Off Break Bowling – Video Tutorials

off break bowling


  • FAST


  • ARM BALL (quicker)
  • SLIDER (Back spinner)
  • SHOOTER (Drifting in air quickly)
  • CHANGE OF PACE (Lifting in air)


Off break may be defined as the ball which pitches in and around the off stump line and turns into the batsman or towards leg slip region in fact it breaks from the pitch (off stump line) or soil (when it hits the pitch) and turns towards the stumps.

Since it always pitches in and around the off stump line i.e always deals with the off stump line thats why it is called as Off break. And the word Break is used because generally as the ball pitches it goes straight but here in Off break it doesn’t go straight , it pitches on seam and suddenly turns into the batsman or towards stumps , i.e where the word Break means it. In fact it breaks from the pitch (off stump line) and moves towards the stumps from that straight line.

So therefore this type of bowling is called as Off Break.

A Standard Off break is the ball which is always and always bowled in and around the off stump line (mostly seen in Test matches).

So how to bowl a Off Break ?

The first thing is, it is really difficult to explain Off Break theoretically but still trying to explain it very clearly and also practically very soon.

Now hold the ball across the seam so that the fingers (fore and middle) are on the top of the seam (across) little bit widely separated, the thumb and ring fingers are with the seam nicely gripping the ball.

Now bowl it in orthodox style i.e by high straight arm action with your arm and wrist, with the fingers at the time of releasing point.

Bowl it in such a way that the arm has to be in high straight arm action angled at (135 deg) (generally) with respect to the body, the wrist (with palm) has to be angled at 135 or 45 deg with respect to the arm and has to be on right side of the ball, in fact the position of wrist has to be rotated from basic 0 deg position to 45 deg position in such a way that the back of the palm has to face behind you or long on region, the middle, fore, ring and thumb fingers has to be adjusted in such a way that the ball should rotate in North East direction or towards leg gully or backward square leg region at the time of releasing point. That means while bowling Off break the middle, fore and thumb fingers has to play major role in rotating the ball towards North East direction or towards leg gully or backward square leg region.

So while bowling Off break you can notice very carefully the right arm, the right wrist being on right side of the ball and also the fingers (fore and middle) being on right and on top of the seam (across), the thumb and ring finger with the seam at the time of releasing point.

Here when you observe the rotation of the ball very carefully after the ball has been released from the hand the ball rotates in North East or leg gully or fine leg direction. You can observe the North East direction of the ball in slow motions very easily.

After the ball released from hand (The ball rotating in North East direction with the seam) it pitches on the soil with the seam rotating in North East or leg gully or fine leg direction, here comes the concept “Off Break”, as the seam of the ball rotates in North East or leg gully or fine leg direction direction, this directed North East seam makes the ball to move towards into the batsman or wickets or fine leg region (After pitching). In fact moves from in and around the off stump line to towards the stumps.

Thereby the word “Directed North East seam of the ball” breaks from orthodox direction of the pitch (after pitching) and moves to unorthodox direction (North East) thats why it is called as “OFF BREAK”.

Important Points In Normal Off Break

  • The speed of the ball is always ranges from 70 kmph to 95 kmph.
  • The ball is always flighted in air (flight is always key in spin bowling) so that the batsman cannot expect, where the ball hits the deck.
  • The ball should be holded always across the seam for the perfect grip and so that the ball breaks on seam (on pitch) and turns into the right handed batsman. And also if you hold the ball across the seam, after bowling the seam of the ball hits the deck and becomes flexible for the ball to break and moves towards the stumps rather than if you hold the ball with the seam.
  • The biggest thing in Off spin is bowling OFF BREAK i.e you have to know the basic Off break bowling. Knowing Top spinners, arm balls, shooters are not valuable without knowing the basic OFF BREAK.
  • Using these weapons with the perfect off break, you will be getting the perfect use of weapons (i.e you will get the meaning of Top spinners, arm balls, shooters)
  • There are several other things you need to concentrate i.e may be pitch details, wind, use of crease, use of bowling ends (i.e notifying spots, cracks, patches etc…)
  • Rough patches on the pitch: you need to notify the rough spots on the pitch so that if you pitch the ball there, the ball turns and bounces enormously (These things mostly can be seen in Test matches). These rough areas are created by both batsman and bowlers.
  • Bowlers after bowling i.e after continuous bowling, then beyond the crease they will be stepping continuously by default so that rough areas are formed.
  • Similarly the batsman after continuously walking on the crease from left toright, the rough areas are formed.
  • You need to spot them and take the advantage from that rough areas to make batsman more difficult to bat.
  • Cracks (mud particles ready to be removed) : The next thing you need to notify is cracks in the middle of the pitch. You need to bowl on those cracks (mud particles ready to be removed).The cracks will help you to turn and bounce the ball enormously than normally you bowl.
  • When the ball is bowled on these cracks (mud particles ready to be removed) sometimes you can notify on television sets in slow motions the mud particles jumps in air (splits) then you can see a immediate bounce, therefore identify that spot, you can surely get uneven bounce.
  • Use of Wind : You need to check out the direction of the wind i.e whether it moves towards NE or SE or NW or SW or E or W directions.

