- noun spin imparted to the ball chiefly through movement of the fingers, rather than of the wrist. The right-arm bowler’s off-break and the slow left-arm bowler’s ‘stock’ ball – in effect a leg-break – are both achieved by means of finger-spin. The right-arm finger-spinner grips the ball chiefly with the thumb and first two fingers and twists it from left to right in a movement that is sometimes compared to turning the handle of a door, with the first finger imparting most of the ‘break’. The direction and flight of the ball is easier to control than if bowled with wrist-spin, so finger-spinners tend to be more economical than wrist-spinners.
The term finger-spin was formerly less exclusive and was at one time used to denote all forms of slow spin-bowling, as distinguished from faster bowling in which the break was achieved by means of ‘cut’ or ‘action-break’. It was thus often applied to what would now be called wrist-spin: the OED has a 1906 citation in which Schwarz, Faulkner, and Vogler – the legendary South African googly trio – are described as ‘finger-spin bowlers’. In modern usage the distinctions are more finely drawn.