The off spinner is a right-handed bowler who spins the ball from the off-side to the leg-side when facing a right-handed batsman (the opposite of a leg spinner). It is generally thought to be easier to play because flight is not much of a factor, there are fewer deliveries to consider, and less spin is applied to the ball. However, contradicting that sweeping statement is Muttiah Muralitharan, one of the greatest spinners of all-time and one of the most successful bowlers of all-time.
The off spinner’s arsenal is composed of the following deliveries:
- Off break – Much like the leg break necessarily breaks away from the leg-side, so the off break in turn breaks away from the off-side. It is the stock delivery of the off spinner and requires serious ingenuity to be more than a containing delivery, as the ball tends to go into the body of the right-handed batsman. The off break is delivered with the seam running across under all the fingers meaning, upon release, they apply considerable clockwise spin. Upon hitting the pitch it will then deviate into leg stump.
- Doosra – Otherwise known as ‘the other one’, the doosra is the off spinner’s answer to the leg spinner’s googly. It has been extremely effective in making off spin a more potent art by adding some variety, with the ball moving from the leg-side to the off-side against a right-handed batsman. It is delivered with the same action as the off-break but with the wrist flexed in such a way that the back of the hand faces the batsman. This wrist movement has caused major controversy, with Muttiah Muralitharan and India’s Harbhajan Singh both accused of ‘throwing’. Curiously though, its inventor, Pakistan’s Saqlain Mushtaq, has never had this accusation levelled at him.
- Arm ball – The off spinner’s slider, the arm ball moves straight on after pitching in the direction of the arm (hence the name). Alternatively, if the ball is swinging and the seam is upright, some out-swing may be seen. The arm ball is achieved by releasing the ball while rolling the fingers down the side. It is an essential surprise delivery for the off spinner, with New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori a particularly user.