Friday, August 07, 2009

Hadleigh cricket club v Grays and Chadwell

Hadleigh Cricket Club this Sunday at home looks like my next game and it looks like the weather is shaping up nicely. There doesn't seem to be any info on-line about them so can't get any sense of what we might be up against although I know from the last game this is a pointless exercise to be honest. I don't know which team I'll be playing in but on our website there seems to be a gap in the 1st XI team and that's the team that's playing Hadleigh and it's a pretty strong looking XI.

I've been surfing in Cornwall, well - what with my knackered elbow (Medial Epicondylitis) I didn't do a great deal of surfing, the least amount of surfing I've ever done it fact, but fear not the bowling practice did not cease. I had six balls with me, stumps and bails and spent a lot of time when it wasn't raining bowling my off-stump line. Whilst there I worked on the Grimmett secret ball (the top-spinning flipper) and that's looking more and more useful all the time and if it works okay tomorrow during my practicing I may throw a few in during my spell. I also worked on The Biggun, this is the big turning Leg Break which was slowly coming together, but I seem to have gone backwards with it to some extent. The intention never was that I'd have this together during this season and the plan is that I'll work on it over the winter - it'll be my winter project.

The bowling in Cornwall went very well, very accurate, good variation in speed and loads of messing around in changing the grip to elicit more bounce. Nothing particularly conclusive with regards the position of the fingers in the grip. The other good thing was I got a copy of the Bob Woolmer book for my birthday which was good and I've read huge tracts of it. It's definitely a good book and from my point of view as a wrist spinner it was good to read that he acknowledges the legacy of Clarrie Grimmett and also the work of Peter Philpott. In the book he advocates the three definitive books on the subject of Wrist Spin are Grimmetts 'Taking Wickets", Philpotts "The Art of wrist spin bowling" and another Grimmett book that I don't own (yet) called "Tricking the Batsman". Which was a conclusion I'd already arrived at which kind of goes towards reinforcing my belief that the subtleties of Wrist Spin Bowling are lost on most people because they simply are not aware of it's history. I was interested in reading that when Lasith Malinga bowled his 4 consecutive wickets in the world cup in 2007 he was oblivious of the fact that he was about to do it for the first time ever in first class cricket. Woolmer points out that if Malinga was well versed in the history of pace bowling he'd have been aware of the fact that he was about to bowl his way into the history books and in being aware of that fact put himself in a completely different psychological state and probably wouldn't have taken the 4th wicket.

Similarly if you read these old books and the books written about the likes of Grimmett e.g. Ashley Malletts book on Grimmett you come away wondering why Shane Warne only bowled the handful of variations that he does? As yet I've not been recommended any books on Warne and all the ones that I've looked at seem to be written and marketed for an audience that want to know about him as a celebrity rather than as a bowling genius or an innovator.

Even Woolmer with his vast knowledge on the subject of Cricket seems to have missed the potential of the Flipper.

There are two types of Flipper. The underhand Flipper and the side Flipper. As demonstrated by Warne in the early stages of his career. Bob Woolmer; Art & Science of Cricket; Page 314; New Holland Publishing, London 2009.

Whereas if you read Grimmetts 1930's book - 'Taking Wickets' you're made aware of the fact that Grimmett was experimenting with at least 2 or 3 other variations of the Flipper 2 of which I came across simply through empirical research (Experimentation) on my own prior to reading any of these books, one being described as my 'Gipper' which I now know to be Clarrie Grimmetts 'Wrong Wrong Un'.

What I don't understand is how for instance the 'Flipper' that Grimmett was finally happy with, which he then went on to use in 1st class matches and possibly test matches and he christened his"'Mystery Ball" has been completely lost to the game in the form that he bowled it. It's only through reading Grimmetts books and accounts from Bradman and Ashley Malletts research that you realise that Grimmetts secret ball was another derivitive of the Flipper applying the 'Going round the Loop' technique that Peter Philpott advocates using to get to grips with all of the variations. This technique Grimmett had already been writing about and applying to both conventional wrist spin techniques as well as the Flipper variations. Grimmetts "Mystery Ball" is so obscure that both Terry Jenner and Ashley Mallett have both quoted in email correspondence with my mate Macca as being impossible to bowl over 22 yards, yet I'll probably be bowling it this Sunday on a field in Grays 70 years after it was first bowled!

In acknowledgement of Woolmer and to his credit he does kind of bow to the genius of Grimmett and to his legacy and similarly he acknowledges that Philpotts book is the modern day equivalent of Grimmetts 2 books. He goes as far as quoting some of Grimmetts book in big chunks but does say that the combination of the key texts by Grimmett and Philpott constitute the definitive descriptions of what wrist spin bowling is. Two of these 3 books of course are no longer in print and are virtually impossible to get hold of. The one that I don't have is available on-line but is in excess of 250 quid!

The ball of course to which I was referring (Grimmetts 'Mystery Ball) is the Top Spinning Flipper, the one that you spin towards yourself in the bowling action. More to come on that in a new Blog in the near future.