Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Flipper

The Flipper and its variations (Under construction and being re-edited Aug 2017). Copyright Dave Thompson 2017

With the Flipper and its variations we’re now moving into the more advanced techniques. Again I have to mention that if you’re still struggling with your basic stock delivery – The Leg Break, you should work on that before moving on to bowling any of the following variations. There’s another warning that comes with the Flipper and this has to do with the stresses that the technique for imparting the spin on the ball puts on your body. During Warne’s career he went through a phase where he lost or didn’t bowl the Flipper due to surgery on his shoulder. It appears that because of the surgery or maybe because the Flipper was a part of the problem that led to the injury, Warne was Flipper-less for quite some time. The inference is that during the rehabilitation process Warne was either advised not to bowl the Flipper or simply couldn’t bowl the Flipper, suggesting that the strain the technique puts on the body needs to be recognized. Anecdotally Richie Benaud another exponent of the Flipper warns that people under the age of 18 whose bodies are still developing, should steer away from the Flipper as a variation because of the stresses and strains that it puts on the body. My own experience can pay testament to the fact that it can cause a condition called Medial Epicondylitis, also known as ‘Golfers Elbow’. The exertion of clicking the ball from between the finger and thumb whilst holding the ball in peculiar wrist configurations causes strain from the fingers through the hand and wrist right up the arm to the inner elbow. This causes a fair bit of pain in the inner elbow that becomes evident when performing a whole range of different non-cricket activities and requires attention and re-habilitation in order to rectify.

The Flipper Click
- How the spin is imparted.

Unlike all of the classic Wrist Spin deliveries that impart the spin through the use of the third finger and wrist action (at the hand-stage of the delivery), the Flipper uses a completely different mechanical action. First described in detail by an over-arm bowler - Clarrie Grimmett in his book Getting Wickets in 1930 the spin is imparted using the fingers and the thumb...

The ball is held between the second finger and the thumb, and I spin it or twist it. The method of spinning is similar to that used in clicking the finger and thumb to attract attention.

Clarrie Grimmett; Getting Wickets: Hodder & Stoughton:London; 1930.
Or in a more up to-date rendition – clicking the fingers in the manner you would to the beat of music. It’s easily understood by using a small light-weight ball such as a table tennis ball or a tennis ball even. Place the ball between the clicking fingers and thumb and squeeze them together to click the ball out of the them.

Pre-bowling training and drills

If you’re serious about this delivery, you should start to incorporate the flick into your Philpott-esque drills. In the same way that Philpott advocates that you “Spin,spin,spin”! As much as you can at every opportunity to get the wrist working over the top of the ball giving it a good flick, you should do the same with your Flipper. At every opportunity in amongst your daily spinning of oranges, apples, cricket balls and tennis balls - learning the wrist spin techniques as you sit watching the tele etc. You now need to incorporate the clicking of the same objects from hand to hand using the Flipper technique. Initially try it with something lighter and smaller such as a tennis ball and just do it as much as you can and as often as you can. You’ll probably start out with very little control over it, but given time and practice you’ll be able to click it from one hand to the other with control and ease. If, you do experience any muscle strain you would probably be advised to stop and rest it for a couple of weeks before resuming the drills. If this happens you should be cautious when you resume the practice you should consider looking into some warm up exercises used in medial epicondylitis rehabilitation...........

Beyond that if you do the stretches and then resume the training with a ball and still experience the pain I’d advise leaving the Flipper and seeking advice from a doctor before resuming. It may be that your lifestyle is pretty sedentary and that you need to look at fitness programs that help develop muscle strength and flexibility.

