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

    Trott's torment

Mark Nicholas: Cricket - batting specifically - defines Jonathan Trott, which makes his continued suffering all the more painful

    'Commentators must stop stating the obvious'

Bowl at Boycs: Geoff Boycott on hyped-up TV coverage, and the appointment of Peter Moores

    All change in Pakistan's domestic structure. Again

Osman Samiuddin: A recent proposal to shake up the first-class set-up reinforces that change is the only constant in Pakistan

    The cricket tragic who bowled Bradman

Former Australian PM Bob Hawke loved cricket. And he once left the Don speechless with the force of his political convictions

A man with two first names

Paul Ford: New Zealand's selectors have taken a punt on 27-year-old offspinner Mark Craig, highlighting the anaemic state of spin bowling in the land

News | Features Last 7 days

Crunch time for Sehwag and Gambhir

The former Indian openers haven't been shining lately, but the IPL presents an opportunity for them to show their class

England's Pietersen folly

They were making good progress in building a world-class side, but not getting rid of Kevin Pietersen after the texting saga in 2012 cost them greatly

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it

'Sri Lankan fans embrace the team, not just icon players'

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara go over their World T20 win, and feel grateful to have fans whose support remains unwavering in victory and defeat

The captain's blunder

Plays of the day from the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi

News | Features Last 7 days