One thing that the Indian fans were waiting to see in this home season was the debut of young left-arm chinaman bowler, Kuldeep Yadav. Finally, Kuldeep’s time has come as he was handed his Test cap by former Indian leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. It is no doubt that the wrist spinner from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh is no short of talent. He made the headlines after his heroics in the 2014 ICC under-19 World Cup where he picked up a hat-trick and represented his zonal team, Central Zone before making his debut for his state side (UP).
Kuldeep’s debut also begins a new chapter in the history of Indian cricket as he becomes the first chinaman bowler to play for India. Having said this, Indian women’s team has already had a chinaman bowler in Priti Dimri, who has played 26 matches for India from 2006-2010.
Chinaman is an art in which a left-arm bowler bowls wrist spin just like right-arm bowlers bowl leg spin. It is an unorthodox bowling style as the bowler uses his wrist to generate spin rather than his fingers. The direction of the turn after pitching the ball is the same as that of a traditional right-handed off spin bowler. But, why are these kind of bowlers called a chinaman instead of slow left-arm wrist/unorthodox spin?
The origin of the term 'chinaman' takes us all the way back to 1933 Test between hosts England and West Indies at Old Trafford. After being dismissed for 375 in the first innings, West Indian pacer Manny Martindale ran through England's top-order before skipper Douglas Jardine and Walter Robins put on a 140-run partnership for the seventh wicket. When he was looked set for a century, West Indies' left-arm orthodox spinner, Ellis Achong bowled an unorthodox delivery that turned from off to the leg and got Robins stumped.
Incidentally, Achong was the first test cricketer of Chinese ancestry. It is believed that when Robins walked back to the pavilion, he said 'Fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman'. Hence, this unorthodox left-arm delivery since then was associated with the term 'chinaman'.
Extra cover: Top 5 Chinaman bowlers the world has seen
Even though the Indian team is having its first chinaman bowler in 2017, the teams around the world has seen quite a few bowlers who are mastered this art. Australia’s Brad Hogg is one name that comes to our mind while talking about chinaman bowling. Some of the other chinaman bowlers to have graced the sport are South Africa’s Paul Adams, West Indian legend Sir Gary Sobers, Aussie Michael Bevan, England’s Johnny Wardle, Denis Compton etc.