Flipper History

The Flipper like the Big Leg Break and the Orthodox Back-Spinner and even to some extent the Wrong Un are not seen that much in club cricket or indeed the higher levels of cricket. With slow bowling falling out of favour in the 1970’s and 80’s and the fact that most Wrist Spinners focus on using their stock ball to good effect with only the Top-Spinner as a variation, the Flipper amongst others has disappeared into obscurity. This is not surprising when you consider that Peter Philpott in his book ‘The art of wrist spin’ which surely must be seen as the definitive work on the subject of Wrist Spin Bowling spends very little time describing the flipper and comes across as being unsure about this variation and writing as though it’s not a variation that he has ever used himself? Philpott then shrouds the ball in further mystery by commenting on the fact that expert cricket commentators continually embarrass themselves again and again on TV claiming that they have just seen someone bowl a Flipper. The only detailed instructions relating to bowling the Flipper can be found in Grimmetts book Getting Wickets and even in there Grimmett describes the variations as experimental and isn’t sure at this stage in his career as to whether they will ever be used in first class cricket.

So obscure is the Flipper with regards to written descriptions of it, that again and again people mistakenly call ‘Flipper’ when in fact the ball bowled was an Orthodox Back-Spinner or one of the more advanced deliveries that has gone wrong and simply skidded through because the seam didn’t bite. The obscurity of the delivery has meant that some commentators on the subject like this one which you’ll find on the Cricinfo website (See link below) almost goes as far as claiming that it doesn’t actually exist. The writer purports to undo the ‘The Physics’ of Leg Spin bowling and the piece reads like the comments of an expert until it comes to The Flipper. The bloke points out some contradictions between Benuad’s and Jenner’s description of the Flipper and ends the article with…….

‘I'm reasonably convinced the ball is not just an exercise in mind-games, but I've yet to be convinced I've seen one’.

Rest assured Mr Whittaker the Flipper does exist and it does so in several variations. With Wrist Spin Bowling there is a great tradition of bowlers claiming to have a mystery ball, one that no-one else bowls or one that the bowler bowls better than all the others for some reason or another. Much of it is bluff and hot air, but it’s all a part of the psychological game. Maybe because of the very nature of the bowling e.g. slow there’s always been a need to compliment the ability of the bowler with the ability to deceive the batsman into pre-empting the delivery in a number of ways and one of those is the talking up of the individuals abilities and variations and setting an expectation prior to the duel on the pitch. Shane Warne in our lifetime has proven to be the master of this, using every opportunity to sell his abilities to every batsman that’s ever faced him. Warne claims again and again before each series to have an array of deliveries that will see him rip through a batting order like like an adult bowling at a bunch of 7 year olds. We all know that more often than not he succeeds and in my opinion this is down to the way that his career started out with the ball to Gatting that has gone on to be described as the ball of the century. This ball set him up to be super-human, but it wasn’t entirely bluff, because he did go on to repeat similar deliveries again and again, but he never let up with the psychological bombardment, promoting himself in anyway possible to always be at the forefront of a batsman’s nightmares – a slow bowler that would make virtually any batsman look like fools. The Flipper fitted into this scheme nicely, a delivery that probably hadn’t been seen on a regular basis since Abdul Quadir a ball that most of the batsmen had never faced in their careers – a mystery ball. It would have had the commentators scrambling around looking for obscure references to it and probably unable to find any descriptions of it other than the briefest of mentions. Benaud I’m sure would have been at the centre of any clarification on the matter and it may have been around this time that the notion arose that Benaud was the inventor of the delivery? The emergence of the Flipper would have fitted into Shane Warne’s smoke and mirrors approach to talking about his bowling, never quite telling the truth, always playing with the anxieties of the batsmen, talking up his mystery balls and playing with the fact that Wrist Spinning deliveries are extremely esoteric and un-impenetrable. But, as a Wrist Spinner with a copy of Clarrie Grimmett Getting Wickets I can tell you that not only does the Flipper exist in the form that Both Warne and Jenner demonstrate in several video demos on-line, but it exists in 3 or 4 other variations! Including one variation that Clarrie Grimmett would tell you is the better of the four which has been lost in the annals of time.

