Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bowling illustrations

Been working with Photoshop today getting together more image resources for all the blog updates. Been taking images of Joe and me from above so that they can used to illustrate bowling tactics and spinning balls and the like. The most difficult part is trying to illustrate the way that the ball spins and whether there is any tilt in the axis of the ball. But here's a test image just to see how it looks in the blog.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Paddock & other stuff

Paddock News: After a month of snow and sub zero temperatures, we've finally seen the temp rise above 0 degrees to a balmy 8.5 degrees centigrade, which is 2.5 degrees warmer than the minimum required for grass to grow (I think)? So with the snow finally melting I was able to go and have a look at the paddock and see how it's surviving and it was looking pretty good. There's been far fewer people crossing the paddock in comparison with last year and less evidence of people letting their dogs off whilst standing in the batting area - which last year meant that they then had a bloody great dog running back and forth ripping the ground up. So, the only issue that needed to be addressed was leaves and that was quickly done by raking them up and clearing the wicket area.

The Ashes: Not something that I do a lot of on this blog - comment on cricket being played internationally as it's not something I know a lot about, I like watching it, especially as we're beating the Aussies and I'm aware of the fact that it's not something we get to do that much. I used to work with a bloke Steve Coulson back in 1986 and he was about the same age as me but from somewhere up north and he loved his cricket and was totally obsessed. He would constantly update me with news of what Gooch in particular was up to, but it was wasted on me, I had other things going on - surfing.

I started watching cricket myself back in the late 90's I suppose, but all I recall is some blonde Aussie called Warne tearing us apart with some exceptionally good bowling and I just seem to remember commentators and newspaper berating the English attempts and having this sense that we were incapable of ever winning the Ashes or anything else. But since I've had kids for some reason I've taken more notice and took up the game myself and have been exceptionally lucky to be far more aware of what's involved in the game, so was very aware of the 2005 win and all that's followed since, so it's good to see our boys doing so well in Australia and now I'm anticipating an Ashes win in Australia in my life-time that I'm aware of, which is nice. The only downside is the fact that Leg-spin has played very little part in the games with Australia's Steve Smith not get much of an opportunity and when he has, he's been a bit shoddy at times. I think Leg Spinners across the world that have been watching will be hoping that Smith is somehow taken under the wing of Warne and helped so that perhaps he'll have a role in 4 years time or so?

I was amazed at the support England had throughout the series, even at the Melbourne ground with 10's of thousands of supporters there, you could still hear the barmey army and virtually nothing from the Aussies. I'd lay money on the fact that throughout all the dark periods of the last 10 years or so - when England were at their lowest points they were still supported by the barmy army? Where was the support for Australia? What will Australia do now - it looks as though they are in a real mess, there's talk of Ponting going - who will replace him and who will replace most of this team because most of them have been awful.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cricket scoring

Cricket Scoring

I've just had a good evening with my younger son Joe (8) teaching him how to fill in scoring sheets. I'm pretty useless at it myself - can never get a rhythm going and and lose track of who is who on the pitch when they pretty much look identical. So over the last couple of months I've been watching the ILP full matches and trying to get it sussed and learning the sequences and symbols that are use in filling the score sheets. I've noticed at matches that kids are pretty much undaunted by doing it and enthusiastic about it too if introduced to it early, so I thought I'd teach Joe
Watching the video on line live it means the pace at which you have to do it is realistic and the information comes in to you in a similar manner, but with the advantage of if you get stuck you can hit the pause button. I was amazed at how much better he was at learning it than I was and it seems as though he'd be able to make a pretty good job of it even after tonight.

Kwik Cricket

Got a bunch of kids together today in a local sports hall (Too cold outside Minus 19 degrees centigrade last night just down the road and snow everywhere) and played Kwik cricket. It went down well with them and their Mums. Loads of quick action everyone got to bat and bowl at least 3 times in the hour and my older son Ben looked quite adept with the bat - front foot drives and legside shots - hope he can convert it to the hard ball this season. He'll beat my all time run record this summer I reckon (9 runs)!

Spin bowling - Flipper

I've updated the Flipper section on my Legspin blog, there's still quite a bit of work to do to it - illustrations, photo's and checking of some of the references and details.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Paddock and other stuff

I haven't been practicing at all for ages and looking forward to nets this year, although I'm concerned that my knees maybe giving up on me. I've been getting a sore sensation beneath the knee cap. I've been on-line and spoken to a physio Liz Ward and she reckons it's due to tight thigh muscles, so I've been stretching them and it does seem to help. But generally because of the inactivity and this happens every year I just feel increadibly unfit. The only I do keep up is flicking the ball - flippers and inward flicks to make sure my wrist keeps supple and I maintain the muscle memory. If it's dry I go outside and throw the ball around a bit - but because of the fact that I'm doing not other exercise, I can feel the potential for Golfers elbow. When nets does start in January I'll have to ease into some training a few weeks in advance of the first session.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to book out a whole sports hall for an hour and Ben and joe and some of their mates are all going to join us for a game of indoor cricket, so that'll hopefully be a bit of fun.

The good news is that there's been far fewer people going into or through the woods this year, because when they do so they go through the paddock diagonally and walk across the batting area. There also seems to be a lot less indication that whoever it was that was letting their dog loose in the paddock seems to have stopped this as well? I'm hoping that what with the work that was done through Sept and October and the sewing of the better quality grass, we'll have a good quality wicket to play on for a couple of months through May and June when it's at its best.

It's snowed again see image of the paddock and this is the 2nd significant snow fall this year already and it's been getting chilly at night with the temp getting down to -7 degrees.

Field Setting - Shane Warne V Herschel Gibbs IPL

39 minutes in - bowling over the stumps. Symonds at the other end previously in an earlier match had taken him to the cleaners 56 runs off of 23 balls.

Warne gets Gibbs third ball drawing him out of his ground for a stumping the first two ball went for singles indicated by the black arrows.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My own field setting (Potential)

I say potentially because I usually let the captain set the field, but after last season even though it was pretty awful, I've got some sense of the kind of field I'd set at the start of the game till I settled and had some sense of how my bowing was going and how the bats were dealing with my bowling.

The diagram at the bottom indicates my bowling line - over the wicket at middle and off - looking to turn the ball away from the edge of the bat. The bloke that's in the 'Square 3rd man position' (11) would be brought up to a position at Gully depending on how the batman was playing the ball, if say he was playing straight bat shots trying to hit it through the covers with a chance of inviting the edge. If I was getting on top of him and he was playing defensively he may then be brought into short extra cover or silly mid-off, with point being pushed back slightly. In the same way Deep Square Leg would be brought up into a more conventional position. (10) at fine leg would stay in that position for Wrong Uns. Whether that makes any sense or not to other bowlers I don't know. A lot of what you do is dictated by the batsmen and how they're playing and what their strengths are. Reading the batsmen and responding to what they do is a whole new facet of the game that takes a great deal of nous. At the moment it's been interesting to see Ricky Ponting in the Ashes moving blokes around in response to where the balls being hit in the same over and he's getting slated by the commentators, so it's not easy.

Clarrie Grimmett Field settings

Here's a Clarrie Grimmet field setting from
care of Richard Welch, he said -

Here’s a jpg of Clarries field – I found this in an out of print coaching book from the 40’s or something, I forget exactly where, but it does have good provenance!.. and also a Bill O’Reilly field as documented in Don Bradman’s “the art of Cricket” (1948 edition). Bradman says that this is the field O’Reilly usually bowled to – which is incredibly aggressive (“Aggression rating” of 85.6 to Grimmets 59.7 which is a massive difference.)

Peter Philpott Field to Right Handed Batsman

Peter Philpott Field to Right Handed Batsman

Bill O'Reilly attacking field

This is a Bill O'Reilly field sent to me by Richard Welch at they have a webpage on their site where they've posted up fields for a range of bowling types here - this is my version of his O'Reilly one that he's sent me, he's unsure of its origins and if I can find out I'll post up the details.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Alex McLellan Field Sept 2010

This is a field I had set for my bowling when I was being captained by Alex McLellan at Thurrock Cricket Club last season.

Hoepfully discussed here -

Field settings for leg spinners

I'm going to be starting a thread looking at and discussing field settings for Wrist Spinners at

You'll find a JPEG file below which you'll be able to use in microsoft paint which comes free with almost every computer on the planet. Copy this file on to your hard drive and then open it using paint and draw your field placements on the image in paint using the brush tool.

Once you've drawn your fielding positions on the image using paint (see below) save it - and it'll then save as a bitmap file.

You'll then need to have a blog or an on-line image storing account where your file can be uploaded and therefore have a http address assigned to it automatically. That's needed in order to paste your image into the forum. (I think that's how it works)?

Then you'll be able to upload it to the forum for discussion and comments.

Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Orthodox Back-Spinner, Slider & Zooter

Here it is almost 98% complete...........

