Generally the word Top-Spinner is used mostly in leg spin bowling. It is also used in off spin bowling but very rarely. Of course it is bowled in off spin but the word ” straighter one or it turned slightly ” is used most often instead of Top-Spinner.
In the context of Cricket it is defined as the ball which is bowled as Off Break action and looks like Off Break but it moves actually in straight direction or in Leg slip direction (Off-Top spinner) compared to Off Break which actually moves in fine leg or NE direction after the ball hitting the pitch.
LETS GO DEEPER INTO THE CONCEPT.
Off-Top spinner may be defined as the ball which generally pitches in line or outside the Off stump line and moves towards in straight direction or in leg slip direction.
The definition seems to be same as the definition of Off break but there is a difference, the difference is, in Off break the ball pitches in and around the Off stump line and moves towards fine Leg direction. But in Off-Top spinner or straighter one it also pitches same as Off Break , but it moves towards straight direction or Leg slip direction after hitting the deck.
That means the Off-Top spinner is the ball which turns slightly when compared to Off Break and moves towards straight direction or Leg slip direction after hitting the deck. It doesn’t turn too much compared to Off Break but seems to be same as Off Break.
So you can say the Off-Top spinner can be called as sub-category of Off Break.
From above you might get the sense of difference between Off Break and Off-Top spinner. The difference is simple ” the Off-Top spinner is that which pitches and turns slightly or moves straightly where as the Off Break is that which pitches and turns nicely, enormously and moves towards fine leg direction or NE direction “.
Off-Top spinner has the same action as the “Great Off Break has”, but with different wrist positions and with different concept.
NOW LET US KNOW WHY THIS BALL IS CALLED AS OFF-TOP SPINNER OR STRAIGHTER ONE ?
Its simple , the reason is when you bowl a normal Off Break it pitches (rotating with NE seam) and moves towards fine leg direction or NE direction. But where as in OFF-TOP SPINNER the wrist, arm and finger positions makes the ball to move in Leg slip or straight direction after pitching. That is the wrist and finger positions of the ball are adjusted or made in such a way that “the direction of seam of the ball which has to move towards fine leg or backward square Leg direction, backs itself to move in Leg slip or straight direction. In fact it slightly changes from fine leg direction to Leg slip or straight direction.
That means in Normal Off Break the ball moves towards fine Leg direction, but here in OFF-TOP SPINNER the direction of seam of the ball gets adjusted itself or slightly declines itself to move from fine leg direction to Leg slip or straight direction after the ball hitting the deck.
The other very important factor why this ball is called as Off Top-Spinner because the seam of the ball rotates from Top to Down direction in fact in straight or in North or in Leg slip direction towards the wickets at the time of releasing point.
Here comes the concept of the word “TOP”.
Since the seam of the ball rotates from Top to Down direction or in North or in Leg slip direction at the time of releasing point and moves straighter to the wickets or towards leg slip after hitting the pitch , it is called as “OFF TOP-SPINNER”.
As the direction of seam of the ball slightly slides from leg gully direction (Off break) to Leg slip or straight direction , in fact simply it turns slightly compared to Normal Off Break after the ball hitting the pitch.
Since the ball SLIDES or DECLINES from fine leg direction (Off break) to Leg slip or straight direction after hitting the pitch it is called as OFF-TOP SPINNER. Off-Top spinner can also be called as sub-category of Off Break with slight turn.
SPEED OF OFF-TOP SPINNER
The speed of Off-Top Spinner generally can be same as Off Break or could be little bit lesser on that instant. Generally Off Break bowling speed ranges from 70 to 95 kmph.
For suppose if your Off Break bowling , let us say averages at a speed of 85 kmph then the Off-Top spinner could be at a speed of 85 kmph or little bit less to that ie may be 75 kmph to 85 kmph at this instant. At different instants of Off Break speeds we have different Off-Top spinner Speeds.
The speeds varies from Off Break to Off-Top spinner (slightly) because simply due to different arm, wrist and finger positions at the time of releasing point.
Of course we do have same orthodox action for Off-Top spinner (same as OffBreak) but the arm, wrist and Finger positions varies from ” OFF-TOP SPINNER ” to ” OFF BREAK ” , this varied positions makes Off-Top spinner little bit slower compared to Normal ” Off Break “.
- It is straighter or it turns slightly compared to Off Break (nice and enormous turn) and moves to Leg slip direction or straight direction.
- It is nicely flighted delivery.
- Its speed normally ranges same as or little bit lesser than Off Break.
- As it turns very less or less, there are more chances for bowler to get LBWs and get them edges and get caught behind in slips.
- Mostly right handed batsman gets LBWed, outside edged and left handed batsman gets edged and will be caught behind in slips or at silly points.
- It can be bowled in any way means that by Finger based or Wrist based. Bowl it in any way as long as it moves towards straight direction or Leg slip direction it will be still called as Off-Top spinner.
- It has to be maintained in line and length because as it is slower and turns less. And the batsman can easily pull it for a four or a six, if pitched shorter. That means the length is much crucial for Off-Top spinner .
- It looks like normal Off Break ball with same action but turns slightly and moves towards Leg slip direction or straight direction towards wickets.
- You can get the sense of Off-Top spinner clearly in Test Matches. Eg : Off-Top spinner is extremely used by Legendary Errapalli Prasanna. This is one of his best weapons. He demolished many batsman with his Off-Top spinner and most of them were LBWs and caught behind in slips.
NOW HOW DO YOU BOWL A OFF-TOP SPINNER ?
In general we do have two ways to bowl a Off-Top spinner. One is very easy finger based and the other one is typical wrist based.
Off-Top spinner can be bowled in many ways as long as it moves in Leg slip direction or little bit less to that, after hitting the deck. No matter in what way you bowl it.