The Basic Flipper
The Zeitgeist Flipper of the moment is back-spinning Flipper as demonstrated by both Warne and Jenner on a number of videos to be found on Youtube

The general consensus is that the click between the fingers and thumb is done with the use of the index finger and the middle finger and this will work quite well. When Grimmett first conceived the idea of the Flipper back in the 1920’s he had no idea that he’d be able to convert the concept into a bowling delivery. He initially came up with the method as a means to demonstrate how the mobility of the wrist worked in conjunction with the regular Wrist Spin deliveries – Leg-Break, Googly etc. Not able to demonstrate a full wrist spin delivery in seminars and to friends, Grimmett realised that by twisting the ball out of the thumb and fingers in the Flipper manner he could show that by rotating the wrist as you do with the regular wrist spin deliveries, he could demonstrate on a table top that the ball would spin forwards, backwards, to off and leg. By the 1930’s when he published Getting Wickets he had explored the possibility of bowling his new Flipper deliveries on a wicket and wrote that he was able to affect Top/Back/Off and Leg-Spinners over a distance of ten yards. Writing about the development of the Flipper later in his book Grimmett on Cricket, Grimmet says about the Flipper ………..

By this means I could apply much more spin than I could in bowling my Leg Break. To apply this kind of spin to overarm bowling was difficult, however, it was comparatively easy to get it to spin this way, but extremely difficult to bowl a ball that made pace off the pitch: and I had long since decided that it was useless bowling a ball that did not make pace from the pitch except as an occasional variation. For twelve years, summer and winter, I practiced, goaded on by the fact that I could do it for a short distance. It was difficult but I kept at it, bowling a few yards first and then and then increasing the length. I discovered that the position of the hand at the moment of release was what I had to concentrate on. As I spun the ball the hand had to be pointed to the left across towards cover. The wrist had to be bent, and the ball allowed to leave over the top of the hand, the back of which was facing the batsman.
Clarrie Grimmett: Grimmett On Cricket: Thomas Nelson and; Sons Ltd: Edinburgh:1948.

The thing that I find amazing about this is the fact that with no fore-knowledge of whether there was any guarantee that this would pan out to be successful, it took Grimmett twelve years of trial and error making sense of what he was trying to do. Once the discovery is made and someone is able to tell the next person how to do it with the fore-knowledge that there will be a positive outcome. The time in the new scenario, that is required to develop and master the delivery is exponentially reduced. Warne I’m pretty certain talks about picking it up in a matter of a month or so. I picked up the basics over a period of about 2 months and found it pretty easy bowling the basic back-spinning version and it was for some time my stock ball.

Anyway, so for arguments sake we’ll refer to the Basic Flipper as the one demonstrated by Warne and Jenner. If you’ve followed the initial instructions with regards developing your finger and thumb action the next stage is relatively easy assuming that you bowl with a fair degree of accuracy anyway. By way of not wanting to give away the fact that you are bowling a variation – your movement through the crease should be identical to your Leg Break bowling action. I bowl with a fairly high, almost vertical bowling action and bring the arm over quite close to my ear. As the arm comes over in the action the batsman would see the hand coming over in a similar manner to a Top-Spinner except that the grip of the ball would be that of Flipper grip.
See image.

The basic Flipper is modeled on Shane Warne and Terry Jenners versions as seen on line as that’s the most easily referenced illustration of how it’s bowled, although there is at least two videos of Warne explaining and demonstrating the method in a slightly different way, which I’ll examine later. Their Basic version is very slightly different to Grimmetts back-spinning version, but I’ll address that later too. When bowled in this manner the seam is presented up-right and back-spin is imparted with the use of the click release. The amount of spin that can be imparted will be down to the individuals strength and dexterity, but it’s interesting to read(1) that Grimmett claimed that he could impart more spin using the flipper click than he could flicking the ball with his fingers and wrist in the conventional Wrist Spinners method.