The Orthodox Back-Spinner:
Introduction - In this section I’m going to be looking at Back-Spinning deliveries other than the Flipper. Anecdotally, there’s potentially a handful of different back-spinning deliveries, but when you try and pin them down and establish which is what, who invented them and how they evolved, you’ll find that the information out there is very limited, vague and contradictory. In this section I’m going to try and clarify the deliveries that do exist and can be verified and makes sense of the confusion out there regarding the terms Slider and Zooter.

Research – My approach to trying to get to the bottom of the murky origins of the back-spinners was to do so in the manner that an academic might use. Within academia it’s recognised that any serious research needs to quote established and recognised texts on the subject in order to be taken seriously. As I’ve intimated previously throughout the blog the information with regards to the origins and techniques of Wrist Spin Bowling are extremely limited – probably restricted to two sources, Grimmetts book Getting Wickets from 1930 and Peter Philpotts book The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling from 1996. Between these two books we’re able to establish that there are only two recorded and explicitly described back-spinning variations, the Flipper and the Orthodox Back-Spinner. Thereafter, all other variations of back-spinners I would argue are evolutionary deliveries that have yet to still be pinned down and described in print in the same manner that the two established deliveries have been.

Other people will argue that there are several other deliveries and that these are well recorded and established. One of my aims is to present an argument that says that this is not the case. One key aspect of presenting your findings is that with secondary research - using the internet, to try and establish fact from fiction (and this does include this blog) you cannot trust the content. Using the internet for serious research is simply not acceptable because the writers are usually journalists or enthusiasts like myself. Another point that will be raised is that a lot of the commentary on these deliveries is made by the protagonists – Warne, Jenner, Benaud and other professionals. I’ll also make a case as to why this information is also sketchy at best.

The problem with accessing learning materials on Wrist Spin Bowling is that there are so few books written on the subject by the innovators and experts in the field. I’m only aware of one other body of printed work that attempts to explain the deliveries in great detail and that’s Woolmers book 'The Art and Science of Cricket'. The book covers the subject fairly well looking at Shane Warne’s Delivery of the Century in detail, coming up with a very convincing theory as to how and why. But then he acknowledges that he isn’t an expert in the field and resorts to quoting Grimmetts Getting Wickets and Grimmett on Cricket, the very books from which much of my own material here is based on.

I would argue that the most comprehensive book on the subject has still yet to be written by Warne. Potentially amidst all the bluff and psychology used by Warne over the years, there are definitive explanations of a handful of deliveries that either he invented or have been handed down over the generations since Grimmett. It wont be until Warne or Jenner perhaps sit down and collaborate and write definitive and published descriptions and explanations of the other deliveries will we ever be able to pin down exactly what a Zooter, Zinger or a Slider are.

How to Bowl the Orthodox Back-Spinner
Throughout the blog I’ve written about the fact that the Wrist Spinners armoury is made up of two distinct methods of bowling, the traditional Wrist-Spinners action with the 2 up and 2 down grip with the ball being spun off the 3rd finger which is described through the use of Peter Philpotts round the loop theory. And Grimmetts squeezed between the finger and thumb Flippers. Both actions are able to produce balls that spin to Off, Leg, Forwards and Backwards using the variation of the wrist position when releasing the ball.

Throughout the blog I’ve advocated that one of the most important things that you need to do is to take every opportunity to flick the ball from one hand to the other across the body and to flick the ball from an outstretched arm in towards the body catching it with the left hand at the chest

If you’ve been following these guidelines and drills you should by now be able appreciate the differences in how the ball spins in response to the position you present your wrist in as you flick……

The thumb pointing at the batsman and the ball flicked with the 3rd finger and wrist forwards – The Top-Spinner.
The Thumb pointing anywhere towards Slips and Gully with the palm of your hand now slightly facing the bat as you flick should produce a Leg Break.
The thumb pointing towards edge of the square directly to your left as you bowl with your palm now facing directly at the batsman will produce the Big Leg Break.

As you’ve probably seen, the wrist position has moved further and further round through 90 degrees and there’s still potential for it to go further still. Hold you hand up and have it facing palm towards the batsman and flick the wrist and see that you will be rotating the ball with the spin anti-clockwise to the Left to get the big leg break. Now turn the wrist further round inwards another 90 degrees so that your thumb is facing you and the ‘Karate Chop’ edge of your hand is facing the batsman. If you now flick your wrist you will be Top-Spinning the ball in towards yourself (The 2nd drill). The ball is flicked back towards yourself with an up-right seam. Now the difficult bit; As you bring your arm over you need to keep the wrist in this acute position – your forward body motion as you explode through the crease and your arm coming over will propel the ball forwards and down the wicket as you flick the ball putting top-spin on it as in all your other deliveries, but you need to allow the ball to be released out of the back-off the hand and down the pitch. Because you’ve spun the ball hard in towards yourself, as you look at it, it will have forward spin, but as the batsman sees the ball, it will have back-spin.

The seam should be dead straight and the back-spin will mean that the ball will hold its trajectory through the air far longer than your stock ball, so if bowled as a variation, the batsman will be expecting the ball to dip in the same way that your Leg Break should landing several feet in front of him. Instead the Orthodox Back-Spinner will land on a fuller length potentially catching the batsman out. Additionally with a perfectly upright seam there’s the potential that like the Flipper the ball may also swing? Finally, because of the upright seam and the back-spin the ball on hitting the wicket will stall and bounce irregularly. The suggestion is that a back-spinning ball will in most instances stay low and sneak under the bat where the batsman might be playing for a Leg Break and far more bounce. My own experience is that the bounce is irregular and dependent on a number of variables the ball will sometime rear up rather than stay low. Needless to say, all of this is subject to experimentation and trying it out to see what happens in your own situation.

In my opinion this is possibly the most difficult of all the deliveries because of the acute angle of the wrist required in the delivery. With practice using the Inward Spinning Drill you’ll get a feel for it. Once you’ve got a sense of being able to do that with a good degree of control – take it outside and flick the ball up in the air and forwards either against a wall to watch how the ball spins on hitting the wall or off of the flat ground. You should be able to propel the ball forwards and observe that it then bounces back towards you. This is easy enough and looks very promising, but trying then to convert that into a full 22 yard delivery is another matter. A positive though that may come out of it though is, if you can get the accuracy and speed in the delivery and land it on a good length, you may find that attempting to get your wrist round so far with the inward flick, you’ll improve your Big Leg Break as the work that’s gone into learning the Orthodox Back-Spinner is an extension to the wrist position for the Big Leg Break. Another observation from people that bowl the Orthodox Back-Spinner and the Big Leg Break is that when these deliveries go wrong, the ball will come out of the hand with a scrambled seam and frequently land on the smooth surface of the ball and Slide On. Far from being a complete disaster, what you’ll end up doing is bowling an unintentional variation. Looked at in a positive manner you could argue that this is an attribute of bowling the Orthodox Back-Spinner?

Smoke and Mirrors
The difficulty in trying to establish the facts with regards the more obscure back-spinning deliveries is the fact that a key part of Spin Bowling strategy is the psychological aspect of the game. From the earliest days bowlers have claimed to possess a mystery ball and this is especially true of Spin Bowling. From the Internet………..

Here’s an article written by Bob Simpson who trained Warne in the early days.

A clever bluffer on the field, he didn't mind using the media to his advantage, especially at the start of each season when he'd announce the discovery of his latest "mystery ball".
His opponents would see the headlines everywhere about something that didn't exist. In reality, there was never a new trick, only a revamping of the name for Peter Philpott's "back spinning toppie".
Shane originally called it his zooter, now he calls it his slider and over the last decade or so the ball has brought him numerous lbw decisions. What there was, though, was a further improvement in his accuracy and flight. He was always fine-tuning his bowling and increasing his arsenal.

It has to be recognized that the popularity of Wrist Spinning and therefore the proliferation of these supposed new variations since the 1990’s is probably down to Warne as the article above indicates. The suggestion by Bob Simpson is that there never has been a Slider, Zooter or whatever and that the back-spinner that Warne bowled was always the Orthodox Back-Spinner. Warne and the team that surrounds him, be it trainers, captains, marketing men or the Australian cricket board have obviously been involved in hyping him up as much as possible. For instance in 2005 prior to, or during the matches in London a giant effigy of Warne was driven around the streets of London on the back of a lorry in an attempt to remind England, that ours was a lost cause.

Just type in 'Big Warnie' in Youtube and you'll get some sense of the extent Warnes marketing/propaganda machine used to go to.

