Monday, 3 December 2012

Ellis Edgar Achong

"A Chinaman": now there are variations on the origin of this cricketing term and even its present meaning can vary from speaker to speaker and country to country. Generally, though, it means a delivery by a slow left arm bowler that turns in the opposite direction from "normal". (This could be from leg to off for a SLA wrist-spinner as opposed to an orthodox one.)

One version of the story goes that E.E. "Puss" Achong, touring England with the West Indies in the 1930s, dismissed Walter Robbins of England with a ball that moved "the other way", that is, presumably, from off to leg. "Fancy being got out by a Chinaman!" Robbins is supposed to have remarked - or something a lot stronger, in some versions. "Do you mean the delivery or the player?" asked the West Indian captain, who had seen Achong's variations before. Apparently the term has stuck ever since.

Achong is reputed to have bowled both left arm orthodox finger-spin and the less common wrist-spin. The term "Chinaman" is sometimes used in a more restricted sense for the left arm wrist-spinner's googly, or "wrong un". He also, by the way, represented Trinidad and Tobago at football (or soccer, to all my transatlantic readers). Any questions?


  1. [Try again]
    As I see it the SLA normally bowls a finder-spin leg-break or wrist-spin off-break. I'd have thought both of those were normal. If I had to choose the less normal, it's be the wrist-spin off-break that requires an extra bit of positioning of the hand.
    You seem to see it differently.

    1. You are describing orthodox SLA ie leg-spin with finger action and off-spin with leg break action. The term Chinaman refers to SLA googlies (maybe also doosras etc) ie the opposite of what a batsman might expect from the action. With me?

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