Let us discuss first the easier one finger based Off-Top spinner. Now lets start.
Hold the ball across the seam so that the fingers fore (first joint) and middle (first joint) are on top of the seam (across) little bit widely separated, the thumb (first joint) and ring fingers (first joint) are with the seam (direction with the seam) nicely, firmly gripping the ball.
As it is said earlier this action looks like same as Off Break, now bowl it in orthodox style i.e by Straight arm and wrist (with palm) being on left side of the ball, the fingers fore and middle on top of the seam (across) (seam facing in leg slip or little bit less to that direction), the ring finger facing towards leg slip with the seam, the thumb facing opposite to ring finger direction (opposite to leg slip direction) with the seam at the time of releasing point.
You have to bowl it in such a way that the arm has to be in high straight arm action at an angle of 135 deg (in general) with the body, the wrist has to be at an angle of 45 or 135 deg (in general) with the arm, infact the position of wrist has to be rotated from basic 0 deg position to 60 or 90 deg position (generally) in such a way that the back of the palm has to face in mid wicket direction, the fingers fore and middle on top of the seam (across), the other fingers thumb and ring are adjusted in such a way that the seam faces in leg slip or little bit less to that direction at the time of releasing point.
That means the thumb (first joint) faces towards you with the seam, the ring finger facing towards leg slip direction with the seam at the time of releasing point.
In that sense thumb and mostly the wrist, fore, middle and ring fingers plays a major role in rotating the ball towards leg slip direction or straight direction.
So here when you observe the rotation of the ball very carefully after the ball has been released from hand, the ball rotates in leg slip direction with the seam. These things can be observed very easily in slow motion replays in test matches.
After released from hand it hits the pitch (ball rotating in leg slip direction), here comes the concept ” OFF-TOP SPINNER ” as the ball rotates in leg slip direction this directed ” leg slip or straight direction seam of the ball ” makes the ball to move towards leg slip or staight direction after pitching in outside the line, infact moves from hitting outside the line to leg slip or straight direction.
Therefore as the ball moves in leg slip or straight direction rather than it should have moved in fine leg or North East direction (Off Break) after hitting outside the line i.e the ” leg slip or top spin directed seam of the ball ” makes the ball to back itself to move from fine leg direction to leg slip direction. Infact slightly slides or declines from fine leg direction to leg slip or straight direction. Since this is the concept is used in ” Off Break bowling ” in different format it is called as the ” GREAT OFF-TOP SPINNER “.
LENGTHS FOR OFF-TOP SPINNER
As we said earlier that the good length for spin bowling ranges from 2 to 6 yards, but if we go little bit deeper in to the concept the bowling length for Off-Top spinner would be slightly different when compared with Off Break or Leg Breaks.
So why the lengths for Off-Top spinner is slightly different from Leg Breaks or Off Breaks. Let us discuss.
When Normal Off Break is bowled (generally) the ball pitches in and around the off stump line , then turns towards from Off stump line to fine leg or leg slip direction.
As long as it turns enormously the length ranging from 2 to 6 yards is always good for Off Break bowling. And even i can assure you the length ranging from 0 to 6 yards could also become good if the ball turns even more enormously.
From above you might get the sense, the length for Off Break depends upon ,” How much does the ball turns after pitching “. In fact ” the spin of the ball after pitching decides its length whether good or bad”.
And also dont forget, the length for Off Break not only depends on “How much does the ball spins after pitching” but also the flight , the change of pace , the speed, the skidding factor, the fast drifting in air factor and other factors.
NOW LET US DISCUSS THE LENGTH FOR OFF-TOP SPINNER
We know that Off-Top spinner moves in leg slip direction or straight direction and flighted delivery. And also its speed is slightly little bit lesser than Off Break.
The three factors leg slip direction, flighting factor, speed factor effects its line and length.
So when you bowl a Off-Top spinner on a length ranging from 5 to 6 yards or above 6 yards , as the ball moves in leg slip direction or straight direction, flighted and little bit less quicker this length becomes shorter length for the batsmen.
There by the batsman can pull it away for a four or a six. So it should be bowled in between 2 to 5 yards . That is little bit fuller in length. Even more good length for Off-Top spinner could be 2 to 4 yards.
Not only the length , the Off stump line is also very important for Off-Top spinner , because if you bowl in Off stump line and length (2 to 4 yards) as it moves in leg slip or straight direction and flighted , there are more chances for bowler to get LBWs and get them edged (inside or outside edges).
The other very important factor for the Off-Top spinner to be bowled in LITTLE BIT FULLER LENGTH is because the Fuller length gives no time for the batsman to decide ” what actually the ball is and in which direction does it moves ” as we bowl a OFF-TOP SPINNER which looks like Off Break , he thinks it as Off Break and plays for Off break and gets Demolished by Off-TOP SPINNER. (The time and speed difference of the ball between “after hitting the pitch and before hitting the bat” will be less in Fuller length compared to shorter or Good length)
These length factors are also applicable to and similar to Off Spin weapons such as Arm ball, Doosra, Change of pace etc.
The other very important factor for bowlers is Off Break bowling. By bowling just Top spinners you dont get wickets . The key is always Off Break as it is said earlier.
Bowl continuously and continuously Off Break atleast 2 to 3 in a row , then shift on to Off-Top spinner that to in line and length (2 to 4 yards) then it effects you as a bowler and gets the real meaning for Off-Top spinner.
Similar to Off-Top spinner the Doosras, the Arm balls, Skidders, Shooters, Sliders cannot be bowled continuously, the Off Break has to be always play a major role and then shift on suddenly to these weapons , that to in line and length then it effects you as a Good Bowler and gets the real meaning for these weapons.