There have been adverts, documentaries, books and articles throughout Warnes career that serve to remind everyone about his genius and proliferation of deadly variations. But some of his most powerful media weapons I reckon are those based around his associations with Mark Nicholas and Terry Jenner. There was for a while a clip from years ago of Warne doing his now familiar demo of his deliveries. The clip appeared to be no-where near as slick as the ones that he did much later in his career, but did feature Mark Nicholas in exactly the same role – asking questions of Warne and then Warne showing the kids. But then look in the background of this old clip and who else is there amongst the kids – some of the English batsmen! They appear to be there trying to learn and un-ravel what it is that Warne does, so that they can possibly hold out some hope of surviving against him next time around? It strikes me that in the great tradition of Wrist Spinners this would have given Warne the perfect opportunity to weave his web of deceit….. ‘Yeah I’ve got em all mate….. Leg Break, Toppie, Wrong Un, Orthodox Back-Spinner, Slider, Zooter, Flipper and the Zinger’. You can just see Graham Gooch walking back to the dressing room and telling the rest of the England blokes ‘He’s got variations coming out of every orifice’!!! But, if you go looking for these other variations you start to see a pattern arising. Certainly when they get mentioned in books by third parties – authors on the subject of cricket in a generic sense, invariably they’re mentioned in conjunction with a handful of names – Warne, Jenner, Benaud and Doug Ring. But mentioned in a manner that has no clarity or certainty, as Philpott mentioned earlier, most of these bowlers had at least 2 back-spinners, but they would never divulge their technique. The Flipper and Orthodox Back-Spinner perhaps?

So it does seem that all the other variations that go by a number of different names cannot be pinned down and verified in the same way as the two ‘Prime’ back-spin deliveries. Warne himself describes in videos and articles written by 3rd parties all of these newer variations in a number of different ways, contradicting himself and generally confusing the issue and establishing very little that can be described as concrete. He mentions them in a number of different ways, making references to bowlers in the 1950's who as Philpott writes were also in the business of keeping these deliveries secret as a part of their guile and strategy. It strikes me that the more you investigate, the more the truth becomes murkier when applied to the new variations.

The Zooter
The Zooter and The Slider are the two main contenders vying for recognition as deliveries in their own right with some kind of pedigree. Neither Grimmett or Philpott use the term Zooter to describe any of the established Wrist Spin deliveries. With Philpotts book being first published in 1995 there's the possibilty that the term Zooter isn't used within cricket until after this date. But towards the back of Philpotts book on page 112 in the 2006 edition in the advanced tactics chapter Philpott writes..........

5. The front foot commiter who wants to get down the track at you all the time: With 5, I would have kept on spinning hard over the top, throwing the ball up and gradually widening on him. But as the years went by, I would have zooted back-spinners at him, holding him back and hoping to frustrate him/or change his plan of attack, then thrown up the Top-spinning Leggie a little wider of the Off-Stump.
In the context of this paragraph, the word Zoot is used as a verb in conjunction with the bowling of the Orthodox Back-Spinner. This led me to looking into whether the word was an Australian slang word that combined two words such as Shoot and Zoom/Zip to create a potentially more dynamic and energetic word....... Zoot. One suggestion was made (with no substantiation) that, Philpott who works tirelessly even to this day with kids teaching them Wrist Spin, may have used the word coloquially/Slang style to engage kids with their bowling. Maybe adapting the use of Zooting the ball in to Zooter to describe the Orthodox Back-Spinner? The name, Orthodox Back-Spinner is a right mouthful and at best a bit dull when teaching small boys how to bowl wrist spin. It's easy to see that many people coming into contact with Philpott having that sense of being within the inner circle of Australian Spin history would readily adopt the esoteric language of their great master Philpott. So could this possibly be one explanation as to why people confuse the Orthodox Back-Spinner with the term Zooter and even use the description?

Evidence of the Zooter
We'll now look at my findings with regards some of these potential newer deliveries and the confusing array of descriptions that surround them. First we'll look at the Zooter and its descriptions. Again I have to reiterate that looking at all the books that I could lay my hands on I couldn’t find one single reference to the Zooter at all. Even Woolmers seminal works The Art and Science of Cricket omits the Zooter and in doing so casts derision on the premise that the Zooter is anything new. But, having said that I have to also point out that Woolmer doesn’t even mention the Orthodox Back-Spinner. The following section I’ve collated a series of descriptions of the Zooter and you’ll see that there’s a fairly consistent description of one method which bears no resemblance to the Orthodox Back-Spinner, but could be seen as a delivery in it’s own right………………

(1). Zooter: The grip - The ball is held much further back in the palm of the hand, which holds the ball back as you let it go. The delivery - The ball is pushed out the front of the hand, from the palm, and either floats or skids through the air, maybe swinging in a little. The seam is straight up and down and the zooter does not spin.

(2). Zooter: A type of ball bowled by a leg spin bowler, which has little or no spin on it. cf. armball.

(3). Zooterone of a leg spinner's subtler variations, this ball is slipped out of the hand without much spin imparted and tends to dip into the batsman. The term was coined by Shane Warne and his spin 'doctor' Terry Jenner, perhaps partly to enhance his mystique.

(4) Zooter: You have come to the right place, because I'm a legspinner, although not quite in the Shane Warne class (who is?). The flipper is a difficult-to-bowl delivery which is squeezed out under the wrist, with an action rather like that used to click the fingers. When it's bowled properly, the ball hurries on to the batsman, who can be beaten by the unexpected pace. Shane Warne has often dismissed Daryll Cullinan with this ball. Warne claims to have invented the "zooter", so we asked Mark Ray, the Australian journalist who helped write Warne's autobiography, how you bowl it. He said: "It's difficult to explain without drawings ... but basically the zooter comes out of the front of the hand, with the fingers running across it sideways, like a legbreak - but the ball is propelled more by the palm. It's not unlike a knuckle ball, but not as slow. The zooter does very little in the air or off the pitch - which is part of the point. It's not flatter like the flipper, which is under-spun - the zooter sort of wobbles down." So now we know!

(5). Zooter: Fifteen years ago words like slider, zooter, back-spinner and toppie never existed - that was until Shane wrapped his fingers around the seam of a cricket ball.

(6). Zooter - 11 % (A variation of the flipper, bowled by a leg-break bowler with little or no spin on it. Typically zoots along the ground with little bounce.)

(7). Zooter: A spin bowling variation, first devised by Shane Warne. This is a delivery that snakes out of the hand with little or no spin imparted, and so deceives through its very ordinariness. Some question whether the delivery has ever existed, for it could be another of Warne's mind-games to keep his opponents on their toes

(8). Zooter: As a fledgling leg-spinner, he was coached by Terry Jenner, Shane Warne's mentor. He was reminded of how Warne would often begin a tour by announcing a new mystery ball — the zooter, for instance. "Oh, that's just a slider," said Rashid, all matter of fact. "They're just the same ball with different names."

(9) Zooter: During the training for the tour of Sri Lanka, Shane basically relied on his big spinning leg breaks and flippers. He didn't bowl the googly, and his normal top-spinner was only fair. When I asked him if he knew how to bowl a top-spinner through the front of his fingers he seemed surprised. He seemed even more bemused when I said Peter Philpott, the respected Australian leg-spinner of the 1960s, called it his "back spinning toppie". I could never understand why either. Perhaps my aerodynamics weren't as good as Peter's. I showed Shane how it was done and while I thought it would probably take him six months to master it, he was bowling it in a Test match three weeks later.
A terrible irony of his life is that the media have sometimes come down hard on him, exploiting those moments when he let himself down off the field. I say `irony' because, being a clever bluffer on the field, he didn't mind using the media to his advantage, especially at the start of each season when he'd announce the discovery of his latest "mystery ball".
His opponents would see the headlines everywhere about something that didn't exist. In reality, there was never a new trick, only a revamping of the name for Peter Philpott's "back spinning toppie".
Shane originally called it his zooter, now he calls it his slider and over. The last decade or so the ball has brought him numerous lbw decisions. What there was, though, was a further improvement in his accuracy and flight. He was always fine-tuning his bowling and increasing his arsenal.

This last bit here by Bob Simpson (9) is probably the most telling. This to me supports my argument that the term Zooter is anomalous and that there isn't really a clear definition of it and the confusion is all a part of the Warne/Jenner propaganda machine. If the Zooter is indeed just another name for the Orthodox Back-Spinner like Bosie/Googly/Wrong Un, which I'm quite willing to accept, there seems to be an awful lot of people writing about it and getting it wrong with all those 'Non-Spinning, out of the front of the hand' descriptions? The Orthodox Back-Spinner is ripped off the fingers using the wrist to impart the flick like all of the classic Wrist Spinning deliveries, so why the confusion? Simple….. As it says on the Cricinfo website “Some question whether the delivery has ever existed, for it could be another of Warne's mind-games to keep his opponents on their toes”. I would suggest that indeed this is the case.

