ball is released across your front foot.

Bowlers with a ‘side-on’ action can have more variation and skill than the bowler with an ‘open’ action.

The bowling arm after releasing the ball, should go up and forward to impart more spin to the ball. These concepts will be better understood when we learn the bowling action.