Looking for more variations

Peter Philpott, in his “The Art of Wrist-Spin Bowling”, described the concept of a spinner going “around the loop” – keeping the finger movement constant, but rotating the wrist between successive deliveries, to change the direction of spin.

So, for a right-arm wrist spinner, you might start with a “big leggie”, releasing the ball with the seam pointing at gully, or even cover; then a “little leggie”, with the seam directed to first slip; the top spinner, with the seam straight down the wicket; the googly, with the wrist now turned even further round so that the seam is spun towards leg slip.

Shane Warne’s “slider” might be the delivery at the opposite end of the loop to the googly – still with the same finger movement as a regular leggie, but now with palm of the hand towards gully and the seam pointing towards leg slip but with the fingers spinning the ball back towards the bowler.

And if that sounds like a convoluted description, just imagine how it must be to bowl the delivery!

For the finger spinner, perhaps the loop from doosra, through top-spinner and on to the regular off-break could be continued on to include the “flipper”…and back to Saqlain’s teesra…perhaps.

What is the teesra?

When I started this blog, I struggled to come up with a name that evoked the fascination I feel for the game of cricket. I didn’t want to write as the wrong’un, much as the googly would fit the bill – possibly the original mystery ball. Professor Bruce Charlton already had an excellent blog called the doosra.

So I went one further. After the doosra (the second, or “other” on), comes the third one, or “The Teesra”. Saqlain Mushtaq was reputed to be developing a new mystery delivery, back in 2004. At the time, it wasn’t really clear if this ball ever was ever bowled in anger, or even exactly what the delivery might be.

But a post on cricistan.com shows Saqlain bowling his “third one” (after the off break, and the doosra) in the 2008 ICL. [post no longer available; video clip removed from youtube for copyright violation]

It looks like a flipper – palm of the hand facing away from the bowler at the point of release, the ball flipped out beneath the fore-finger. And the video clip shows the result as a seemingly short delivery pitches much further up than expected, and skids on to trap him leg before.

So is this the new mystery ball? Or could it be Graeme Swann’s “gyro” arm ball?

It doesn’t really matter – so long as spin bowlers can keep coming up with new ways to take wickets, the game will stay as fascinating as ever.

twenty20 again – England win…

I have just listened to the ICC Twenty20 World Cup final on the radio. And England win!

I have been very impressed by the comments from the England team – they have a plan, and a very clear idea of how to play the game. No more experiments in mid-match (or worse, in mid-over).

Not that they are stereotyped – they give the impression that they have a whole play book of alternative strategies lined up. If plan A does not work, we’ll try plan B, or C…

England are really doing nothing more than playing “good cricket”. They are very aware of the game situations, and what they need to do. And now, because they don’t have to make up tactics on the fly, they can rely on techniques that they have practised and know will work.

This follows on from the succes of essentially orthodox batting in the IPL, especially from Sachin Tendulkar and Jacques Kallis. Play the ball on its merits – it’s just true that Sachin and Jacques both had such a range of strokes that far more deliveries deserve to be hit to the boundary!

How simple is that?