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A primer on spin bowling
December 27, 2011 5:33 AM   Subscribe


 
Very interesting, Of course since I know nothing about cricket the article raised more questions for me than it answered. Flipper? Googly? What does this leg-spin thing look like? YouTube to the rescue. Here is a video of Shane Warne summing up aspects of spin bowling.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:48 AM on December 27, 2011


Flipper? Googly?

Just pretend it said "breaking ball" and "knuckle ball" and you'll be fine.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:54 AM on December 27, 2011


Just pretend it said "breaking ball" and "knuckle ball" and you'll be fine.

Next you'll be saying that football and soccer are the same thing.
posted by Fizz at 5:57 AM on December 27, 2011


Who knew cricket was awesome. Shane Warne's best 8 balls.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:00 AM on December 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that guy isn't speaking English.
posted by DU at 6:05 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


A fortune teller too
posted by fullerine at 6:06 AM on December 27, 2011


Abdul Qadir's googly.
posted by bardophile at 6:18 AM on December 27, 2011


Saqlain Mushtaq's 3 wicket over.
posted by bardophile at 6:20 AM on December 27, 2011


Murali magic
posted by bardophile at 6:22 AM on December 27, 2011


I thought this would be about text messaging
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:27 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sri Lankan flash-in-the-pan Ajantha Mendis, on debut against India. Good while it lasted.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:31 AM on December 27, 2011


... And let's not neglect to note the unfortunate Segway accident on the field yesterday during the India vs Australia test match.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:45 AM on December 27, 2011


I played cricket when I lived in England as a boy, and apparently was pretty good at it. Never had a clue what I was doing. I thought it was because I was an American, but have since found out that this is not at all uncommon.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:48 AM on December 27, 2011




Flipper? Googly?

Fundamentally, there are three types of bowlers. The first, pace bowlers, are like baseball fastball pitchers. The second, swing bowlers, are somewhat like US breaking ball pitchers, in that it uses motion of the ball in the air to change the flight of the ball. There's no analogue to spin or seam bowlers, but like breaking balls, they aim to use movement of the ball to confuse the batsman -- since baseball pitchers can't bounce the ball, they can't use these tricks. Seam bowlers are a speciality of pace bowlers, aiming to have the ball land on the seam.

Direction in cricket here -- whereas we have inside and outside, they have leg (towards the batter) and off (away from the batter.) There are two kinds of spin, using the fingers, and using the wrist. A leg spin is a right-handed wrist spin, which moves in on a right-handed batsman. Shane Warne is primarily a leg spinner, one of the best -- indeed, he basically brought leg spin back to life.

One bowl does not a bowler make, so Warne has several. The first is the "Googly" or "Wrong 'Un" It spins the wrong way, thus, instead of breaking to the leg, it breaks off (again, as seen by a right handed batter.) His third pitch is the flipper, which is a ball with a lot of backspin, this appears to "float" (see the riseball in US softball) and then on a hard wicket tends to shoot forward with very little bounce. Finally, he has the slider, which has the opposite action -- it dips faster than expected, and bounces higher.

The point of the article is this -- he has these four pitches, he throws them very well**, and unlike many, his motion while throwing all four of them is exactly the same. The only way a batsman has of determining which he's about to bowl is to try to see the exact position of the wrist in the few moments he has between Warne making the final turn of the wrist and releasing the ball.

In baseball, there's a similar gift -- the changeup pitcher, who can throw a 90mph fastball, 80mph breaking ball, and 70mph changeup with the exact same motion. A changeup with a different motion rapidly loses effectiveness as major league batters figure out when you do X, the ball is going to come in slow, Y, it's coming in fast. The ones with identical motion mean the batter has to spend the first part of the flight of the ball not only figuring out where the ball is going, but how soon it is going to get there. Probably the best -- and in many ways, as effective in baseball as Warne was in Test Cricket, was Pedro Martinez, who combined a fast 97mph fastball and cutter, a very effective 85mph curveball that he used sparingly, and an absolutely devastating circle change and did so with no change whatsoever in his delivery.***


* If you throw it with the wrist spin left handed, it becomes the left-arm unorthodox spin, and breaks off (away) from a right handed batsman. A right handed finger spin moves from leg to off, and is an off spin, the left handed finger is the left-arm orthodox, and moves off to leg.

** In his first appearance against England in Test Cricket, with his first ball, he threw an absolutely perfect leg spin at England's captain, Mike Gatting. The ball bounced, broke to the off side, and clipped the bails -- bowled clean. A picture taken by Steve Lindsell, of Gatting staring dumbfounded as the bail flies over his head, is one of the legendary pictures of cricket.

*** He's not in the Hall yet. He retired after the 2009 season, so, it'll be first-vote 2014 for him.
posted by eriko at 6:59 AM on December 27, 2011 [19 favorites]


Who knew cricket was awesome. Shane Warne's best 8 balls.

Until now I'd never even noticed that the Ball of the Century went in front of Gatting. I'd always thought Warne had bowled him round his legs. Unreal. [For non-Cricket fans, the first ball from Ad hominem's video shows what is considered to be the best ball ever: the very first ball Warne bowled against England, against one of their best batsmen.]
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:59 AM on December 27, 2011


So this is something to do with cricket, then?

I was really hoping for a well argued statement about the perils of imitating Shane Walsh.

Because that guy deserves what's coming to him.
posted by Naberius at 7:03 AM on December 27, 2011


I'd always thought Warne had bowled him round his legs. Unreal

The best part of the first one was the look on the guy with the glasses face at 0:31. Is it shock? Horror? He looks like he has seen into the abyss or something. His mouth slightly agape, slack jaw even, as he sands there motionless.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:14 AM on December 27, 2011


Flipper? Googly?

Segway
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:19 AM on December 27, 2011




If you're going to try frolicking with many sexy ladies,

What's awesome about the NSFW pictures accompanying that story is that they're all about to do (quite vigorously, I imagine), on a Murphy bed.
posted by fatbird at 9:05 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also had problems identifying the sport in this article until half way through. I guess I live in the wrong part of the world.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:51 AM on December 27, 2011


I also had problems identifying the sport in this article until half way through. I guess I live in the wrong part of the world.

Well that, and you didn't look at the tags. ;)
posted by bardophile at 9:57 AM on December 27, 2011


Who knew cricket was awesome.

More than a billion brown people all over the planet?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:58 AM on December 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


The referee is checking the doors...
posted by MartinWisse at 11:18 AM on December 27, 2011


For anyone wondering what on earth this post is all about, this won't help at all.
posted by cromagnon at 1:09 PM on December 27, 2011


Is there anything more tedious than provincialism?
posted by rodgerd at 11:46 PM on December 27, 2011


Yes.

Cricket.
posted by flabdablet at 10:45 AM on December 28, 2011


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