At club cricket the slower ball is Marmite.
People either love it or hate because there’s a thin line between bravery and stupidity. Deciding when to use a slower ball is subjective and relative to the situation.
I see most people (and I myself am guilty of this too) bowl a slower ball after they have been hit for a boundary as a comeback ball.
The element of surprise is key in delivering an effective slower ball. After hitting a boundary the batsman is in a more defensive mode to face the next ball. He’s looking to take the single.
So your first thought should be to ask if the batsman in the right mindset to be surprised by a slower ball. Let’s face it; some are easier to deceive than others.
But once you have avoided this trap, how do you decided what type of ball to bowl and – perhaps more importantly – how to bowl it?
A cutter is a great place to start whether you are new to slower balls or a Jade Dernbach bowling chameleon.
As you know the trick of cutting deliveries is to put spin on the ball so it cuts around his defence or to pop a catch up.
That means fielding positions like cover and midwicket see the benefit of this turn and change of pace in creating a chance.
Either way, the length of this ball is vital: look to bring the batsman forward as a short cutter is much easier to play.
The easiest slower ball to master is the off-cutter, as this is the least adjustment from a standard delivery wrist position. You roll your fingers down the ball.
A leg-cutter - a delivery bowled out the back of the hand - requires much more practice. A great practitioner of this was Ian Harvey, a man who quite possibly mastered the art of variation in pace to great success.
2. Grip position slower balls
Your other option is to bowl slower balls that are bowled with the same action but a change in grip allowing it to loop out of the hand. These are all about the change of pace rather than movement off the pitch.
They bowl the batsman through pure deception.
Or they create lofted chances to mid-on and mid-off; so the field should be set as a trap for this delivery.
The most popular grip position delivery is the split finger technique used by Glen McGrath; where the index and middle fingers are split very wide around the ball to create and anti-grip of the ball.
However there are a great many that you can try; you can get instant access to videos the explain 5 of them from Ian Pont here.
These techniques take a lot of practice but create some of the best slower balls I have used and seen.
Get it right and prepare to receive a massive pat on the back.
Get it wrong and prepare for a massive clip around the ear.
Leave a comment and let us know your slower ball thought process.