Thursday, October 09, 2008

Paul Adams not a 'Chinaman' - Statsguru is wrong!

The South African spinner Paul Adams has recently retired, and has been widely - and wrongly - described as a 'Chinaman' bowler: including teh career summary by the usually definitive Statsguru on the cricinfo.com web pages:

http://content-www.cricinfo.com/statsguru/content/player/43919.html

In fact Adams was a left arm Googly bowler - who gripped his stock delivery between index finger and thumb.

A Chinaman bowler is a left-arm wrist spinner whose stock delivery is an off-break - turning towards the right handed batter. In other words a Chinaman bowler is the left arm mirror image of a right arm leg-break wrist spinner like Shane Warne.

But there is no doubt that Adams stock delivery turned away from the right handed batter. In other words Adams was a left arm Googly bowler.

Adams was famous for his strange action, in which he did not swing his bowling arm through, but instead ducked his head (and closed his eyes), and stopped the swing of his arm after delivering the ball.

http://s47.photobucket.com/albums/f169/wildkiwi21/?action=view¤t=ADAMS_Paul_20030815_GH_R.jpg

Adams peculiar action probably derived from the fact that he gripped the ball between index finger and thumb:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/cricket/2978953.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39265000/jpg/_39265115_paul_adams_247.jpg

The spin was imparted by very sharp wrist rotation, with the ball delivered from the back of the hand. But the degree of shoulder rotation needed to point index finger and thumb back in the opposite direction from the batter is probably what prevented Adams from swinging his arm through in the usual fashion, and led to his strange contortions.

A taller man could, in principle, have bowled Googlies in a conventional but very round armed style even with this index finger-thumb grip, but Adams was so short in stature that I guess he needed to use an upright arm in order to get a reasonable amount of bounce.

So, Adams stock delivery was a sharply-spun googly - and his main variation was top-spun, straight on kind of delivery.

However, I did see him bowl the occasional Chinaman delivery, using a conventional grip of holding the ball in his first three fingers. So this was a surprise variation for Adams - however, his grip and action for bowling the Chinaman were a bit easy to pick - although (if I recall correctly) Adams tried to compensate by covering the ball with his right hand (to conceal his grip) during the run up.

Anyway, Adams should certainly be classified as a left arm Googly bowler and not a Chinaman bowler. Statsguru needs revising!

P.S.: Statsguru misclassifies another wrist spinner - the great Anil Kumble - as 'Legbreak googly' when of course he is actually a right arm 'Googly legbreak' bowler: the Googly is his stock delivery and the legbreak is his main variation. What does Statsguru have against the Googly?

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