The 2013 Ashes series (a cricket thing between England and Australia) are underway as of today and it seems they have a new (to me) gimmick. It appears that they are now able to measure almost instantaneously (within a few seconds) the rotational speed of balls bowled by spin bowlers.
On the (golf) driving range, I was able to get similar readings, but they were from a machine only a few feet away from the tee. I don't quite understand that either, but it seems at least easier. Although there, they were even able to determine the rotational axis as well.
But in cricket they also have a rotational axis along the direction of the ball, which is even more difficult to measure (unless they have a third radar somewhere perpendicular-ish to the pitch).
I think I now see that they placed very small black boxes between two of the stumps on either end of the pitch. I guess that must be the first two radars. (One of which will be useless because the batsman is standing in front of it.)
So, essentially: How do they do it? And, how accurate can it be, given that the reflection of the "sides" of the ball may be poor? Or are they using (visible-light) camera images, as suggested by the comments of udiboy and Deer Hunter below? (I'm fairly confident the golf system doesn't do that, but I don't know. Anyways, to make sure, the question is primarily about the cricket.)
I found that they measure spin rates in baseball as well: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/tom_verducci/04/12/fastballs.trackman/index.html.
The http://trackman.dk site refers to these technologies and (patent/patent application) numbers:
Measuring spin rate of sports balls by radar using multiple harmonic spectrum traces. (US2009/0075744, EP1698380, DE602006009719.0, GB/EP/1698380, ZL200680006869.0, JP2008/538085A and KR10/0947898)
Measuring spin axis orientation of sport balls from trajectory measurements by radar. (US2009/0075744, DE602006015036.9, GB/EP/1853362, ZL200680006869.0, JP2008/538085A and KR10/0947898)