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Afghanistan's Mujeeb Ur Rahman appeals successfully against Scotland's Richie Berrington during the Cricket Twenty20 World Cup match with Scotland in Sharjah, UAE, on October 25, 2021. Image Credit: AP

Mystery spinners, that’s a new breed. Who are they? These are spinners with a bagful of tricks. They can be off-spinners or leg-spinners, but they can turn the ball the other way. But then a googly goes the other way, you may say. A googly is different from a genuine off-break. With googly, there’s deception; not so much with the off-break. So when an off-spinner bowls a leg-break, is he called a mystery spinner?

Be that as it may. Mystery spinners are here to stay. The trick is in the middle finger, whose movement decides which way the ball spins; sometimes it’s flicked to produce a carrom ball. Mystery spinners have such a mindboggling repertoire that batsmen are unable to decipher them. Sunil Narine of the West Indies is one, and Varun Chakravarthy of India is another. And there was Ajantha Mendis of Sri Lanka. Go back in time and you will Jack Iverson and Johnny Gleeson of Australia, and Sonny Ramadhin of the West Indies.

Scotland on Monday faced a mystery spinner in Mujeeb Ur Rahman. And they were clueless. So clueless that the Afghan spinner grabbed three wickets in an over, the third of the Scottish innings. Scotland never recovered from those lethal blows.

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There’s nothing mysterious about Rashid Khan. He bowls fast leg-breaks, and his wicket-taking deliveries are googlies and top-spinners. Khan claimed four wickets to mop up the Scotland innings.

There’s magic in spin bowling. The flight, the loop, the deception and the speed and bounce off the pitch: all of that bring about the downfall of batsmen. So innocuous, yet deadly. That’s spin at its best.