Saturday, 26 September 2015

Leg Spin Bowling - Sliders, Zooters and other mistakes that get wickets.

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Leg Spin Bowling - Sliders, Zooters and other mistakes that get wickets.

You need to have read the section entitled Psychology before reading this section.
3 Minutes and 15 seconds into the video, Ian Healey who isn't a commentator, but is the bloke that caught the balls as the wicket keeper off of Shane Warne's bowling makes the comment that Shane Warne's bowling was easy to pick...
Ian Healey "You can pick his variations from the clubhouse it's that easy. And, on every tour we went on he went up into the media boxes and showed them all what he'd be doing for the next two months"! Healey shows the variations like he's Terry Jenner ... "There was the Leg-Spinner, there was the Top-Spinner, there was a Wrong Un and then there was the Flipper". Ian Ward the SKYTV interjects...
Ian Ward "Then there were the balls that didn't exist". Ponting and Healey with big grins on their faces almost laughing at the idea that there was anything other than the standard deliveries.
Ian Healey "Yeah Exactly".
Ricky Ponting "Yeah every tour we went on over 10 years there was a new ball, he'd go up there to the media centres and show them the obvious ones and then say, but I haven't shown you the other one". All three of them laugh and smile and the 10 year psychological trick. Healey comes back in...
Ian Healey "He's not hard to pick, they new what was coming, but he still got 700 of them out".
All the time Warne is 22 yards away at the other end and at no point does he butt in and say, now hold on you blokes, that's not necessarily true, what about my 'Slider'? That's because there is no slider. The 'Slider' doesn't exist and never did exist. It may have been the case that like a Finger Spinner he may have brought his arm over and released a non-spinning ball once or twice, but that would be a classic Finger Spinners 'Arm Ball'. On many occasions it's pretty obvious as in the video below featuring Javeen Patel he may have bowled a Leg Break every now and then looking for the Big Leg Break, which requires a tilted seam and landed on the smooth part of the ball and that accidentally and completely unintentionally would have skidded on in some cases.
Later in the video at 7 Minutes and 25 seconds Healey talks about the games when the footmarks on the Leg-Side become so obvious a target, Ponting would have sent Warne bowling around the wicket into the footmarks and he start to talk in terms of 'What was supposed to have happened based on what came out of his hand compared to what happens off of the pitch'...
Ian Healey "Sometimes it's going to hit that hole and 'Slide'.
Ian Healey "I've got to sum up what's happening out of his hand and what it's supposed to do when it bounces and then what it then does".  The context and inference of this section is that it's obvious that Warne had bowled a Leg Break, but it's not 100% set in granite that the ball will grip and turn. If you watch the video at this stage Warne is trying to bowl the ball from a massive distance outside of Leg and turn it in to the stumps... A big Leg Break e.g. the delivery that is susceptible to skidding on. It is not a slider - it is a Leg Break that has gone wrong.
I still think the jury is out on whether there are such deliveries as Sliders and Zooters and still maintain that in most instances when they’re featured on TV they’re automatically labelled with these descriptions by the commentators by way of laziness or to give the impression that they know what they’re talking about. Increasingly the TV coverage now includes high speed cameras that allow for detailed slow motion play-backs and we’re able to see the subtleties of the delivery and the angles at which the seam is presented as it makes its way down to the batsman.

Interestingly I came across the video below via reading an article with an interview with Javeen Patel where he makes the comment that English Spinners (Moeen Ali) do not practice enough. The video I then found shows the highlights of a county match where Patel bowls pretty spectacularly at a number of batsmen bowling his Finger Spin. In amongst the deliveries he bowls a delivery that looks like classic finger spin delivery, but it has just a little more tilt on it in order that when it hits the wicket it does so on the smooth surface as opposed to the seam. With the slow motion play back we’re able to see this in full technicolour and it allows the commentator to say…

That’s the ball I call the 'Slider' that goes on with the arm.
Indeed the ball does exactly that. But the question is in my mind, was that intentional? Has Patel got such a controlled command of the ball that he’s able to send it down with that subtle variation in the rotation of the seam? Looking at the rest of the footage I would say that it appears that he has in which case he may have a case for naming the delivery I might suggest, but a mate of mine on the Big Cricket Spin Forum says that it's a classic 'Off Break'.

