As you know, cricket has many different types of bowling, from pace to spin. But have you ever heard of Chinaman Bowling?
India’s spinner, Kuldeep Yadav, is one of the rare Chinaman bowlers the cricketing world has seen grace the field.
But what does Chinaman bowling mean? And how did the term emerge?
In this article, let’s unravel the details of Chinaman bowling in cricket.
Well, Chinaman bowling is a left-arm bowler delivering a wrist spin or unorthodox spin. And such left-arm wrist spinners or left-arm unorthodox bowlers are known as Chinaman bowlers. This bowling type is exactly opposite to that of a right-arm leg spinner’s leg-break delivery.
So, what’s the difference between a left-arm orthodox spinner and a Chinaman bowler?
You see, a left-arm orthodox spinner turns the ball away from the right-hand batter. In the case of a Chinaman bowling, the bowler turns the ball towards the batter. So, a Chinaman bowler’s delivery spins from off side to leg side, leaving the batter confused.
However, with time, Chinaman bowing can become predictable, and batters can start exploiting the bowlers. To add an element of surprise, Chinaman bowlers can possess a googly that turns away from the right-hand batter. This variation can make Chinaman bowlers more potent at bamboozling the batters.
The Origin Story of Chinaman Bowling
The fascinating story dates back to 1933. Cricket saw its first Chinese-origin Test player, Ellis “Puss” Achong, take the field for the West Indies.
The West Indies were taking on England in a Test match at Old Trafford when an unexpected thing happened. English batter Walter Robins was left confused when Achong’s wrist spin delivery turned from off stump line to leg stump line. Robins couldn’t read the ball well and, as a result, was stumped by the wicketkeeper.
After being completely clueless about that delivery, Robins remarked to the umpire, “Fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman,” while going back to the dugout.
And that’s how, my friend, the term Chinaman came into existence, giving a special name to the rare breed of bowlers.
Famous Chinaman Bowlers in Cricket
Kuldeep Yadav is one of the rare modern-day Chinaman bowlers who has left an indelible mark on the sport. His left-arm wrist spin has caught many batters off guard, leaving them completely stunned.
Apart from Kuldeep, Paul Adams from South Africa was also a prominent Chinaman bowler. His weird bowling action surprised many players, and he enjoyed a successful bowling stint for the Proteas, bagging 134 Test wickets and 29 ODI wickets.
Another bowler who had a scintillating career as a Chinaman is Australia’s Brad Hogg. He bamboozled batters with his rare bowling style, earning him a name on the international stage as well as in T20 franchise leagues.