There seems to be some recognition of a delivery that has attributes similar to the Knuckle-Ball used in baseball. Indeed, many Spin Bowlers have toyed with the idea of adopting some of the techniques used in Baseball and Philpott amongst others advocates exploring such ideas. It could be the case that Warne has used a variant of the Knuckle ball and this is where this description of a straight ball being pushed off the palm of the hand comes from? If you look into the Knuckle ball, you’ll possibly find that its reported as having the weird property of ‘Wobbling’ through the air appearing to turn one way and then another through its trajectory. Further investigations explain this is due to the stitching pattern on the ball which is very much different to a cricket ball. Therefore the use of such a delivery is subject to personal investigation and experimentation.

The Slider
(10) The Slider: In cricket, a slider is a type of delivery bowled by a wrist spin bowler. Whereas a top-spinner is released with the thumb facing the batsman, a slider is bowled with the thumb facing the bowler. On release the wrist and ring finger work to impart backspin to the ball. A top-spinner tends to dip more quickly and bounce higher than a normal delivery. The slider does the opposite: it floats to a fuller length and bounces less than the batsman might expect. The classic slider heads with its seam aligned towards the batsman and may tend to swing in slightly. Sliders may also head towards the batsman with a scrambled seam (with the ball not spinning in the direction of the seam, so the seam direction is not constant, unlike in conventional spin bowling). This has less effect on the flight and bounce but absence of leg spin may deceive the batsman.

It is claimed that Shane Warne invented this type of delivery. However, this is inaccurate. The Australian spinner Peter Philpott used the technique in the 1960s, calling it simply an orthodox backspinner, while Australian all-rounder and captain Richie Benaud used what he called his 'sliding topspinner' which appears again to have been similar. Since he was taught the technique by Doug Ring, it may be more accurate to suggest that Ring is the originator. Either that, or the ball is one of those deliveries with no easily identifiable point of origin.
Although there is often a good deal of confusion on the subject, the slider is thought to be more or less an identical delivery to the "zooter".

(11) The Slider; How to bowl a slider This article is an extract from Spin Bowling Tips. Master the art of spin bowling with the most comprehensive eBook on spin bowling ever produced, available now at PitchVision Academy. The slider or back spinner is the reverse of the top-spinner. Instead of bouncing and kicking as the top-spinner does, the back spinner delivery will skid onto the batsman. This delivery is great for trying to trap the batsman LBW. Grip - The grip is exactly the same as the leg-spin stock delivery. Two fingers up and two fingers down with the thumb on or off the ball as preferred. Release - The ball releases the hand rotating backwards. It is essentially the reverse of the top spinner (explained in previous chapter). The thumb must face the batsmen and the side of the hand (on the little finger’s side) must face the bowler, but with the back the hand facing towards mid-wicket.

(12) The Slider: Slider is the delivery bowled by a Wrist spinner or a Leg Spinner and it is just the reverse of a Top-Spinner. The thumb faces the bowler in the slider delivery rather than facing the batsman as in Top-Spinner. The slider delivery floats to a fuller length and bounces less than the batsman might expect and also the ball skids towards the batsman making him difficult to connect.It is usually called as the terrific delivery for the Leg Before Wicket (LBW).It is claimed that the Spin legend Shane Warne of Australia invented this delivery.

(13) The Slider: This one is useful as it’s a section from the Pitch-Visions bloke and includes some decent images that explain the Orthodox Back-Spinner, but again and I can only summise that he’s chosen to call the Orthodox Back-Spinner a Slider because it just sounds sexier? Again, look at the webpage, look at the description and then go back to Philpotts The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling and you’ll see that this blokes Slider is in fact an Orthodox Back-Spinner, unless of course he’s got a book in print that precedes Philpotts and he can then potentially claim it as a Slider. See the link below………

(14) The Slider: The Slider: Well, generally a slider can be bowled with two different grips like it can be bowled with seam up and it can also be bowled with cross or scrambled seam. Most of the leg spin bowlers will choose to slide the ball with the seam up since it is easy to release or slide the ball from the edge of the fingers when it is seamed up rather than with the cross-seamed. E.g. Shane Warne has always bowled a slider with a seam up ball. Any ways grip the ball with the seam up in such a way that the two fingers index and middle has to be rested on the seam. The other two fingers thumb and ring has to be rested on both leather sides of the cricket ball. Now the bowling action will be similar to just as leg break bowling. Like the arm has to be at an angle of 45 degrees such that the back of the palm has to face towards the sky just like as seam bowling and thumb facing towards the bowler. Here you need to understand that the ball will not be released from back of the hand like googly, it simply comes out or slips out from edge of the fingers (from front of the hand) with the seam rotating in back direction just like as we see in seam bowling. Now when you release a ball from edge of the fingers, the fingers should be able to drag the seam in down or back direction such that there should be no spin on the ball. At the end of the day the ball after hitting the pitch will have to slide by holding its same line with out any spin. Similarly to bowl a slider with scrambled seam we need to just follow the same above application. But at the end of the day a genuine and smooth slider can be always bowled with the seam up.

(15) The Slider: Slider - A real wicket-taker for Shane Warne in his twilight years, the slider is basically the opposite of a top-spinner. It has a fuller length and bounces a lot less than expected. The slider is achieved with the thumb facing the bowler, the ring finger providing a substantial part of the spin, and the ball being released from the front of the hand.

Slider conclusion

Again, you can see that like the Zooter, the Sliders origins and existence are as equally as murky. Description (11) from Wikipedia immediately states that it (Slider) is in fact The Orthodox Back-Spinner and its description is that of Philpotts ball. The conclusion at the end suggesting that the ‘Ball is one of those deliveries with no identifiable point of origin’. Entry No.15 is interesting again in exactly the same way that No.4 is. This website (No.6) describes all the Wrist Spin deliveries with a degree of reasonable knowledge listing them all, but instead of listing the Orthodox Back-Spinner by its real name, the bloke opts to call it the Slider. I was going to go through a number of websites, but to be honest they’re all virtually identical and almost without exception include the phrase ‘It’s the opposite of the Top Spinner with the Thumb facing the bowler in the delivery’, which basically tells you it is the Orthodox Back-Spinner.

So, I’m now moving towards a final conclusion, which I think I’ve offered enough evidence of and that is........... When it comes down to it the Orthodox Back Spinner (first recorded properly by Philpott) is exactly the same as Bosanquets Off-spinning delivery in that it no longer has one fixed name. Bosanquets ball is the Wrong Un/Googly/Bosie with Bosie seemingly being the most obscure term used for it, and possibly the original name? Philpotts ball is the Zooter/Slider/Orthodox Back-Spinner with the last name seemingly like the title 'Bosie' gradually disappearing into obscurity despite the fact that this is the deliveries real name.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that, in the same way Christopher Columbus wasn’t the first European to discover the USA, Peter Philpott probably wasn’t the bloke that invented the Orthodox Back-Spinner. In his own book Philpott writes about the existence of Back-Spinners over the period between Grimmett and himself……….

Outstanding Wrist Spinners since Grimmett have all developed their back-spinner, some innovative ones amongst them, and almost all these bowlers have persistently refused to discuss the mechanics of such deliveries. That's how important they were to them, and perhaps explains why so many non-wrist spin cricketers were and are totally ignorant of them.
He then goes on to virtually credit the ball to Benaud………….

Despite the innovators, however most Leg-Spinners have relied on the Orthodox Back-Spinner. This is the one I referred to with Richie Benaud, a delivery he bowled superbly and, at times almost used as a stock ball.
Peter Philpott; The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling; Crowood Press Ltd, Marlborough; 1995.

Again it’s clear that the origins of the Orthodox Back-Spinner like most deliveries are obscure, but as first mentioned at the start of this piece in order to pin the delivery down in an academic sense you need to find the first recorded definitive account of the ball in detail and despite the fact that Grimmett wrote three books, one of which includes the Flipper descriptions and probably some of the earliest accounts of the Wrong Un, Top-Spinner and Leg Break, there is no mention of an Orthodox Back-Spinner. The next easily traceable mention of a Back-Spinning delivery other than a Flipper is the story of Doug Ring showing Benuad a back-spinner……….

After the Lord's Test of 1953, Doug Ring picked up an apple on a train journey and showed a young Richie Benaud how he bowled the slider, pushed out of the front of the hand between the second and third fingers. And there, in essence, was Warne's armoury: the original legspinner and top-spinner, the googly, the flipper and the slider.

Interestingly this delivery doesn’t conform to the description of the Orthodox Back-Spinner as this delivery comes out of the front of the hand unlike the Orthodox Back-Spinner which comes out of the back of the hand and this delivery is credited with the name Slider making it very different to the Orthodox Back-Spinner. But, we’ll never know whether this explanation was called a Slider at the time and if it did, indeed differ from the Orthodox Back-Spinner. And besides that, Doug Ring and Benaud unlike Peter Philpott who followed them never committed an explanation and description of the delivery to text, at least not in a published and edited book. It then seems that just as we’re getting to a point where there may be some indication of an eminent bowler bowling a different ball and accrediting it with the name Slider you only have to dig around the internet and find other accounts that contradict the Doug Ring story above………

While Australian allrounder and captain Richie Benaud used what he called his 'sliding topspinner' which appears again to have been similar. Since he was taught the technique by Doug Ring, it may be more accurate to suggest that Mr Ring is the originator. Either that, or the ball is one of those deliveries with no easy to identify point of origin.
The slider (a straight ball delivered from the front of the hand) is to be compared with the zooter (a straight ball delivered out of the back of the hand).