Because of the up-right seam and back-spin, the ball is subject to similar aero-dynamics as seam bowling deliveries and where we saw that Top-Spin with the Top-Spinner made the ball dip, the reverse happens with the Flipper because of the back-spin. Through its trajectory from being propelled from the hand, the ball takes a far straighter line seemingly being held in the air longer and strikes the ground on a fuller length. Mixed in with your stock Leg-Break which would have a proportion of Top-Spin and therefore dip, the Flipper could see that batsman playing for a ball that would be expected to bounce and catch them unawares? There’s also the potential for the delivery to be bowled a great deal faster than the conventional wrist spin deliveries because of the exclusion of the wrist flick, but the down-side to this is the delivery is potentially picked because of the different level of exertion put into getting the ball up the wicket at a faster speed. A recent discovery I’ve noted only in the last season is that the ball swings massively in certain atmospheric conditions. Initially I thought that I was bowling badly, but on closer examination I noticed that the ball was swerving radically about half way down the pitch moving from Off-to leg swinging into the RH batsman.

Many people that bowl the Flipper also note that the ball breaks slightly when bowled in this way, my own personal experience is that it tends to break like a small Leg Break and might simply be due to bad seam presentation during the release, but this slight turn off the pitch coupled with the in-swinging properties presents a ball that can surprise the batsman and catch him off-guard. Bowled with prodigious back-spin on grassy or damp wickets the ball also stalls and loses momentum and batsman play through the shot before the ball has even arrived.

The Top Spinning Flipper

The jury is still out for me whether Grimmett favoured the Top-Spinning Flipper or the Off-Spinning Flipper combined with some Top-Spin. Grimmett, I think would be surprised at seeing Warne and Jenner promoting the back-spinning version of the delivery over and above the Top-Spinner and the Off-Spinner. There are no records as far as I’m aware of Grimmett ever using the back-spinner in first class cricket and he seems to have disregarded it as having any potential. The evidence suggests that Grimmett favoured a ball that increased in pace on hitting the pitch so he would have gone for a ball that was overspun. Interestingly it does seem that at least up until 1930 he wasn’t and I’m assuming the rest of the slow bowling fraternity wasn’t too, aware of the potential of bowling back-spinners. As nowhere in his Getting Wickets book does he ever go anywhere near exploring a ball that sounds anything like the Orthodox Back-Spinner.

The same theory of going round the loop as exemplified by Peter Philpott in The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling can be applied as mentioned earlier in the execution of the Flipper deliveries, so with that in mind you might be asking why have I gone 180 degrees round the loop straight to the Top-Spinner, shouldn’t there be an out the front of the hand delivery first? Well, yes, but the out the front of the hand delivery I think is far more difficult to execute than the Top-Spinning variation. My own experience was that on trying the out the front of the hand (Off-Spinner) it was virtually impossible to bowl and caused all sorts of issues with Medial Epincondylitis and I had to stop. With further reading of Grimmetts books and through discussion on line with an Australian wrist spinner from NSW Chris McDonnel the consensus seemed to be that Grimmett was an advocate of the Top-Spinner. There’s also evidence that Bradman was impressed with the Top-Spinner referring to it as Grimmetts Mystery Ball with stories of him being dismissed by it. So, I went 180 degrees and skipped the off-spinner in favour of exploring the potential of this version.

If you’ve mastered the back-spinning variety I’ll assume that you’ve developed the muscles in the thumb and forearm to put the revs on the ball. To produce the Top-Spinner I would advise that you put in some time – 2 weeks or so flicking a smaller light weight ball such as a tennis ball using the new wrist position. In the same way that you practice for the Big Leg Break and the Orthodox back-spinner with your bowling arm extended out in front of you – do the same with this Flipper. If you were to stand looking down the wicket have your arm extended forwards pointed towards the batsman. Your wrist should be presented so that your palm faces the Off-side and the back of your hand naturally the On-side. With the ball in the hand the thumb will be on top and the fingers beneath the ball. Now click the fingers and you’ll see that the ball clicks out of the hand and if allowed to fall to the floor will bounce forwards e.g. making pace off the pitch. If you get a lightweight ball mark a circle round the ball with a marker pen or a piece of tape to emulate the seam. With this action you can flick the ball so that it spins forwards and catch it in your other hand. Do this again and again until you’re able to do it with your ‘Seam’ aligned so that it rotates perfectly upright to produce the Top-spin that we’re looking for.

