Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Spin versus turn - Annoyingly misused terms in spin bowling number 2

It maddens me when commentators say 'spin' when they mean 'turn'.

They sometimes say things like: 'Panesar isn't spinning the ball today' Or 'Vettori isn't getting any spin from this pitch'.

They mean turn, not spin. Obviously the bowlers are *spinning* the ball, because the slow motion replay shows the ball spinning.

Well - not always, because sometimes spinners bowl vertical seam delivery such as an 'arm ball' where the ball spins backwards (instead of side to side); or a fast delivery where it may or may not spin slowly, but not enough to make it turn.

But the spinning ball doesn't always turn off the pitch - it may fail to grip the surface, for all kinds of reasons (the ball may not land on the seam, the seam may be too worn, the pitch may not allwo grip etc).

Let's get it straight: spin is what the ball does in the air; turn is what it (sometimes) does after bouncing.