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The ICC T20 World Cup, which is being held in Sri Lanka until October 7, is turning out to be a spinner’s paradise. For a bowler of Saeed Ajmal’s calibre, the dry, cracking pitches are a place where he can cement his claim to being the world’s greatest bowler.

For those not familiar with the weapons in a spinner’s arsenal, here is a brief look at some of their most used deliveries.

The Off Spin
The most popular spin delivery in modern cricket, an off spin moves into a right handed batsman, turning from the off side (the direction which the batsman faces) to the leg side (the direction which the batsman’s back faces).
How to: The index and middle fingers should be well spread across the seam (the stitches on the ball), while the ball rests against the third finger and thumb. Turning the wrist and the index finger clockwise will generate the spin on the ball. The more the ball revolves, the better the ball turns.

The Doosra
One of the toughest deliveries to master, its use once prompted a confounding report in Australia which concluded that Caucasian bowlers could not bowl the doosra whereas players from the subcontinent could! The delivery gets its name from the fact that compared to a typical off spin, the doosra moves ‘the other way’.
How to: The ball is delivered with the same grip and spins like in an off spin delivery except for one difference: just before release, the palm is turned upwards so that the ball rolls off the hand backwards. It might seem easy, but it’s almost like bowling upside down.

The Teesra
Saeed Ajmal’s third weapon isn’t all that different from the doosra, but it has been used to devastating effect, even helping Pakistan hand England a 3-0 whitewash in a recent test series.
How to: Bowled similarly to the the doosra, the teesra sets itself apart in bounce and pace. Dip the shoulders further and the ball will hang low; flick the wrists harder just before release and the ball will race towards the batsman.

– Shayan Shakeel

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 30, 2012.