Wrist spin and rule of thumb

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Q. In cricket, why do off-spinners not have a leg-break as a standard part of their armoury since leg-spinners have the googly or "wrong'un" in theirs? There are essentially two ways of spinning a cricket ball; finger spin and wrist spin. Finger spin is imparted by rolling your fingers over the ball on delivery. As this is reliant on the thumb, it can only be used to spin the ball in one direction. Thisis known as an off-break.

Wrist spin is so called because in order to spin the ball , the wrist is flicked as the ball is released. As the wrist is perfectly happy to twist each way, the ball can be made to spin in either direction. Hence one gets the leg break, which turns away from the right-handed batsman, and the googly that turns into him.

As finger spin and wrist spin require different bowling action, skills, physiques and indeed mentalities, it is not possible to bowl both to any standard. Thus the off-spinner is limited to the direction that he can spin the ball.

As a compensatory measure, the off- spinner has developed what is known as the "arm ball'' or a delivery that "goes on with the arm". This is bowled by holding the ball with the seam parallel to the line of the wicket and not spinning it at all. The aim is that, if bowled with a classical action, the ball will float away from the right-handed batsman (the opposite way the ball would be expected to spin), thus leading to an edge to the wicketkeeper or slip. John Emburey, though not generally a big spinner of the ball, is a good exponent of this last technique. - C P W Jonkers, Oxford Q. During the 1993-94 season Dundee fielded 11 players born outside the United Kingdom. Has any other football club had more foreign players at one time?

A. Confining my searches to the European game, I can only find one example of a larger foreign contingent in a club squad other than Dundee's - that honour goes to the Belgian club, KSC Lokeren. In the 1992-93 season, 12 non-Belgian players appeared in the first team. They were: Hedelazio (Ang) Hyyry and Paavola (Fin), Nuskens (Hol), Meszaros (Hung), Kanu, Ogaba, Sadio, Siasia (all Nigeria), Kovacs, (Yug), K Lembi and N Lembi (Zaire).

It is also interesting to note that 116 foreign players played First Division football in the Belgian League that season - an average of six per club. - Ian Jarvis, London N8

Is Manchester United's fine and banning of Eric Cantona to the end of the season the biggest punishment handed to a player by his club, leaving aside what action the Football Association may take?

A. The Cantona incident was described by Graham Kelly, the Chief Executive of the Football Association, among others, as "unprecedented". At the end of the 1970s, Birmingham City had one of the Argentinians playing for them, Tarantino I believe. I remember seeing him on Match of the Day leaping over the crash barrier and sprinting up several flights of steps to "remonstrate" with a fan. Can anyone fill in the details? - Simon Ives, Bridgwater Q. Where is the highest spectating position at a British football ground, in metres above sea level?

A. Though not foremost a football ground, I nominate Odsal Stadium in Bradford where rugby league and speedway take place. In Trevor Delany's book The Grounds of Rugby League, he calls it the "hole in the ground". To give you an idea of the depth - in 1948 the third Test against the Australians was postponed due to fog at ground level, yet 100ft above the sun shone in December. I can confirm this as I was there. - Kevin Maguire, Batley ANSWERS PLEASE Q. Is it true that during either the late 1950s or early 1960s the Welsh football team once fielded a side with seven or eight players who had been born in Swansea? If this is true, when was the occasion? Who were the opponents? Who were the players? And most importantly, is this a record for any international team fielding so many players who were born in the same town (but not necessarily playing for the town team)? - Andy Webb, Swansea Q. I seem to remember that many years ago (possibly in the 1940s) if the Scottish Cup final was a draw at full-time (and perhaps after extra time), the Cup was presented to the team awarded most corner kicks in the match. Do I remember correctly, and if so, which teams, if any, won the Scottish Cup by this rule? - R W G Smith, Ringwood Q. What is "On your marks, set, go!" in other languages? - Hugh Farey, Bromyard Q. On Saturday 17 December 1994, Andy Holden played a full game in defence for Oldham Athletic in the 2-0 away defeat against Charlton Athletic. This was his first game since the FA Cup semi-final replay defeat against Manchester United on 11 April 1990. Due to injuries he missed a total of 232 first team games (199 League, 13 FA Cup ties and 20 League Cup games). Is this a record for an injury lay-off? - Graham Lambert, Manchester If you know the answers to any of these questions, or have a sporting question of your own you would like answered, write to: Q & A Sports Desk Independent on Sunday 1 Canada Square Canary Wharf London E14 5DL Fax: 0171-293 2894