Left-arm unorthodox spin

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Bowling techniques
Medium pace
Other Full toss
Usual Overarm
Illegal techniques
Trajectory of a left-arm unorthodox spin delivery

Left-arm unorthodox spin, also known as slow left arm chinaman, is a type of left arm wrist off 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; however, the ball will usually turn more sharply due to the spin being imparted predominantly by the wrist.

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.

In cricketing parlance, the word "chinaman" is used to describe the stock delivery of a left-arm "unorthodox" spin bowler (though some reserve it for the googly delivery [1]). The origin of the term is uncertain. One version relates to a Test match played between England and the West Indies at Old Trafford in 1933. Ellis "Puss" Achong, a player of Chinese origin, was a left-arm orthodox spinner, playing for the West Indies. He 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!",[2] leading to the popularity of the term in England, and subsequently, in the rest of the world. However, it has been suggested that the term originated earlier than this, in Yorkshire.[3]

Among noted players who have bowled the chinaman is Denis Compton, who specialised in the delivery when bowling. Although better known for fast bowling and orthodox slow left arm, Garfield Sobers could also use the chinaman to good effect. In cricket's modern era, Brad Hogg is a natural spinner of the ball who popularized the chinaman delivery and has one of the most well-disguised wrong-un's. He was a member of Australia's victorious 2003 and 2007 Cricket World Cup teams, picking up 13 wickets in 2003 and 21 wickets in 2007. Kuldeep Yadav is an Indian chinaman bowler from India who made a successful debut in the fourth Test against Australia in Dharamshala on 25 March 2017, picking up four wickets in the first innings. He is has also taken a hat trick in One-Day international cricket. Paul Adams was a noted South African chinaman bowler who played 45 Test matches between 1995-2004.


  • Cricket and Race by Jack Williams ISBN 1-85973-309-3
  • Wisden, 1968 and 1987 editions

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