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Cricket Basics
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Slower ball
In the sport of cricket, a slower ball is a slower-than-usual delivery from a fast bowler. The bowler's intention is to deceive the batsman into playing too early so that he either misses the ball completely or hits it high up in the air to offer an easy catch. It is analogous to a changeup in baseball.
The slower ball technique was introduced, probably by Franklyn Stephenson, in response to the demands of limited-overs cricket, not only to get wickets but also to slow down the scoring rate, as a slower ball will not carry to the boundary as easily as a normal fast delivery if it is hit square or behind the wicket. It is especially used in last ten or so overs because variation in speed is the key in order to prevent a late flurry of runs from the batsmen.

To be effective, the slower ball must be directed at or near the stumps in order to force the batsman to play, and the bowler's action must appear entirely normal. There are various tricks that the bowler can employ to slow the ball down:

* Bowling from the back of the hand, effectively a fast googly.

* Another back of the hand delivery is the reverse.
* Bowling with split fingers: the fingers are placed either side of the seam of the ball, and the ball is bowled full-length; when done correctly the delivery will appear to be a full toss until it suddenly drops. A similar technique is used to throw the split-finger fastball in baseball. Sri Lankan Dilhara Fernando holds the ball between the index and middle finger, and just fits it in the webbing between the two. This leads to the delivery of a slow loopy ball.
* Off cutter: instead of placing the index and middle fingers in the orthodox position together on the seam, the middle finger is moved round the ball slightly and then pulled down as the ball is released. The ball will tend to "break" or "cut in" from left to right as it pitches, as it does with off spin bowling. It can be effective to only bowl this ball with a single finger on top and it typically rests to the right hand side of the seam.
* Leg cutter: the same as an off cutter except that the fingers go the other way and the ball will tend to cut from right to left. Harder to keep straight than an off cutter.
* Palm ball: the ball is held in the palm instead of the fingers; this can be effective but is hard to disguise

* Reduction in the speed of the action: Can be quite effective as a "different" type of change of pace. Effectively you change only the rotation of your arm and retain your action.
The man who pioneered the modern slower ball, and its greatest exponent, is widely held to have been Franklyn Stephenson. Well-known players with effective slower balls include Stephenson's Notts roommate Chris Cairns, Ajit Agarkar, Craig McDermott and the young Steve Waugh.Recently, Dwayne Bravo gained fame by putting on display his dual variety of slower balls, one which suddenly dipped when appearing to be a full toss and one which had slower pace. The dipper led to the demise of Yuvraj Singh in the 2nd ODI in the India vs West Indies series 2006, getting the Carribean side a 1-run victory.
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