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

'Ponting was an instinctive, aggressive player'

Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss Ricky Ponting's technique

    MacLeod spells hope for Scotland

Allrounder Calum MacLeod's return from a faulty action is key to Scotland's World Cup hopes. By Tim Wigmore

The Australian who dares to attack spin

From lead spinner and No. 8, Steven Smith has become a central figure in the batting line-up. By Brydon Coverdale

    'Gibbs used to toss the ball like a basketball'

My XI: Erapalli Prasanna on the West Indian offspinner who had a killer instinct

Cricket's humanity resists specialisation

Jon Hotten: While major sports across the world are driving their competitors towards homogenous physical ideals, cricket seems to celebrate diversity

News | Features Last 7 days

Manic one-day chases, and daddy partnerships

Also, most brothers in a Test XI, and the fastest to 20 ODI centuries

Has international cricket begun to break up?

The gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing wider, and the disenchantment is forcing a devaluation of Test cricket among weaker teams

Well worth the wait

Zulfiqar Babar missed five seasons between his first two first-class matches, and was 34 when he finally made his Test debut, but he is quickly making up for all the lost time with his artful left-arm spin

Younis Khan and the art of scoring hundreds

Out of 70 batsmen who've scored 15 or more Test hundreds only five are from Pakistan, but Younis Khan's appetite for hundreds matches that of some of the top contemporary batsmen

Australia outdone in every way

Surviving into the final session of the last day cannot disguise the fact that Australia's continued inability to play spin contributed to an all-round thrashing

News | Features Last 7 days

    Has international cricket begun to break up? (83)

    The gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing wider, and the disenchantment is forcing a devaluation of Test cricket among weaker teams

    Australia outdone in every way (51)

    Surviving into the final session of the last day cannot disguise the fact that Australia's continued inability to play spin contributed to an all-round thrashing

    Lyon low after high of 2013 (46)

    The offspinner was Australia's highest wicket-taker in 2013, but his form has dipped sharply this year

    Well worth the wait (36)

    Zulfiqar Babar missed five seasons between his first two first-class matches, and was 34 when he finally made his Test debut, but he is quickly making up for all the lost time with his artful left-arm spin

    No Ajmal, no problem for Pakistan (33)

    When a team loses its best bowler, it is expected that the team's performance will suffer. As usual, Pakistan defied the expectations