So, just as we’re about to get our teeth into something different – “the slider, pushed out of the front of the hand between the second and third fingers”. Further investigation muddies the waters again. I must admit, I’m not a big fan of Benaud and have read little on him, so I’m not sure as to whether he ever committed descriptions of his deliveries to text, but I’m fairly certain he never did.

The Real Mystery Balls
Prejudices aside though, I like the account of Benauds Slider, it sounds like the ball that I refer to as the Mickey Mouse Slider alluding to the fact that it’s an easily learned bastardised variation of the real thing. How I came across this, I don’t know, but it may well have been the account above. I’ve also heard Warne describe this delivery too and had discussions with people all round the world on forums who also relay the same experience and anecdotal references to Warne speaking about it. Throughout this research and putting this piece together I’ve noticed that there have been two descriptions that pop up here and there that allude to two mystery balls that get accredited with the name Zooter and Slider and yet their descriptions differ fundamentally to the Orthodox Back-Spinner which as we all know is a stable-mate of the Top-Spinner, Leg break, and Wrong Un as they all use the same grip configuration, wrist action and flick to impart the spin. My take on the Slider prior to writing this piece was that one of its key features was that – on hitting the surface of the pitch the ball would ‘Slide through’ rather than respond in an adverse way caused by hitting the seam. I always thought of the Slider as a ball that by design would hit the smooth surface of the ball more than it would the seam? Neither the Orthodox Back-Spinner or the Flipper if bowled correctly would do this and therefore the term Slider used in conjunction with these deliveries – especially the Orthodox Back-Spinner is wholly anomalous as far as I'm concerned.

The only descriptions of deliveries that I’ve seen described consistently with enough evidence to suggest that they would land on the smooth surface of the ball and therefore slide through and perhaps therefore merit being assigned the title of either The Slider or The Zooter are the Palm Ball (No.1) and the Fingers Rolled down the back delivery (Doug Ring/Benaud train journey account). These techniques could be adopted and described as genuine deliveries and incorporated into the Wrist Spin Bowlers armoury. The Benaud/Ring delivery which Warne had described before as having used, which I refer to as the Mickey Mouse Slider is this –

The Mickey Mouse Slider: Holding the ball using the two up two down grip, have all the fingers in place to bowl a Leg Break, but through the bowling action straighten the cocked wrist smoothly (Not a flick) and position the wrist ready to bowl a seamers ball by dragging the two up fingers down the back of the ball to impart the spin, the fingers will be across the seam and the seam will rotate over itself or come out scrambled. With this delivery there’s potential for the ball because of the seam presentation - for the ball to land hitting the seam sideways in which case the ball will bounce in an unpredictable manner or the ball will land on the smooth part of the ball and slide through. This allows a much faster flatter delivery that, because of the back-spin slides in and keeps low with the added potential of doing something unusual if it comes into contact with the scrambled seam.

Before writing this article this is the ball I always thought was a Slider by design. There are other potential Sliders which are accidental deliveries which come about through trying to bowl The Big Leg Break and the Orthodox Back-Spinner both of which are exceptionally difficult deliveries to master. In practice both in games and during training at all levels I believe that anyone attempting to bowl perfect deliveries of the ‘Advanced’ variations – (Big Leg Break and the Orthodox Back-Spinner) the execution is going to go wrong and the ball wont land on the seam and in these incidences the ball will Slide through. In these cases if the ball does something unusual you’re just simply going to claim it as one of your many variations and because of it’s attributes these accidental deliveries could be claimed as ‘Sliders’ in the generic sense of the term?

The other contender for a completely new variation is the one that conforms to the description here which crops up again and again being described as a Zooter. Again if we’re going to stick with the premise that the Zooter and the Slider are indeed different names for the Orthodox Back-Spinner, this ball here which is completely different but seemingly used by Warne needs to be assigned a name and described in detail by a professional in a book in order that it’s verified as a legitimate delivery…………….

The Un-named variation ; From Shane Warne’s biographer………. Basically this ball comes out of the front of the hand, with the fingers running across it sideways, like a legbreak - but the ball is propelled more by the palm. It's not unlike a knuckle ball, but not as slow. This delivery does very little in the air or off the pitch - which is part of the point. It sort of wobbles down.

These two obscure deliveries were the ones that I was hoping would prove to be the real contenders for the Slider and the Zooter, but all the evidence that I’ve been able to collate as previously mentioned point to the conclusion I’ve already made. So it seems as though these two deliveries could well be legitimate and useful deliveries with their place amongst a Wrist Spinner armoury, but as yet no-one has seen fit to describe them in a book and therefore are evolutionary balls.

Update 26th April 2012 - I've just come across this video on youtube whilst researching Drift and at the very end Warne describes a slow motion clip of him bowling one of these weird variations

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Back-Spinner update

I'm back on the case of updating the Leg-Spin bowling blog and I'm just in the process of updating the section on the Back-Spinners. I've simply re-vamped for the moment the post from a couple of days ago and added an intro which rationalises my approach to my conclusions.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Paddock News

I haven't said a lot about the paddock of late, but a week or so it was looking in very good condition, with that expensive grass that I'd invested in with the nutrients mixed in with the seed doing very well. The growth is thick and lush and looks as though it's very well established and in a very short period of time. Today though we had some snow, in fact we had a lot of snow considering it's only November, more than the 1980's when we used to get snow quite a bit, but this was good quality snow and lots of it.
With the quality of the snow being so good we went for Igloo MK2 and had a go at improving on the previous version from last January. We didn't get it finished, but we'll be back on it again with Mk3 and we've got plans in place for a more successful outcome.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Back yard cricket

Had a knock about yesterday as you may have read in the previous blog and I need to post up the bowling outcomes. I've backed-off with the insistence that we keep practicing all through the winter and we've started to play Badminton instead after a discussion about over-kill on one of the forums. So at the minute there's very little cricket going on with my lads and yesterday was the first time we'd picked up bats on balls for 2 weeks. Me - I still flick the ball and get outside and spin the ball up against walls and bowl whenever I get a chance.

Here's the running total -
Here's some shots of Ben and joe looking a bit knackered after and hour and half of Badmintion. They (especially Ben) would say that they like Badminton more than cricket, but I'm hoping that's just because of the novelty factor. The badminton is on-going for the forsee-able future and I can't see that the weather will offer any encouragement for cricket so I'm quite happy that the Badminton carries on and the cricket fades away a bit, meaning that when winter nets resumes they'll be up for it. My only worry is that not practicing, they may be disappointed with their performance when they come back to it?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Left Handers Freak me out!

Bloody left handed batsmen! Jesus they freak me out. Despite the fact it's the end of November we're still getting out on the odd ocassion with the bat and ball just have a bit of a knockabout and we did so today with my mate Thomas from way back in the day when this blog was first conceived. He doesn't play cricket and hasn't picked up a bat in years, but he recently knackered his knee (Football) and has been scratching around for a game to play where he's not going to be chopped down whilst having a friendly game, so he's looking at picking up where he left off a few years back. He's a leftie, bowls pretty good Chinaman Leg Breaks ocassionally - but the thing he enjoys is batting as he's got very good eye to ball coordination and he gets on to the ball late and quick. He has no technique, but against my slow bowling and the fact that he's left handed he takes me to pieces!

So today having got a few years of bowling under my belt and trying to ignore the fact that Left - Handers are my nemisis, I thought I might be able to get one over on him? No such luck! I'm going to make some excuses - it was wet and therefore I wasn't getting a lot of grip under-foot and......... No, that's it - one excuse.

Seriously though the Leg Breaks weren't working, he was just waiting to see where they were going and how much turn they had on them and just stepping back and hooking them out to the gap between square leg and Mid wicket ALONG THE GROUND!!! The wrong uns looked as though they'd be okay and I got a couple past him, but on reflection, maybe my length wasn't that good either. Thinking about it - mixing it up a bit may have paid off - Top-Spinners and Flippers right on the stumps might be an option? I'm hoping he's up for some more, because the more I bowl at Lefties the better and he's a much faster bowler than my sons and there's scope for my batting to improve.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Grip, flick and release

Another updated section of the revamped blog - still work in progress but with a lot more information and ideas.

Leg Spin bowling - The Grip
From the No.1 Leg Spin web page - the new updated section in progress.

This is work in progress being edited frequently.

