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

    The choking problem

Martin Crowe: If they are to live up to their potential in next year's World Cup at home, New Zealand need to look within

    Impressing Viv and Greg

Five Firsts: Former Pakistan batsman Haroon Rasheed on the compliments he received, and his admiration for Gavaskar

    Still plenty of ifs for Butt

Rob Steen: Salman Butt insists players should refrain from "wrongdoing" but that shouldn't gain him back the trust of those he duped

Outside the Grace Gate

Shot Selection: You think MCC members have it easy when it comes to watching a Test at Lord's? Think again

The weary middle age of cricket

Dave Hawksworth: On the field the action is youthful and thrilling, but off it, there's soul-crushing self-interest, with each board trying to outdo the other in incompetence

News | Features Last 7 days

UAE all set to host lavish welcoming party

The controversy surrounding the IPL has done little to deter fans in UAE from flocking the stadiums, as they gear up to watch the Indian stars in action for the first time since 2006

Attention on Yuvraj, Gambhir in IPL 2014

ESPNcricinfo picks five players for whom this IPL is of bigger significance

India: cricket's Brazil

It's difficult to beat a huge talent base exposed to good facilities, and possessed of a long history of competing as a nation

Fifty for the pantheon

What if you had to narrow all of cricket greatness down to 50 names?

'I love to take batsmen on'

Wahab Riaz, the Pakistan left-arm quick, on the pain of missing out on a ten-for, and his love for numbers and batting

News | Features Last 7 days