If You Want to Be A 'Mystery' Spinner You Have to Be From India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

If You Want to Be A 'Mystery' Spinner You Have to Be From India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka

Menno Gazendam is author of Spin Bowling Project. Get your free 8 week spin bowling course here. 

Spinners that fit into the "successful and unorthodox" or mystery spinner category are from countries who do not have much formalised coaching for juniors; India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Players like Murali are left to themselves in their junior years, untouched by sustained structured coaching, to develop their skills in combination with their weird action.

That's why England or Australia will never produce a Mendis.


The countries the best infrastructure when it comes to produce players. Thousands of clubs, players, coaches, clinics and academies all work toward producing more highly skilled players.

There is one drawback though. Formalised coaching at junior level will stop any highly unorthodox actions in its tracks.

But which method works best?

Orthodox bowling is not the 'correct' way of bowling. It is simply the method that works for most people.

There is no right or wrong. Just because Ajmal bowls very chest-on does not mean that every of spinner must bowl chest on.

If you are taking wickets then it is the right action for you.

You or your coaches should not mess with your action just because it is different. The only time attention should be paid to the action is if the bowler is not performing and all other avenues have been exhausted.

Action is not always the reason for poor bowling.

When a bowler with an unorthodox action starts to struggle the first thing coaches do is blame the action.

The player starts to doubt his ability.

This is wrong.

There are numerous things to be looked at when trying to identify why a bowler is struggling. Drastic changes to the action should be the very last thing to be consider.

Judge spinner by the wickets they take and not if it looks like a coaching manual. And maybe you can bring a bit more mystery into your game.

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I think Edward Said would probably have an interesting insight into this particular discussion.

I did not know he played cricket. Handy off spinner?

I was just commenting on the orientalist connotations implicit in the concept of a subcontinental "mystery spinner".

Yes, yes, yes. But did he have a teesra?

Can a saffa be a mystery spinner? I 'm an off with an odd grip and the flicker which acts like a leg break.

Bonga, why not I think it is possible for anyone to be a mystery spinner as long as they work hard on what makes them mysterious.

I'm not sure I agree. Normally I would say that working hard is the secret of success in cricket. However, when it comes to "mystery" spin, there is no template (otherwise it would not be a mystery). By definition you have to have something mysterious, something that is outside of the mainstream.

I think in the case of mystery spin, not everyone can do it. You need to have certain traits (both natural and self-taught) that can't be coached in the traditional way.

Thanks guys! I have a unquie grip for yhe off break and i deliver carrom ball (flicker) with the ring finger.