So how do you find the direction of the wind ?

Its very simple just look after the flags flying on the top of the stadiums you will be knowing the direction and there by you can change your tactics.

So why do we use the direction of the wind ?

There are simple reasons :

  • If the speed of the wind is good then the word Drift plays a key role in spin bowling . So how the drift goes on ? The answer is keep the shiny side on left side of the ball, so that you can hold the ball across the seam such that rough side of the ball hides in your palm. Now you bowl the off spin it drifts from right to left side (since the shiny side of the ball will be on the left side after releasing, it drifts from right to left side). This drift makes the batsman in dilemma i.e where the ball hits the pitch rather than it should have actually hit the pitch.
  • Use of Crease and Bowling Ends : The more the use of crease, the more you are good bowler. Even if you have skills you need to know how to use your crease then that makes you more better bowler. Eg McGrath while bowling bowls very close to the stumps to get consistency in line and length.

If you are really good at turning the ball then you can use your crease in a very logical manner i.e

If you bowl from the corner of the crease you can beat the batsman (left handed), you can make him outside the edge, this can be happened only if you bowl from the basic crease continuously and then suddenly changing to corner of the crease then you can see maximum results.

The basic thing of using corner of crease is to create an angle (for the ball) there by creating more turns and also other things such as arm balls, doosras, Top spinners can be bowled in different way compared to as you bowl from basic crease point.

The selection of bowling ends is very important, especially on fast pitches which do not support spin, on those pitches you can spot rough areas, cracks, mud particles (ready to be removed) on one side of the pitch (As we have earlier studied that these rough patches are formed due to continuous bowling of fast bowlers from one end) and may not be found on other end. So this helps you to choose from which end to bowl so that you can use the pitch for more spin, turn, bounce or anything else.

Some important notes

In spin bowling we see two types of words off break and off spin. we have to understand the concept behind the difference between break and spin.

Off break bowler is who does spin the ball only on spin favored pitches and not on other pitches such as fast seaming pitches (south Africa, west Indies etc…). These bowlers are mostly finger based spinners rather than the wrist i.e the fingers play a major role in spin rather than wrist (of course wrist plays minor role).


Saqlain mustaq, Chris gayle, Andrew symonds etc…

As these bowlers are finger based spinners they cannot spin the ball much more on fast seaming pitches rather than wrist spinners.

Some features of off break bowlers (finger based)

  • They cannot spin on any surface.
  • They cannot spin more as compared to wrist spinners.
  • There bowling speeds will be definitely less than compared to wrist spinners.
  • But these bowlers can bowl accurately and consistently in good line and length.

Off spin bowler is who does spin the ball with his wrist rather than with the fingers i.e the wrist plays a major role in the spin rather than fingers of course fingers plays a minor role. These type of spinners can spin the ball on any kind of pitch may be cement turf, fast seaming pitches (south Africa, Australia) Eg muthiah murlitharan.

Some features of off spin bowlers (wrist based)

  • They can spin it on any surface.
  • They can spin more than compared to finger based spinners (off break).
  • Their bowling speed will be more than compared to finger based spinners.
  • But these wrist bowlers feel little difficult to bowl accurately in line and length as compared to finger based spinners.


Generally for any spin bowling the good length ranges from 2 to 6 yards, but where as for the fast bowlers it ranges from 4 to 8 yards.

So why it is so like that ? Let us know

The simple reason is pace of the spin in fact the speed in understandable language. The speed of the spin (70 to 95 kmph) is less compared to fast bowlers (110 to 160 kmph) , so what happens here is if you bowl it in between 6 to 8 yards (Good length for Fast Bowlers) with the speed mentioned above, since as the pace is slow it gives ample of time for the batsmen to pull it ,cut or to drive it.

off break bowling

Here the significant thing implies is, the speed of the spin doesn’t support the length ranging from 6 to 8 yards and more over becomes more slow before hitting the bat and even turns , then making the batsmen much easy to cut and pull.

From above it is clear that the length for spin bowling above 6 yards is always a short length delivery.

The length ranging from 0 to 2 yards is Fuller length for any type of Spin of Bowling

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