The Grip, flick and release

The Wrist Spinners grip across all the variations is pretty much the same and conforms to a basic template. This grip (As seen below diagram 1) is referred to by Shane Warne as the 2 fingers up, 2 fingers down technique as seen here below.

Two Fingers Up – Two Fingers Down

Dependent on the size of your hands in relation to the ball size, your own grip may not match this image. Indeed the idea of the 2 up 2 down finger configuration is a template for a basic starting point. Many people bowl with slightly different looking grips, but in a roundabout manner they are normally modelled on this version. All of the Key Wrist Spinners say that, there is no regulation grip and that if people grip the ball in a slightly idiosyncratic manner and still get the ball to produce a good leg break they shouldn't really mess with their technique. But, if you're starting as a beginner in the art of Wrist Spinning, this image above will serve as a good starting point.

The 3rd Finger – Contact on the Ball

The most important aspect of the grip though is the position of the 3rd finger on the seam. It's the 3rd finger and its contact with the seam that is used to impart the spin on the ball. When you release the ball in the bowling action, your 3rd finger is the last point of contact as it's flicked from the hand using that finger to put the revs on the ball. The contact therefore needs to be deliberate and positive and along the seam. In fact if you experiment with this using any ball, the more contact you get on the ball with the finger the better. If you have bigger hands and longer fingers there’s potential for you to be able to produce more revs? The principle being similar to that of wrapping the string round a spinning top and pulling it, the longer the string the more contact with the top as it’s pulled. A short length of string would only impart a limited amount of whip on the top, in the same way as shorter stubbie fingers would only allow limited contact with the ball before it finally leaves the end of the fingers. The remaining '2 Up' fingers go across the seam. The thumb generally rests on the ball having varying amounts of contact differing from one person to another. Again, depending on each individuals grip and the way that they release the ball, some people may find that their thumb is lesser or more important in the grip and release, but generally the thumb plays very little part in the action.

How hard do you grip the ball?

Most of the advice with regards the grip and how hard you should grip it is standard - in that you shouldn't grip the ball too hard. The logic behind this advice is that when you execute your Leg Break correctly – as a whole body action, the bowling action is usually performed in a smooth fluid motion where all of your 'Levers' work in unison with each other to deliver the ball. Tension within the bowling action at any point tends to lead to problems with inaccuracy and the classic dragging of the ball down short. So a tight grip on the ball is seen to be non-productive and potentially a cause of problems with your bowling.

Where in the hand should the ball sit?

With regards how and where the ball sits in your hands - especially if you have large hands will be down to trial and error. I personally use differing positions in the hand to affect variations. I bowl a smaller turning ball that is bowled faster using a slightly harder grip, much higher in the fingers pretty much as in the image above (A). But my basic Leg Break is bowled with the ball lower in the hand and sitting cupped loosely in the palm. This aspect of your bowling is well worth examining, especially if you’re not getting it to turn that well and you feel all the other aspects of your bowling action are pretty sound.

Variants of the Leg Break

The Leg Break we understand is our primary weapon against the Batsman and is described as our Stock Ball meaning that this is the ball that we bowl the majority of the time in our pursuit of wickets. But being our Stock Ball this doesn’t mean that the Leg Break is a one dimensional delivery that is bowled in exactly the same way each time. The Leg Break, once mastered has an array of subtle variations that on their own will suffice against most batsman and it’s these subtleties that stand as an argument for there not being a case for spending months if not years, learning all the other variations such as Top-Spinners, Wrong Un’s and Sliders.

At this juncture I’m going to somewhat controversially suggest that the Leg Break as a variation is a ball that is released from the hand with the scope to be directed in a range of directions through almost 180 degrees. At either end of the 180 degree range you have two of your other variations the Top-Spinner and the Slider. This proposition is met with derision in most quarters, but you have only got to get yourself a ball that has some grip attributes to simulate a seam and throw the ball forwards with angled backspin on it and you’ll see the potential for massive turn. Grimmett understood the potential for the amount of ‘Break’ to vary through a span of 90 degrees back in 1930 when he wrote in ‘Getting Wickets’……….

The amount of break and swerve (Drift) may be regulated, but it requires years of practice. The principle of regulation of the break or swerve seems simple, but its application is much less easy. If a bowler wants to make the ball break from the leg, he must propel it in the direction of the batsman, at the same time turning or rolling the ball over his fingers in the direction of the slips.

If he holds the ball so that the seam comes in contact comes in contact with his first two fingers and his thumb, and holds his arm out at 45 degrees from his body, he will find that the seam will point practically straight down the wicket. As a further guide to what is meant, the palm of the hand would be facing mid –on, level with the bowlers wicket. If the ball were twisted or spun, so that the seam went round like a hoop, he would find that the ball would not break, but go straight through. It would however, have what is called “Overspin” and, after striking the pitch gather pace as the spin took effect.

Go a step farther by assuming the previous position, but, instead of having the palm of the hand facing mid-on, shift the seam so that it is pointing towards the slips. If the ball is now twisted, the spin will be in the direction of the slips while travelling through the air. Consequently, after pitching, it will change its direction to that which the seam is revolving – towards the slips. We therefore have a Leg Break, and so the farther the wrist is brought round, until the palm of the hand is facing the batsman at the moment the ball leaves the hand, the bigger the break which thus can be controlled; the maximum is when the palm of the hand faces the batsman, giving a spin directly across the line of flight.

Grimmetts explanation alludes to the limits of the Leg Break being restricted to a variation of 90 degrees, ranging from the Top-Spinner to the Leg Break bowled so that the ball spins from the hand rotating at right angles to its direction of flight. It appears that at this point Grimmett was either ignorant of the potential for the back-spinning slider or disregarded it, so Grimmett fails to pick up on the possibility of turning the wrist further still from the perpendicular spinning Leg Break to one that is delivered with increasing degrees of backspin moving towards being a Slider.

Grimmett then goes on to explain how these principles can be demonstrated by the Lay Person by putting spin on the ball by –

The ball is held between the finger and the thumb, and I spin it or twist it a short distance – say, eight or ten yards. The method of spinning is similar to that used in clicking the finger and thumb to attract attention. It is possible to make the ball do four different things with exactly the same spin, simply by holding the wrist in a different position.

This is the first recorded description by anyone of the Flipper and furthermore Grimmett describes it in 4 different variants – Top, Leg, Off and back-spinner. (Page 59-60 Getting wickets). It strikes me as being unusual that Grimmett describes a method of projecting the ball forwards and being able to spin the ball in all directions (Round the loop) including backwards and no doubt with differing degrees of backspin and side spin, but seemingly fails to see its potential. Grimmett would conduct demonstrations at the drop of a hat using table tennis balls showing the results of his experiments with the spinning ball and how it reacted when coming into contact with a surface. Surely Grimmett would have observed the affects of the combination of forward motion with back and sidespin as this is the combination that produces the most dramatic side-spin combined with stalling and the Sliding In - characteristic of the Slider and the Big Leg Break? But we’ll come back to this theory later in this section.

From Grimmetts ‘Getting Wickets’ 1930…………….

If a bowler wants to make the ball break from the leg, he must propel it in the direction of the batsman, at the same time turning or rolling the ball over his fingers in the direction of the slips.

Rolling or Ripping?

As there is so little written on the subject of Wrist Spinnning other than Grimmetts 3 books, Philpotts Bible and the more recent tome written by Bob Woolmer which references Grimmett and his genius, there’s little of the potential discussion around rolling the ball off the fingers and ripping the ball out of the fingers. I heard recently that the two distinctly differing techniques were attributable to being The English way and the Australian way. Rolling being the English approach and ripping being the Aussie approach. My research would suggest the idea of ripping the ball out of the fingers isn’t something that is so Australian that it goes back as far as Grimmett and that maybe it’s a fairly new approach. The idea of the rolling being the English approach comes from a book by or about Ian Peebles which was written back in, so this would then suggest that Ripping The ball off the fingers goes back at least that far and without having read any of the biographies/autobiographies of all the Wrist Spinners I’m ignorant as to when this may have been first mentioned?

The modern mantra is the Australian way, as soon as you pick the ball up with the intention of being a Wrist Spinner you should be looking to rip the ball out of the fingers spinning it hard. The advice is that spinning the ball hard is first and foremost and that issues such as line, length, flight are secondary to the ability to get the ball spinning.

Peter Philpott in ‘The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling’

Every chance you get, spin a ball – tennis ball, cricket ball, table tennis ball, hockey ball. Any ball. Apples and oranges should be spun too. Spin them a hundred times before you eat them, and they’ll always taste a little better! Spin the ball in front of the television. Spin it in the garden. Spin it before you go to bed. Try to spin harder and harder. Try to feel what I mean when I say give it a real flick!