My issue with these deliveries is that for the most part they’re not designed to do that, they’re simply, standard deliveries gone wrong. It may be that some bowlers slip in a seam up delivery with a little back-spin, or they bowl the classic 'Arm Ball'.
Watching this Patel spell it looks as though he has a very good command over his bowling and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is a level of skill and accuracy that enables him to bowl this delivery at will rather than accidentally.
There’s an adage in cricket – Shit bowling gets wickets. I’m a fan of Adil Rashid because the bloke is so resilient. He’s in the team - out of the team, carrying drinks and missing finals at Yorkshire in which he'd have played a significant part so that he can sit on the side-lines and watch England play hoping to be given a chance. As I write he’s probably waiting to be included in the team to play Pakistan in the UAE. Rashid gets smacked all around the park some days, but he stays at it, he digs in and bowls another ball which goes for six, but then the next ball he sets the batsman up for another leg break and he bowls a variation and Rashid gets his man. But when I watch him, it looks to me as though he bowls an awful lot of short balls, but are these accidental short balls or intended? Patels bowling is unbelievably tight and accurate and it looks like the angled seam could be intentional, but Rashid’s short balls which on occasion do their job with the batsman making a mistake…. I’m not so sure? But he's a professional, maybe the short ball is a variation?
I’m sure we’ve all bowled a dreadful delivery on a number of occasions and as a result picked up a wicket. The difference between us and someone like Warne or Patel is that there’s no ex international batsman in a commentary box somewhere being paid a shed load of money to make sense of what’s just happened “That’ll be his Zooter/Slider” etc. Interestingly Warne took several big wickets over his career with full tosses – I wonder if they were intentional?

Shane Warn again with Ian Ward & Nasser Hussain on Sky discussing his bowling...

There's some footage of Warne Bowling against Alec Stewart where Warne bowls on the middle stump and Stewart expecting the ball to break is trapped LBW because the ball goes straight-on (What some people call a 'Slider').

Nasser Hussain... "A few minutes later if you look at Alec with that delivery... it looks like a leg-break but goes straight on". The footage shows Warne jumping up and down appealing and the finger of doom goes up and Alec Stewart is given out.

Ian Ward "It's fascinating to speak to you Shane about how and why that delivery came about. Shoulder op, finger op, you found it very difficult to grip the ball for the Flipper, so you came up with what and how did you do it and why did you do it? It's because you couldn't grip the English ball is that right?".
Camera pans to Warne (This is all around 2:30' in the video).

Shane Warne... Yeah, the one later on was as I played my first year of county cricket in 2000. The Duke ball is a lot different to the Kookaburra... it has lacquer around the seam, so bowling an 8 ball ... Leg breaks in the freezing cold and raining, it was very hard to bowl a leg break. So I tried to bowl a big side spinning leg break and it went straight on. So, then what I end up doing is thinking... Well, hang on that's a pretty good delivery, so I tried to keep on practicing the whole season with that delivery and you know I'm always shooting my mouth off about having different deliveries, this time I actually did.

Ian Ward... That was bluff wasn't it?

Shane Warne... Yeah all of it was bluff except that this time it wasn't - this time I came up with one which we called The Slider  which was basically down to not being able to bowl the Duke ball in April and being able to grip it in the wet.

He then goes on to say more about the shoulder and finger op, but doesn't elaborate on the method of delivery, so going back to the explanation of why the ball goes on straight...

"So I tried to bowl a big side-spinning leg break and it went straight on".

Yes. A big side-spinning leg break if bowled with a some angle on the ball has a tendency to land on the smooth side of the ball rather than the seam. Warne doesn't say that he developed the idea/delivery e.g. he changed it in any way. It is just a Leg Break gone wrong, and if you can bowl a leg break just try it, try and bowl a whole sequence of Peter Philpotts 'Big Leg Breaks' and you'll see, a lot of them will simply stay low and skid on. Okay I'm happy to concede that for the purposes of 'Bluff' and guile Warne then in this instance calls it a 'Slider' but in essence it is simply a Big Leg Break gone wrong and therefore if you was a coach teaching it you'd be saying to a kid or anyone...

Mate if you develop the big side spinning leg break this ball is a killer ball because it comes down with the seam turning at 90 degrees or there about to the direction of flight and like Alec Stewart facing Shane Warne, the batsman thinks it's going turn like crazy, but one of the assets and characteristics of this ball is that it'll often land on the smooth part of the ball and therefore 'Slide' or 'Skid' on without turning. It is not a Slider it is a Leg Break gone wrong! But Warne and everyone else calls it a Slider. I honestly still don't believe he bowls it knowing 100% that it'll not turn because fundamentally it's a big side-spinning Leg Break as he initially describes it as being.

I'm going to include other descriptions of "The Slider" as described by amateurs just to show how confusing this name is. From Bigcricket...

I bowl my slider just out the front of the hand, rolling my palm and fingers under the ball creating underspin just like a normal medium pace delivery but slower. I will try and post a video of it in the coming days.

Again another "Slider" that the bowler then describes correctly (Bold text). So again if you want to add to your wrist spin armoury, don't go looking for Slider, look at Medium pace deliveries, as they're balls that wont turn and will slide on, but They are not a separate delivery call a Slider! They're just standard deliveries that already exist and have done for generations.


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