Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Biggun #2

There was a geezer (I think a Moderator) on the big cricket forum who had a bit of a dig at the wrist spin forum I write on and where I discuss this stuff with the other "Wristies". One of the things that he inferred was that he thought the entries were too long and over complicated and just too difficult to get your head round. Basically the long and the short of it was that he probably thinks it's all a bit esoteric and non accessible by non-wristies. I quite like that myself and if he's a batsman looking for clues that's even better. But this kind of brings me round to a point I want to make about all written accounts of how to bowl using the wrist spin techniques.

Most wrist spinners desire to bowl a big side-spinning leg break, that gives them good deviation off the line of flight in normal wicket conditions and if it was to land in the rough would come out of the rough like Warne's ball of the century. If you look hard enough and long enough you'll come across a range of resources - websites and forums written & created by mortals like me, the odd video here and there by the real experts - Warne, Jenner and Beau Casson and a few books - primarily Peter Philpotts book 'The Art of Wrist Spin'. In some cases if you're dead lucky you may even have a wrist spinner at your club who knows a bit and might spend some time helping you out. But when it comes down to it the thing you have to do is start chucking the ball 22 yards and making it spin and if it doesn't happen you then have to start looking at all the information that's available and start using it to get your game together.

For example Philpott says to 'always give the ball a big flick'. His explanation in the written form is fairly understandable and he goes through the process in 8 stages which generally make sense and slot into place sequentially, especially as the written explanation is accompanied by images.

But after last night thinking about how my practice sessions had gone I began to think outside of the box a bit and realised there might be an issue of Semantics. The key issue being - How 'Big' is the big flick? Then off the back of yesterdays blog entry a couple of blokes on the Big Cricket Forum posted some ideas and suggestions based on yesterdays discoveries/revelations.

On the Wrist Spin thread today the bloke Paulinho (entry 1962) says........

'I should have realised long ago if you get all the levels working you can get massive spin on the ball without trying that hard at all really'.

He also mentions the Cloverdale clip on you tube which drew my attention to the fact that the slow motion sequence is Warne. So I looked at it again and noticed the point that Pauliho makes about the angle of the seam. But more interesting is the fact that there is no 'Big Flick' as advocated by Peter Philpott and in fact the delivery looks more like the delivery I was trying last night - The very loose grip, purposeful placement of the finger on the seam, the cocked wrist and the *unfurling of the hand at the wrist into the release.

So the question that I came home from work with today was 'How big is the 'Big Flick''? Could it even be that what I call *Unfurling of the wrist at the point of delivery is indeed the equivalent of Philpotts 'Big Flick'?

So tonights 90 minute session after work was based around the combination of deliveries mentioned yesterday - Big Leg Break (BLB); Grimmett over-spinner flipper; BLB; Small Leg Break; BLB and finishing with a Wrong Un. It turned out to be one of the best practice sessions I've ever had. Having seen the Warne Slow-mo clip I continued with yesterdays very loose grip as described above but placed the seam slightly angled less so that it wasn't at 90 degrees to the direction of flight. This worked better straight away and I was still able to maintain my accuracy. But then as the session developed I tried slower loopier deliveries that required a different action in my delivery where I was kind of whipping the ball out of the hand and rolling the wrist over the top of the ball with a slightly later release and the arm coming down and through past my hip a la Warne. And just like my Wrong Un (Which turns big) I felt the ball being distinctly being whipped off the finger and guess what - it turned big again and again and again. Being at the end of the session with darkness drawing in I was still sceptical as to whether this was me spinning it or a result of the ball coming off lumps in the wicket. So to dis-spell this to some extent I bowled 6 seam up balls.... They all went straight except one which I might have actually bowled as a cutter.

So the Bloke on the forum who was whinging about the esoteric nature of my rantings has a point. But I think the truth of the matter is that Wrist Spinning is so complex that it requires input from a range of different people explaining it in different ways and making different suggestions. Different people teach and communicate in different ways - Visual learners, practical learners and audible learners mean that no one way is the right way, so Philpotts book and the language and style that it's written in cannot be the definitive guide to Wrist Spin Bowling. It most definitely requires a range of different inputs.