So now we’re looking at whether as individuals we’re Flickers or Rollers? When you start out unless of course you’re one of those exceptionally rare and gifted individuals, you’re more likely to be a Roller. There’s a lot of discussion on the Merits of learning as a Ripper as opposed to learning as a Roller. As a Roller you’re more than likely going to be able to make the ball break and land it on a reasonable line and length with a degree of practice, but then you’re going to reach a point in your development as a Wrist Spinner where you’re going to want to turn the ball more – you may have been dropped from your team or you may be seeing that you’re getting less overs, or your figures reflect the fact that you’re simply not an attacking bowler as a Wrist Spinner should be?

If you’re a good roller that incorporates all of the Wrist Spinners wider skills you’ll get by, but anyone looking to take their bowling to the next level needs to embrace the Australian mantra of Ripping the ball out of the fingers with a big flick. The downside is that for most, the dynamics of this action are such that the level of practice that is required to execute such a release with the control required to land the ball on the right line and length, are extraordinarily difficult taking many years to perfect.

Again from Philpott…

Now go away and bowl for a few years. Bowl anywhere – in the backyard, in the street, in the nets, in matches. Just bowl. And spin, spin, spin! And love it.

The consensus amongst higher levels of coaches and professional Wrist Spinners is that if you’re looking to become a spinner you should start out with the intention of bowling with the Big Flick, trying to put as many revs on the ball as is physically possible at the outset with very little regard for where the ball lands (Line and length). Rip the ball first and work on all the other aspects later.

Rolling and Ripping – Three different approaches

If you’re starting out on your own big Wrist Spinning adventure, you have to accept one thing and that is, it’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to happen over night. Many hours will be required over a period of years as opposed to months and you’ll have to negotiate many barriers as you go along, one of which will be the ripper or roller conundrum.

Many people will come to the discipline from another bowling background and would have enjoyed an experience beforehand where they would have been able to bowl the ball on a reasonable line and length. I suspect that these converts will get on well with being rollers and they will find some pleasing results with being able to get the ball to turn off the wicket with relative ease. This next section will describe three different approaches that I’ve used in order to produce a Leg Break all of which work to some extent. I’m going to start with real Leg Break because as a purist this is what you should be aiming to do from the outset and I’ll be towing the party line on the big rip mantra…..

The real Leg Break with the big flick

My feeling is that with the improvement in communication over the last 40 years information is being disseminated more effectively and we’re all now aware of the potential of the Leg Break. In Grimmetts day his books and other written forms of communication would have been the way in which anyone trying to learn the art would have gleaned their information. Whereas for us in the internet age and with tele-visual communication systems, we’re all able to access footage of Shane Warnes ball to Mike Gatting and numerous balls thereafter. We know the potential and Warne has set the bench mark against which all of us will be judged. It’s that type of delivery that we’re all looking to be able to produce at will.

So, where did that ball come from? How did Shane Warne produce that ball? Why had no-one else prior to that moment done anything so amazing and how did he do it? Bob Woolmer in his book The Art & Science of Cricket hypothesises as to how the ball was delivered, looking at seam presentation, trajectory, speed and their impact on how the ball drifted through the air and why it turned so much. Much of it is basic Peter Philpott stuff, with the addition of some evidence gleaned from experiments conducted looking at the physics of spinning cricket balls and the impact of the seam on air-flow across the ball. Woolmers conclusion is that the ball was delivered with the seam almost perpendicular to the direction of flight, with the seam slightly angled forwards on the off-side but, the axis of the spinning seam wasn’t upright but angled backwards when seen from above. This aspect of having the seam angled backwards is integral in getting the ball to drift as much as it did and as late as it did. All of which when it comes down to it is pretty basic and straight out of Philpotts book apart from the axis of the seam in flight.

Peter Philpott……….

Stand side-on in a bowling position with left shoulder facing your target (Stumps). Now, using the Leg Break action we been employing, spin the ball square across the target from right to left – the direction of the spin would be towards point if the fieldsman were there. As the ball hits the ground, it will turn in the direction of the spin; but not square, not at right angles, for its forward momentum will decrease the angle of turn. But even so, this will be the largest angled Leg Break that you will try to have available in your repertoire. That is your ‘Big Leg Break’.

Philpott makes it clear in this description that he feels that there is no benefit from releasing the ball with perfect 90 degree seam presentation in relation to the direction of flight, yet, the illustrations that accompany the description show a perfectly presented 90 degree seam. Philpott clearly directs us to angle the seam towards point arguing that the ball will turn more effectively if the seam is already spinning in that direction. A 90 degree seam he tells us will be negated by the forward motion.

We therefore can conclude that if we’re aiming to bowl a Big Leg Break we need to be working with the seam almost bowling at 90 degrees to the direction of flight. It seems logical that the nearer we get to the 90 degree seam presentation the more likely the spin will be negated by the forward motion, but this is hypothesis that needs to be quantified by experimentation. In the shorter term a ball with a less extreme seam presentation is obviously going to give us lesser degrees of turn off the wicket and this gives us the potential to produce Leg Breaks of differing amounts of turn and therein lies one aspect of variation within one delivery.

The success of this delivery and its dynamic response on making contact with the wicket is down to how fast the ball is rotating……. How well you rip it from the fingers making it spin hard. So not only have you got to release the ball with some control over where the seam is pointing and how tilted forwards or backwards the seam is as it leaves the hand to effect drift, but you’ve also got to combine the violent flick of your wrist with the perfect timing and whiplash affect flicking the ball from the fingers ensuring that the contact time the balls seam has along the length of the fingers is extended for as long as possible in order to make best use of the Spinning Top whip affect.

In theory this is fine in execution it’s a tad more problematic.

Woolmer on the other hand

The real leg break requires the big flick. Look at the earlier explanations regarding the throwing of the ball from one hand to the other and the video on-line at . As you work on this and get used to the feeling you’ll soon begin to develop an action where rather than just rolling your hand over and round the ball you’ll begin to produce an action more akin to a flick. hopefully this flick will incorporate the use of the 3rd finger, the wrist, the elbow and shoulder in putting the spin on the ball. Again the exact way in which this is done varies from person to person, some people note that the amount of work that the 3rd finger does is such that it produces blisters, Shane Warne apparently was able to produce his spin without having blisters or callouses at all. The important thing is that the flick is there. My own version creates an audible sound not unlike the Flippers click as the ball is flicked off my 3rd finger. In trying to understand the wrist flick and the role the 3rd finger plays my own experience is that the sensation that I have is that I’m primarily bowling the ball off the 3rd and 4th fingers, the rest of my hand apart from the wrist has very little involvement in getting the ball to spin, the thumb and the 2 up fingers only support the ball in holding the ball poised against the fingers that impart the spin.

To see the emphasis and action of the 3rd finger on the ball watch the two sequences of Shane Warne in this video in high quality (HQ).

When learning this, note the sideways action of the ball being thrown from one hand across the body to the other right to left with the flick. This is the basis of the leg break with the big flick. This is the action that gives you the flick coupled with imparting spin off the 3rd finger.

Similarly with the other versions the hand still releases the ball with the *palm facing the batsman, the ball should leave the hand rotating anti-clockwise with the seam at right angles to the direction of flight so that when the ball hits the ground the seam bites and propels the ball towards the off-side away from it’s expected trajectory. You may find that with this variation that your thumb is instrumental in some way and holds the ball in the hand so that the ball is tucked up ready against the 3rd finger on release as the ball is released the hand closes around the thumb. With all these slight variations and approaches there is one consistent aspect and that’s the position of the wrist on release. The underside of your wrist with the veins needs to be
facing the batsman on release.

The grip therefore is important in getting the ball to spin in the way that wrist spinners do. A good wrist spinner is able to impart so much spin on the ball that, as it flies through the air it hums

Here's a still from where you can see that the last point of contact is Warnes 3rd finger.

Again below, but not quite so clear is this screen grab from the Cloverdale series

Three Different Approaches to bowling this delivery

I suppose I should tow the party line on Wrist Spinning and advocate the Aussie way and say that it is of utmost importance to spin the ball hard and learn to do so before anything else. I've had discussions with many people about whether there is any merit in establishing first, whether you can actually bowl at all, e.g. straight and there are big differences in opinion. If, you read both Grimmetts and Philpotts books, the premise is that the books are for boys looking to bowl wrist spin, but there is a tacit understanding that, at the 1st stages in the process, your raw material is a boy that can bowl. I would still argue, that even before you start to try and spin the ball you should have a basic ability to bowl the ball seam up with a side on action and a regulation bound. This action should then enable you to get the ball to batsman with a degree of acceptable accuracy.

