The chinaman

Leggie in the mirror

Ellis Achong invented it; we've got the lowdown on it

ESPNcricinfo staff

Text size: A | A



That "bloody Chinaman": Ellis Achong © Empics
Enlarge

What is it?
A mirror image of a right-armer's legbreak, a chinaman is a ball from a left-armer that is bowled over the wrist and turns the opposite way to orthodox left-arm spin. In other words, it spins in to the right-hand batsman and away from the left-hander - from left to right on a TV screen.

What is the term's origin?
Charlie "Buck" Llewellyn, a South African allrounder who played circa the end of the 19th century, laid claim to inventing the delivery. But the term is more traditionally believed to have originated with the former West Indian spinner Ellis "Puss" Achong. In the 1933 Old Trafford Test, Achong, a left-arm orthodox spinner and the first Test cricketer of Chinese ancestry, bowled an unexpected wrist-spin delivery that turned from off to leg, and had the English batsman Walter Robins stumped. Legend has it that Robins, as he walked back to the pavilion, remarked, "Fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman."

Who are the famous practitioners of the art?
Chuck Fleetwood-Smith, Garry Sobers, and more recently, Paul Adams, Michael Bevan, Brad Hogg, and Dave Mohammed are among the better known ones.

What variations does a chinaman bowler have?
A googly, just like a legspinner. Only in this case the googly leaves the right-hander and comes into a left-hander.

Why are Chinaman bowlers so rare?
It is difficult to control left-arm wrist spin (as also traditional legspin). And by and large the ball coming in to a right-hander is considered less dangerous than the one leaving him.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
ESPNcricinfo staffClose

    Big-hearted, broad-shouldered Davo

Alan Davidson was a fine allrounder, who has spent his life serving Australian sport in various capacities. By Ashley Mallett

    Dubai-Dhabi-Doo

Rob Steen: Who knew the Middle East would one day become the centre of a cricket-lover's universe?

    Dhawan's bouncer problem

Aakash Chopra: Why the Indian opener would be well advised to shelve the hook and pull in Australia

    The last cricket bookseller

The home of Australia's first, and possibly last, full-time dealer of his kind is a treasure trove of cricket literature amassed over 45 years. By Russell Jackson

England's problem with attacking batsmanship

Jon Hotten: It has taken the country ages to get over its obsession with defensive batting

News | Features Last 7 days

Pakistan should not welcome Amir back

The serene team culture cultivated by Misbah and his men shouldn't be allowed to be disrupted by a player with a tainted past

November games need November prices

An early start to the international season, coupled with costly tickets, have kept the Australian public away from the cricket

A two-decade long dream

In 2011, MS Dhoni helped end a 28-year wait for India and gifted Sachin Tendulkar something he had craved throughout his career - to be called a World Cup champion

The wow and the sheesh

Coloured clothes, black sightscreens, two white balls: the game of cricket looked so different in 1992. But writing about it now seems more fun than watching it then

The inherent dangers of batting

The sickening blow that struck Phillip Hughes is a reminder of the ever-present dangers associated with facing fast bowlers, even while wearing a helmet

News | Features Last 7 days