Paperback review: Twirlymen, By Amol Rajan


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The Independent Culture

If you don't know your flipper from your Chinaman, this entertaining and informative history of spin bowling will put you right.

Long before he was the editor of our sister paper, Rajan was himself an aspirant leg-spinner, but a combination of injury and indolence stalled his career; so instead he has poured all his love and considerable knowledge into this book. He charts the history of spin from its earliest, underarm days to the present, exploring the careers of such legends as W G Grace, Jim Laker, Bishan Bedi, Anil Kumble, Shane Warne, and the controversial Muttiah Muralitharan, all of whom excelled in the art of getting batsmen out by bamboozling, rather than terrorising them. The chapters are interspersed by helpful diagrams showing the grip, flight, and pitch for each type of delivery; and now, at last, I think I understand what a googly is.