Over a period of time, you’ll start to feel the stress on the new muscles as you stretch them enabling you to hold the wrist in position and affect the spin. If you sense the stress is too much, as with any of these variations err towards caution as the Medial Epicondylitis condition is painful and debilitating for you as a bowler. Once you get the hand of it try turning your arm over across a short distance and see if it is working for you. Once you get the necessary mobility and flexibility in the arm, wrist and thumb to release the ball with some accuracy over a decent distance move on to a 4 ¼ ounce ball and work with that gradually working up to 22 yards eventually bringing in the 5 ½ ounce ball and the full length.

If you’ve already got the back-spinner and you practice it consistently you may find that you convert the Top-Spinner into a promising prospect relatively easily and quickly as I did. The attribute that I liked about this delivery was that very quickly I was able to bowl it with very good accuracy and far more speed than my stock ball. Theoretically because of the Top-Spin it should dip, but I’m not 100% certain that I’ve ever been aware of the dip being a key factor in my own bowling despite the fact that I say that it is an attribute of the ball in my video clip on Youtube.

Unlike the back-spinning Flipper I can’t say that I’ve ever noticed this swinging or doing anything through the air. Its best feature I find is that it’s easily bowled with very good accuracy and increased speed and in amongst my stock balls this is a wicket taker. An interesting note is that Terry Jenner has been quoted by both Ashley Mallet in his biography on Grimmett that the Top-Spinning Flipper is physically impossible to bowl and at best you might be able to get it a few yards up the wicket. Interestingly there’s been a few newer demo’s of Warne bowling the Flipper and these have differed from those as demo’s by both Warne in the example shot talking to Mark Nicholas and Jenners demo’s for the BBC and the Cloverdale series. In those cases the variation that both these blokes show us are the back-spinning variety whereas the newer uploads show us deliveries more akin to the Top-Spinner, but are probably a hybrid of the next variation.

The Off-Spinning Flipper

Again, another pretty obscure variant of the Flipper, but one that I’m fairly convinced that Warne demo’s in at least one of the on-line video clips although without mentioning the fact that it is a variant of what is seemingly perceived to be the common version of the Flipper (The back-spinner). Again using the theory first identified by Grimmett in 1930 that if you bowl with the wrist in different positions you’ll get the ball to spin all ways – Back, top, off and Legspin. This was then taken up by Philpott using his round the loop explanation. Assuming that you’ve followed my advice and gone 180 degrees from the back-spinner to the top spinner and got that sussed? I’m now going to suggest going back round the loop 90 degrees towards the back-spinner. You use exactly the same grip as any of the other Flippers, but with this one you present the wrist so that as your arm comes over the palm of the hand is facing the batsman and herein lies this balls magic the delivery looks like a Leg Break delivery, but because of the method of imparting the spin the ball is going to leave the hand rotating clock-wise to effect off-spin!

I found this a very difficult delivery to master and as you’ve read previously eventually came to it by learning the top-spinning delivery first which helped to train the hand and the wrist to become more dexterous so that I click the fingers and hold the wrist up-right and present it with the palm facing the batsman. I then added another aspect to the delivery after reading Bob Woolmers analysis of Shane Warne’s now partly discredited Ball of the century

In the analysis of the ball, Woolmer observes that in order for the ball to drift as much as it does in this instance the ball needs to have been spinning through a tilted axis. It’s normally assumed that in order to produce the most devastating Big Leg Break the seam needs to be spinning 90 degrees to the direction of flight
With the seam rotating on the same plane as the direction of flight. Woolmer suggests that this isn’t the case and comments –

If the axis of rotation of the delivery is the same direction as the direction of the forward movement of the delivery, then the delivery will not drift. Thus to bowl his ‘Ball from Hell’, Warne had to have the axis of the rotation of the delivery at an angle to its direction of movement. Most likely, the seam was tilted slightly backwards from vertical (When seen from above), with the seam on the left side of the ball slightly ahead. In this position, the axis of rotation (seen from behind the ball) is upwards and to the leg side.

Art and Science of Cricket; Bob Woolmer; New Holland Publishers; London; 2008.

