Coaching Corner 17 – Finger spin (Off-spin)

Now for spin, starting with off-spin.  The same principles apply for slow left-arm spinners (e.g. Monty Panesar)

First the grip.  See photograph

To grip the ball, spread the first and second fingers onto the seam of the ball, with most pressure on the first finger. Then bend the fingers and fold the hand down behind the ball.

The thumb takes no part in spinning the ball; spin is imparted mainly through the first finger.  The action of the wrist is similar to turning a door-knob.  The palm of the hand will finish facing upwards.


·         The action is for the basic sideways-on action.  The run-up tends to be from a slight angle to allow a slightly angled and short delivery stride but don’t put the front leg too far across towards the leg-side, otherwise you will  “block off” yourself.

·         At delivery, it is important to bowl with a braced front leg and bowl against it.  This will help you pivot on the ball of your front foot, which is vital to get a full follow-through.  The right leg should come through high and straight to allow the 180o rotation of the body.

·         It is the pivot, gripping and grinding the spikes into the ground, that increases spin.

John Embury – getting on in years but still getting plenty on the ball by bowling with a braced front leg and pivoting on the ball of the front foot.  Note the good follow-through.

·         The head should be upright and steady throughout, and you should try to spin the ball hard.

·         Aim to pitch the ball outside off-stump, so that it turns back and hits the stumps.

Common faults

·         Delivery stride too long, preventing a proper pivot and causing a loss of height in the delivery

·         Failing to follow-through.  Slow bowlers must bowl with energy and not just lob the ball.  Make sure you complete the delivery properly.

Training tip

·         You need strong fingers, so exercise them by frequently screwing a ball into the bowling hand or squashing a soft ball with the fingers