I would say that, if you're there you can then go forward with all the instructions with regards to spinning the ball hard. The foundations to your bowling are there and you can now build on them. I would imagine that if you've got those fundamentals already in place you're in a good position to go forwards

The Straight Ball with the drag off the 3rd finger
The Cocked Wrist with the straightening of the hand at release
The real leg break with the flick

The Straight Ball with the drag off the 3rd finger

If you are struggling with the Leg Break, one approach is to bowl the ball with the palm of the hand at the point of release facing the batsman. As the ball leaves the hand the last part of the hand that has contact with the ball is the 3rd finger and it’s this that imparts the spin. This approach seemingly doesn’t use any or minimal wrist action but still produces a small leg break with a good degree of bounce. Some people say that as you bring the ball over you should also have a feeling that you’re pushing the ball forward out of your hand rather than flinging it. Also try turning the wrist slightly clockwise so that your thumb comes round towards you and the little finger moves towards the bat so that the hand starts to move towards being in the Karate Chop position. You’ll notice that this small variation in the wrist position will affect the spin and the bounce. This approach would probably fit Philpotts description of you 'Rolling the ball' rather than ripping the ball out of the hand.

The unfurled cocked wrist approach

Many wrist spinners you’ll note will start with their wrists cocked at the start of the delivery and then release the ball with the hand in the ‘Traffic Cop’ position on release. Again if you’re having problems getting your Leg Break together this is an approach that you may want to explore that could potentially lead to a break through or an improvement. The unfurling of the cocked wrist to the ‘Traffic cop’ position with the palm facing the batsman on release involves a degree of wrist flick and incorporates the 3rd finger as the last point of contact on the ball thus producing the spin. You only have to do this gently over a couple yards so that you can step forward and catch the ball yourself and you can see how readily the ball comes out of the hand rotating perfectly with the seam rotating at right angles to the direction of flight. Again this isn't quite the 'Ripping' phase, but it's an intermediate approach that will produce a Leg Break for many people.

At this point I need to mention anomalies in the ability to carry out complex motor activities despite the ability to mentally formulate the action. We've seen the need to present the hand in the manner as indicated by the images and we understand that in order to release the ball with the seam spinning approx 70-80 degrees to the direction of flight or thereabouts to obtain maximum turn off the wicket, there can be difficulties in executing this action. Without the use of high speed video recording we're unable to see exactly what it is we're doing as we release the ball. If your motor coordination is perfect, you're not going to have a problem, you'll release the ball in the manner as intended and it will spin in the direction as imparted by the flick and the position of the wrist. The subtleties of the wrist position dictate whether you're going to bowl the Leg Break with differing degrees of over-spin or side spin. If you're able to formulate the action prior to bowling and then execute the delivery with accuracy and consistency you've probably got extraordinarily good fine motor skills. I would suggest that if you do have this kind of control over your Leg Break you should follow all of the guidance with regards to learning how to bowl the Googly e.g. do so with due care and attention to your Leg Break, do not over do the learning of the leg break see The consequence of over doing it when learning the Googly is that you end up losing the Leg Break (Googly Syndrome) and my own anecdotal experience to date would suggest that it seems to have an extremely detrimental affect on your ability to contol your Leg Break release (Fine Motor skills). For further reference see the links at the bottom of the page with regards the grip.

The Grip and Release

As you’ll have read earlier there are schools of thought with regards the grip/release ideas, unfortunately it’s difficult to get real one to one coaching with a good wrist spinner, so like me a lot of us have to muddle through it as best we can and for the most part we do so and we get by. I’ve found that even if you’ve got someone within your club who also bowls wrist spin you’ll probably find that they’re either not that forthcoming with the info you’re after or that they’re simply not good teachers for one reason or another. The mantra when reading about the release is that of ‘Give it a big flick’ and to ‘Rip’ the ball off the fingers and not to roll it.

It’s at this point that we have to go back to the fact that all the experts and some amateurs like myself will tell you that you need to think of your development as a wrist spinner as a 4 year + project. Think also about the fact that when people like Benaud, Jenner, Warne talk about this time frame they are probably talking in terms of doing this in an Old Skool environment where you didn’t have the kind of distractions we have these days and that a lot of their spare time (Remember too these people are all Australians so have the weather for it) was probably spent developing their skills.

My suspicion is that the majority of Leg Spin bowlers that I’ve ever come across with the exception of one or two ‘Roll’ the ball off the fingers. Indeed if the truth be known I believe I’m a roller rather than Ripper of the ball the majority of the time, but I’ve never had anyone look at my bowling who has any credability and say ‘You really Rip your Leg Break’! Whereas my wrong un has prompted that kind of comment from Umpires and is evident in that as the ball leaves the fingers it snaps audibly.

So, you must aim to rip the ball out of the hand with your bowling action and make the ball spin. At this point I’m going to now talk about Motor Skills.

Motor Skills; This is the complex process of your brain communicating with your body (Limbs) effectively to produce coordinated movement.

So this now brings me back to the notion of ripping the ball from the hand putting maximum revs on the ball. Now here comes the contentious part. In Philpotts ‘Art of Wrist Spin Bowling’ he describes as best he can using text and stills images how to practice flicking the wrist to produce the Leg Break. He shows images of someone flicking the ball across the body from the right hand to the left using the 2 up 2 down grip, all the time focusing on giving it a good flick. The image and the explanation are straight forward and you can see quite easily once you start doing it what he means and over a period of weeks and months you go from rolling the ball over to really giving it a good flick. But in the same section he talks about using the same Big Flick to spin the ball from an outstretched arm inwards towards your chest. This inward flick he doesn’t dwell on at all, but just says to practice it alongside the flick across the body from right hand to left (See my video clip Legspin Bowling Drill No.2).

Philpott later in the book returns to the ‘Inward flick’ action as the final part of his Round the loop system to explain the variations. Grimmett used the exact same explanation back in 1930 in his book Getting Wickets and the basic premise is that the position of the wrist at the point of release is instrumental in producing the Wrist Spin variations. Philpott though more than most using the inward flick drill demonstrates what seems to be the little known method (I would argue the genuine version) of producing The Slider. If you’ve followed Philpotts round the loop advice, you’ll have understood that the variations in Wrist Spinning are a result of wrist presentation at the point of release, again on the internet, both Shane Warne and Terry Jenner focus on this to some extent in their videos on Legspin bowling, but they do not dwell on it at all and just rush through the explanations leaving gaping great holes in the information. It is only when you research further – Grimmett, Benaud, Philpott, Jenner, Woolmer and Warne using a broad range of information sources that you’re able to collate all the information and synthesise it and potentially come to the conclusion that I have.

The notion of spinning the ball inwards is not common-place, but then neither is Wrist Spinning where the bowler has the knowledge of all of the variations. Furthermore knowledge of the variations is one thing, but being able to execute the variations in a match situation with accuracy and length is virtually unknown. There’s a sequence to learning Wrist Spinning and because of the complexities of the discipline the perception that I have is that most practitioners rarely move beyond bowling the Leg Break and the Top-Spinner, which to be honest will serve you well in most situations. It may be the case that most people pick up Philpotts The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling get through to the sections that deal with the Leg-Break, Top-Spinner and Wrong Un and then call it a day at the Wrong Un? Therefore having possibly struggled with the Wrong Un and maybe got no-where near mastering it don’t fancy the prospect of trying to get the wrist round to spin the ball inwards for the Slider? Who knows?

But, if you’re looking to master the Leg Break and bowl it with differing degrees of turn and therefore dip and drift and hoping to be able to bowl the coveted ‘Biggun’ (Ball of the Century) I think you need to explore the potential of the real Slider and this is the ball that requires the Inward Flick.

The key conclusion that I’ve come to and this is alluded to by Philpott more than the others is that the Inward Flick Drill is possibly the key to becoming an advanced practitioner of Wrist Spinning. I’ve found that the inward flick because it is so unusual and requires that you turn the wrist so far has led to far more control over the release of the ball from the hand – Fine Motor Skills. It’s been the case for the last 3-4 years as I’ve developed as a Wrist Spinner that I’ve been unaware of what it is that happens with my hand/wrist on release. On one hand, body and hand are seemingly coordinating in order to produce the Leg Break, yet the result is a Wrong Un, Top-Spinner or a very weak Leg Break. All of which are indicative of having The Googly Syndrome (See other sections).

The Mother of all Leg Breaks

It’s not until the 1990’s with the publication of Peter Philpotts ‘The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling’ that we’re formally introduced to the Slider as a variation bowled with the Big Flick. It’s clear that Philpott didn’t invent the Slider because as he builds up to it describing how the Slider is bowled, he credits Benaud as being a particularly good exponent of the delivery.

After the Lord's Test of 1953, Doug Ring picked up an apple on a train journey and showed a young Richie Benaud how he bowled the slider, pushed out of the front of the hand between the second and third fingers
From sourced 12/11/10

The slider as described by Philpott being the key to developing the perpendicular Leg Break by taking it further round the loop so that it’s delivered with the potential of side-spin combined with back-spin. This delivery used somewhere between the Slider and the perpendicular Leg Break giving rise to the potential emergence and development of the Mother of all Big Leg Breaks.