Rotation Diagram A.

The image here below indicates the 90 degree seam presentation to the direction of flight. Woolmer suggests along with physicists that have conducted tests in wind tunnels that the ball spun perfectly from the hand with the seam rotating perfectly at 90 degrees to the direction of flight will not drift. Whereas the image above (rotation diagram A.) with the seam angled forwards towards the direction of flight rotating off axis and with the seam angled slightly forwards of 90 degrees, the ball will produce the most pronounced amounts of drift.

Rotation diagram B.

With this in mind and realising there was potential to impart drift with a Flipper and with potentially more ease (for me at least). The position of the wrist when bowling this delivery seems to be subject to more rigidity through the arm, elbow and wrist than the conventional Wrist Spin deliveries and for some reason in order to tilt the ball backward or forward so that the axis differs to the horizontal plane of flight is only a matter of maintaining rigidity through the wrist and angling it slightly different. My experimentation through the last season seemed to suggest wholly different characteristics with the ball definitely drifting in flight and possibly dipping as well in a fairly dramatic manner and this is with an Off-Spinner that looks like a Leg Break.

I wouldn’t say that I’m anywhere near being an expert at this, but in a year bowling sporadically in nets and practice situations, my ability levels with it have increased exponentially and I have taken at least one wicket with it where the batsman read it as a Leg Break and it went the other way and hit the stump between bat and pads. It’s definitely one that I’ll be working with and exploring further.

Sub variations and accidents
For the purpose of the blog and trying to explain things as clearly as possible when talking about these variations in relation to going round the loop, I’ve tended to talk in terms of moving from one variation to the other in 90 degree jumps focusing on what would be the perfect delivery. It’s obvious that all of these deliveries would work in intermediate forms in some way or another, the classic example being with the Leg Break. The leg break is generally a ball that is spun with the seam aligned at 45 degrees further round the loop if you move on from the top spinner, anything with lesser angle has more Top-Spin emphasis and may dip more, but will still turn a little. So anything that goes further than 45 degrees is still going to dip a little but have an increase in the amount of turn off the wicket as it’s moving towards the realms of being a Big Leg Break. The Flippers are exactly the same, so it’s entirely likely that you may bowl with a scrambled seam and might not be able to get absolutely perfect seam presentation, but it will still be a valid variation if it’s bowled with your Stock ball.
2 Fingers or 3?

In my experience at club level and watching Warne and partly because Wrist Spin Bowling is such an underrated and dark art not many batsmen have been subjected to the Flipper, so if used with scarcity this can be a devastating delivery that can take the batsman by surprise. The Flipper can also be used as a slow ball as well and this works particularly well with not very experienced batsmen. I find the slower and loopier the ball is thrown up, the more it tends to turn (Towards the off-side) but better still the back-spin causes the ball to almost stop which can catch people out.

At club level I’ve only ever come across it used by one other person, my mate ‘The Wizard’ and he bowls it as I have till recently as the Bog Standard Flipper as seen on Youtube demonstrated by Warne & Jenner. (BBC, Channel 9, Cloverdale videos). But if you delve further into crickets history you will come across the balls originator a bloke called Clarrie Grimmett arguably the best Wrist Spinner ever. Between 1928 and 1940 he spent 12 years developing the ball using the same principle as Peter Philpotts ‘Around the loop’ theory but applied to the ball being spun using the Index finger and thumb to ‘click’ it out of the hand.

Grimmetts Flipper is slightly different to Warnes and Jenners who’s version owe more to Richie Benuads adaption of Grimmetts original. Benuads bowling action was near vertical with the seam being upright like a seam bowlers delivery. Whereas Grimmetts action was far more round armed almost to the point where it resembles Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga but then corrected by the fact that he then dipped his head and body through the action so that the arm came through in a more vertical manner. Grimmetts grip as described by himself and Philpott meant that his hand through the delivery was over the top of the ball whereas Benauds version is virtually the same as the one demonstrated by Warne and Jenner. The intricacies of Grimmetts grip I’ve not fully grasped, but Benauds version is easily understood.


