I think the best explanation of why there haven't been any world-class chinamen bowlers is simply how difficult an art wrist spin is. When you look at how few world-class legspinners there have been and factor in how much of the population is right handed, it isn't altogether unsurprising that there has never been a world-class chinamen.
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They have greater chances than the right-arm chinamen.
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Left-arm wristies aren't closely analogous to right-arm offies at higher levels, mainly because they have fewer effective options to keep a bat on strike for a decent period of time which, really, is what matters against guys who can bat. Even if the bloke is getting massive turn, you know a loose one is coming soon but a bigger factor is that you get a really good look at the line of the ball with a leftie wrist-spinner bowling over the wicket. So you can look to tuck away just about anything with low risk and knowing which ones to leave is pretty obvious because the bowler has to pitch them so wide to stop this. This applies double if they bowl around the wicket. A wrong'un won't save the bowler either because the line means it's a relatively easy decision for a batsman to decide whether to milk or leave the ball.
Big turn and tricks aren't everything at higher levels and blokes who rip a ball square are a dime-a-dozen at all levels. It wasn't Murali's bag of tricks that got so many bats out, it was the fairly relentless pressure he applied because batters knew they'd be facing him all day and that he had more subtle crease and line variations available to him so you can put more guys on the off-side. Left-arm wristies never have that luxury and rarely one of an attacking off-side field so facing them is fairly simple in the end; smash the more frequent loose offerings, work them away if they do land a ball and leave the clearly wide ones.
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Couple of things are different, though; Warne faced far fewer lefties than a left-arm wristie would face righties so his record isn't that affected by the fact he was played easier by lefties. This means, to succeed, a left-arm wristie would need Warne-like consistency against right-handers which he'd be coming up against the majority of the time. All this precludes a left-arm wristie having a long career and, well, that's sorta been borne out.
Not just that, there are technical differences. Left-handed batsmen tend to be looking more for the balls outside off stump to score because they face a lot more right-handed guys bowling across them whereas right-handers try to make sure anything on middle and/or leg is always a scoring stroke and that's purely because of the frequency they get those balls on those lines. So even though, in theory, they seem similar, the frequency that a right-hander gets balls on his legs is much greater than a leftie does and a left-arm wrist-spinner's line plays right into that for right-handed bats if they err even slightly.
The nature of wrist-spin is hard, sure. The above makes it just that much harder for someone bowling it with a left arm.
Last edited by Top_Cat; 14-01-2013 at 03:54 AM.
this is pretty much what Vic_O was saying. there's no margin for error...and you know wrist spinners
you know, brad hogg didn't start bowling chinaman's until he was already a domestic cricketer. i doubt katich put too much effort into it as a junior either. maybe the trick is to start late...that goes in line with the no margin for error thing. sooner or later as a kid...
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Yeah, reckon there might be something to that. Become a useful cricketer for other things then take up spin if you feel you're up to it (Bevvo was a left-handed quick for ACT juniors, for example). Tim Zoerher took up wristies late, wasn't bad either. Wonder if Rob has footage?
Yeah Rob has plenty of vision of wristies he has administered.
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This is a question which has been debated a lot over the history of the game. The answer is not straight forward but let me attempt it :o)
1. Wrist spin, is more difficult to master that finger spin. Thus wrist spinners tend to bowl a larger number deliveries that are either over-pitched or shorter than intended. Thus finger spinners, overall, tend to give away more runs.
2. However, wrist spin also breaks more off the surface and it is possible to obtain turn on almost all surfaces. This is a plus which contributes to leg spinners, overall, having a higher strike rate than finger spinners.
3. For the right handed wrist spinner, the stock delivery moves away from the right handed batsman (and they are mostly in the majority) which is a more difficult ball to play and yields more wickets.
Thus a good right arm leg spinner, will tend to get more wickets than a right hand off spinner even if he (the leg spinner) may have a slightly higher economy rate.
Now comes the left handed wrist spinner. By the direction of the lateral movement of the stock delivery this should make him at least the equal of a right arm off spinner and the fact that he is going to, by and large, move the ball more off the wicket, he should be a better strike bowler than the right arm off spinner. It is here that the relative difficulty in controlling length for the wrist spinner becomes a factor. For the majority of the batsmen (the right handers) the in coming delivery, if pitched short or over pitched is easier to punish than if the same happened with the ball going away. This makes the chinaman bowler more likely to be punished for the lax length than the right hand leg spinner.
It is only for this reason that the chinaman bowlers have not prospered over time. Wrist spin is a tough art to master but to the right handed wrist spinner, the long hours spent in the nets to master the art are more likely to appear worth the effort. In fact many leg spinners, Warne no exception, take wickets from deliveries that err in length while the same error from the Chinaman bowler is invariably punished.
Bowlers who start with bowling chinamen, soon realise that the finger spinner is a far more profitable, cricket wise, art to master and easier too, The fact that it goes away from the right hander is a bonus for a really good left arm finger spinner is amongst the most difficult bowlers in the game to score of.
Last edited by SJS; 14-01-2013 at 07:28 AM.
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