Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Flipper - Leg Spin Bowling

Have a look at this....
Look particularly at the description of the flipper. The flipper is my stock ball and I don't quite understand what this blokes is going on about and why he's confused about the legitimacy of the ball.

The Flipper
There are times when I have been convinced that the flipper is the commentator's 'excuse' ball, the word used to describe a ball the commentator couldn't read that bamboozled the batsman. Interestingly, Richie Benaud and Terry Jenner (Warne's friend and coach) describe it completely differently.
What Benaud describes is spun with the seam horizontal, with the same grip as a legbreak. He asserts that the ball 'skids' on pitching. What Jenner describes, and most people seem to have agreed on, is a ball which as far as I can tell is spun with backspin and a very different action to the legspinner's other weapons.
The behaviour of the ball Jenner describes would be to 'float' a little, pitching longer than expected, and then to 'sit up' when it pitches. The desired effect, one would assume is to catch a batsman playing back for what he thinks is a shorter ball, and trap him lbw playing over the top or outside the line.
I'd love to supply an example of the flipper to discuss, but it's somewhat complicated by the cries of 'flipper' from every side whenever Warne pulls out a ball that does something special. Both the legbreak and topspinner examples I quote above were called flippers by the TV commentators at the time. I'm reasonably convinced the ball is not just an exercise in mind-games, but I've yet to be convinced I've seen one.

Warne describes the flipper as being difficult to bowl as does Jenner -

I've been throwing flippers as my stock ball for months now and as far as I'm concerned it's the easier of all the variations I throw (Slider, Over-spinner, Wrong Un & Flipper). I've found that if you practice with balls other than a cricket ball you're more able to see what it potentially does on the field. I've got a ball that's made of low density rubber and is quite a bit larger than a cricket ball but not so large that I can't flip it. This ball I can throw forward using the flipper motion and because of the reverse spin the flipper creates - the ball when it hits the ground actually bounces backwards and comes back towards me! If you then throw it forwards with more speed it stalls and sits up. If I throw it faster still I find that it stays low like a slider but also deviates off it's expected line and turns towards off.

Try this - buy a Grays training hockey ball - they're the same size as a cricket ball and the same weight. Find a flat piece of tarmac or concrete with a wall and pratice the flipper. Using this ball with no seam I find I can pitch the ball 5 or 6 yards in front of the stumps 2-3 foot to leg and get it to turn into the middle stump like a leg break.

Richie Benaud on channel 4's website says........ Don't even think about learning the 'flipper' before you have mastered the leg-break, top-spinner and wrong'un.

Warne says on practicing Leg Spin.....

"The most important thing for a spin bowling is having patience, and being able to work and to make sure you practice the right thing. That is the technique. My idea of practice is the first 15-20 minutes I'll bowl leg-breaks, 15 minutes of variations but then always finish off on the leg-breaks. The leg-break is the most important delivery so keep practicing that one," said Warne.

My Flipper

As I alluded to at the start this is my stock ball, this is the one that relates to all the stats I've posted here. Currently I'm throwing it really consistently with less than 10% wide balls at the moment. I throw it at varying lengths depending on what I'm trying to get the batsman to do, sometimes ridiculously slow looping balls other times it's my fastest option - depending on how confident the batsman thinks he is. Generally I'll pitch it short to leg giving the impression that it's gone well wide, if the batsman leaves it - he's in trouble as I'll have his stumps which is very satisfying. Other than that the bolder more confident types give it the Kevin Peterson approach and come bounding down the wicket trying to knock it into the next county. Yeah I let em do that a few times and they think they're on a roll and then I chuck a slider or fast straight flipper and the change in pace generally catches them off guard and I either get the stumps or they miss hit it and it gets caught. It's a good ball.