This variation is possibly the way that Murali bowls his Doosra but requires ridiculous flexibility in the wrist and arm, but Philpott describes it in the Flipper section of his book. Start at the ‘Mystery ball’ position and rotate your wrist another 90 degrees clockwise so that at the point of release the palm of your hand is facing up-wards with the flipper grip. The more the hand is bent inwards towards the body at the point that you flick the ball the more it’s going to produce a Leg-Break action when pitching on the wicket. To be honest without you being able to bowl with the same inward arm/wrist action that Murali uses this variation looks physically impossible.

Supple wrist and strong thumb.

The key to these deliveries is the practice that you’re able to do off the field. In his book Peter Philpott advocates spinning the ball back in towards yourself initially and the description reads as though he is going to take you on to explain ‘The Mystery Ball’ but he doesn’t. So why you would go through the process of spinning the ball in towards yourself as you do when learning The Big Legbreak I’m kind of baffled when he doesn’t then go on to describe the ‘Mystery Ball’. I think most people would practice bowling the ball from one hand to the other across the body marvelling at the amazing backspin you eventually get through the clicking of the fingers.

Once you’ve got the back-spin, go back to Philpotts description of how you should learn the action. Hold the ball out at arms length in front of you holding it with the Flipper grip. Cock the wrist so that the back of the hand faces away from you almost and the thumb is under the ball and the fingers over the top with the seam up facing you. The clicking of the fingers in this position will now propel the ball back towards your face with over-spin (Top-spin). Keep doing this being careful not to strain any tendons (Medial Epicondylitis). In his book Philpott overlooks the potential of this as a way of bowling and then suggests that you go from this practice action to the hand to hand action which then produces back-spin. But it’s this spinning towards yourself producing Top Spin that is Clarrie Grimmetts ‘Mystery Ball’ action that Grimmett was so protective of and held in high regard. The same practice action also has the duel purpose of being good training to enable you to bowl the awkward Variant 4.

The Wrong Wrong Un
Probably the most obscure wrist spin variation and possibly the most difficult to bowl with any effectiveness. I stumbled across this a few years ago before reading Grimmetts Getting Wickets. Frustrated at losing my Leg Break to the Googly Syndrome I was aware of Philpotts Round the Loop theory and how it’s applied to the position of the wrist in order to effect the different variations – Leg-Break, Googly etc. I’d already looked into the potential of the Off-Spinning Flipper, but discarded that idea as seeming almost impossible having tried it. But with the Wrong Wrong Un I had instant success because of the combination of the principles and action of the Wrong Un combined with the Flipper finger and thumb click technique used to impart spin on the ball.

I’d completely lost my Leg-Break so only bowled Flippers and Wrong Uns, both of which I’d become pretty adept at. My Wrong Un was very strong being able to bowl a delivery that was like the Big Wrong Un and because of the constant practice with the delivery I had increased mobility in all the joints making it possible. The Flipper in the exact same way was pretty good too and I was able to impart a lot of revs on the ball by clicking the finger and thumb together. On the day in question I was bowling and thought what would be the outcome of me combining the Flipper and the Googly – looking at the position of the wrist, fingers and thumb it struck me that this would potentially produce a ball that would break towards the Off-side like a Leg Break but would come out of the hand and be delivered looking like an extreme version of the Wrong Un and sure enough the first attempt at it, although very short across 22 yards turned almost square to the wicket!

That same day practicing over another half an hour or so I managed to get the length and line right several times producing a ball that turned like a big slow loopy leg break. Because of the combining of the two deliveries Googly and Flipper, I christened the ball The Gipper completely unaware that Clarrie Grimmett had explored the same delivery in the 1920’s and identified and explained it in his book Getting Wickets in 1930.

To get some understanding of the delivery look at the image here,

which is an approximation of the view the batsman would see at the point of delivery. If you think of the wrist position in the image being rotated 180 degree anti-clockwise, you’ll see that the wrist and fingers would end up being poised for the classic Flipper.

In order to get the rotation of the wrist round 180 degrees it necessitates the additional twisting of the arm in the manner that the Wrong un requires to bowl the bigger turning Wrong Un. With the distortion of both the wrist and the arm the delivery position is then attained.

I practiced with the ball over a winter in the nets and across one season exploring its potential, but at the same time I was also looking to overcome the Googly Syndrome and was focusing on bowling the Leg Break the majority of the time. This may have affected the outcome of whether there is any real merit in this delivery because I gradually lost the ability to twist my arm and wrist as far as I could when I was bowling massively turning wrong uns. Because of the focus on re-attaining the Leg Break and limiting the amount of variations that I bowled, I discarded the Wrong Wrong Un, dropping it with the general feeling that it didn’t fit with my overall strategy and wasn’t required.

Grimmett explaining the principle of using the Flipper action to impart variations in break off the pitch……….

It is possible, however, to bowl a Leg-Break with a Googly action in this way, and also an Off-Break with a Leg-Break action.

Clarrie Grimmett; Getting Wickets: Hodder and Stoughton:London; 1930.

By Varying the hand position slightly at the moment of release I could bowl several different balls, but they were slow off the pitch and I hardly ever used them. If I twisted my hand right over as for the Googly I could make the ball turn from the leg, in what I call a Wrong Wrong Un, coming out of the back of the hand is usually deceived a batsman, but it was so slow off the pitch he had plenty of time to play it.

Clarrie Grimmett: Grimmett On Cricket: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd: Edinburgh:1948.

As you can see I eventually came across the description of the very same ball that I thought I’d discovered and christened The Gipper, Grimmett too drew the same conclusions with regards the usefulness of the ball in that it was difficult to propel down the pitch with any great speed. There’s a pay off between speed and break and the initial feeling with this variation is that its key attribute is the amount of break caused by the Flipper technique to impart the spin. But I found that the more speed you put into the delivery the less it turned which is pretty obvious. The other issue I had with it is that I couldn’t bowl it that well without having a pre-positioned arm at the start of the gather, so when winding up for the delivery it signaled something odd was going to happen and alerted batsmen to the fact that I was about to bowl a variation of some kind. As Grimmett says it’s one of the balls you might use once in a spell against a batsman. Very difficult and possibly not worth the effort learning it, but a variation none the less.

The Orthodox Back-Spinner, Slider & Zooter

The Orthodox Back-Spinner: Copyright Dave Thompson 2010

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.

The Knuckle Ball and Others

The Knuckle Ball and Others

Now we're moving into the realms of really thinking outside of the box. If you give this subject a great deal of thought you eventually arrive at Baseball as offering other options and one of the more interesting if you do your research is the Knuckle Ball. Interestingly I've just done a little research today and came across this link -
which is an image of a knuckle ball, but if you research wider you'll soon notice that this image rather resembles the Wrist Spinner grip rather than the majority of other representations of the Knuckle Ball. Also associated with this link is the parent link as such here - and again if you read the description again it virtually describes a Wrist Spinners grip even down to the fact that you flick the wrist! So as you can see there's a degree of interesting cross-over going on and it's something I feel that can add to your potential as a Wrist Spinner.

My own variation which is very much developmental is based on the images found here at wikipedia the tips of my fingers are bent very much inwards with the ball secured resting on the actual knuckles in the side shot here. When I get a chance I'll shoot some images of my knuckle ball and upload them. But with regards a description of my version the main thing I find is that it's a faster ball with a flatter trajectory. The interesting aspect for me is the claim that when bowled with the smooth side of the ball facing the bat and the seam at the edges there's the potential for the ball to drift - but not in one single direction but in two directions so that the ball across 22 yards may wobble significantly from one side to the other. This is so extreme in baseball that the Knuckle Ball poses difficulties for the catcher who wears those enormous big catching mits!

I'm probably going to include some of the Finger Spin techniques in this section including the Iverson Gleeson technique which has found popularity recently via Sri Lanka's Ajantha Mendis who seems to have renamed it the Carrom Ball.