How to bowl a slider | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How to bowl a slider

This article is an extract from Spin Bowling Tips. Master the art of spin bowling with the most comprehensive eBook on spin bowling ever produced, available now at PitchVision Academy.

The slider or back spinner is the reverse of the top-spinner. Instead of bouncing and kicking as the top-spinner does, the back spinner delivery will skid onto the batsman. This delivery is great for trying to trap the batsman LBW.


The grip is exactly the same as the leg-spin stock delivery. Two fingers up and two fingers down with the thumb on or off the ball as preferred.


The ball releases the hand rotating backwards.

It is essentially the reverse of the top spinner (explained in previous chapter). The thumb must face the batsmen and the side of the hand (on the little finger’s side) must face the bowler, but with the back the hand facing towards mid-wicket.

Figure 2: Leg-Spin Back Spinner Wrist Position (back)

Figure 3: Leg-Spin Back Spinner Wrist Position (front)

The action is the same as the standard leg-spin stock delivery (explained in leg spin stock delivery chapter).

The shoulders, hip and feet should be aligned with the target. The front arm leads and steers the action and pulls down driving the action forward. As the front arm pulls down the right shoulder will come forward generating the power in the delivery. The right shoulder should rotate towards the target and finish with that shoulder facing the stumps.

Line, Length, Flight and Target

The line, length and flight of the slider should be the same as the top-spinner. In other words, aim it at the batsman and wickets. Bowling the ball too wide will lose the advantage of the ball skidding and keeping low on the batsman.

The length should be a little shorter than normal. You want the batsman to play you of the back foot with this delivery. You are looking for the ball to keep low and trap him LBW.

You can vary the flight of the delivery as well. But do not bowl this delivery with too much flight. The real weapon here is that you want the ball to skid and keep low – and a quicker trajectory is better suited.

This delivery is very similar to the flipper but not as hard to bowl. So, start with this one before moving onto the flipper.



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I have searched many sites but cannot find how to bowl the drifter,any tips you can give to me.

Mate, you wont because there's not a ball called a 'drifter', you've probably heard a wrist spinner referring to one of his leg break variations as his drifter simply because the way that he bowls and presents the seam causes more drift than a slightly different variation? I take it you're looking to bowl a leg break that has loads of drift? If that's the case you simply need to be looking at information regarding 'The big leg break' or the biggun as some people refer to it. To be honest I'm not a big drifter of the ball myself because I'm still working on the Big Leg Break - but in essence when the ball leaves the hand the seam needs to be spin perfectly at 90 degrees to the direction of flight. The batsman would see the smooth face of the ball the opposite to a seam ball

(ll) = seam ball ( ) with the seam rotating anti-clockwise for a leg break

The roughness of the ball is a factor and it's something I've yet to investigate myself, but in the same way that seamers rough up one side of the ball to create drag and make the ball swing, you can increase the effect of the drift by having the rough side of the ball either facing the batsman or facing you as it leaves your hand. You'll have to follow it up yourself. If you want to explore the dynamics and physics of drift there's a pretty comprehensive description in Bob Woolmers book the Art and Science of cricket.

But in short what you need to be looking for is information on how to bowl the "Big Leg break". There's pelnty of information on that subject on the internet including my own blogs.

I've had another look into this myself and found a couple of sources including Woolmers book. There's an explanation in Woolmers book of Warnes ball of the century that looks at Drift in some detail, but the description follows a kind of caveat in that he says that "How this happens is not yet well described in scientific literature" and he goes on to say that the description is the most likely account of the physics behind the delivery. There's another really detailed account here on my mates blog from reading both accounts the delivery requires the Big Leg Break approach with the ball spinning 90 degrees to the direction of flight - but the axis which the ball spins around isn't horizontal and is in fact tilted forwards. It's the tilting forwards that then allows the magnus affect to start influencing the drift. Warnes delivery is also suspected not to have been the 100% pure big leg break but it probably some way back towards a normall leg break thus using dip as well. It's an exceptionally complex subject and if you look at Peter Philpotts book and his explanation from the 1980's which he credits to someone he knew who knew about physics - it's extremely basic and discredited by Woolmers explanation.

I think if you can bowl a good leg break and get the wrist round to bowl a Biggun as well, you'd probably do well thinking about the axis through which the ball rotates. If you can get the axis to be tilted forwards you'll probably start to see drift. Also get yourself a cheap new ball and rub all the shine off one side with a rasp or something similar and keep the shiny side good. Bowl with the shiny side going away from you and that should exaggerate anything you do that starts to get the drift going. Just watch what you're doing when you bowl. Drift isn't something that has bothered me that much till last summer when I started to notice that I was getting it to drift a bit. I think after reading all the material I have tonight I'm going to think about trying to get the axis pointing downwards and see if it makes a difference? You can see why wrist spinning is the most difficult speciality in cricket you need a masters degree in physics!!!

shakib al hasan bowls a ball that drifts hugely an goes straight on, i hear people refer to it as a drifter. They also say that it is a totally different ball to the armball. an that is what i was refering too. I bowl left arm orthodox

Sounds like an undercutter or a slider (offspinner's version) Chad. Graeme Swann bowls something similar.

Its a variation of the arm ball, basically it's all on The angles and how u hold the ball and seem position to get drift (for all spinners) il try and keep it simple enough lOl.
Its very similar to swing bowling, having the rough/dull heavy side in the direction u want it to swing drIft, for off spinners it's usually best to drift it away soooo for that rough side facing the batsman shinny side facing ur self seem angle shud be towards fine leg, remember ur holding it as a spinners grip now so wen u release the ball u need to release it with just a lil bit of over spin to n the seam angle in the air should be pointing toward fine leg n u will have drift n u don't need to try n turn the ball big i bowl leg spin n I just explained it for a off spinner, it's literally the same principle but the seem position shud be pointing towards third man, u just need to get the seam position right n to get turn it depends on how much u tweak it n rip it, plus if u ball into the wind with this trick Eye-wink ul get even more drift. Hope this helps xx

Hey Guys
Your site is totally rad
you help guys who don't know how to bowl through a simple online tutorial
I will definetely recommend your site to others
Thanks for teaching me to spin.

Hello to Pitchvision
Just curious as to whether there is finger action in the slider, as in are you doing to opposite to the topspinner and ripping it straight but in a backwards motion, or is it just hand action flicking it causing backspin. May sound like a dumb question but i have been taught to bowl the slider out the front imparting backspin but without the use of the fingers giving it a rip. Has been effective as a straight drifting delivery but not sure if it is truly sliding as it should.

Hello to Pitchvision
Just curious as to whether there is finger action in the slider, as in are you doing to opposite to the topspinner and ripping it straight but in a backwards motion, or is it just hand action flicking it causing backspin. May sound like a dumb question but i have been taught to bowl the slider out the front imparting backspin but without the use of the fingers giving it a rip. Has been effective as a straight drifting delivery but not sure if it is truly sliding as it should.

Hello to Pitchvision
Just curious as to whether there is finger action in the slider, as in are you doing to opposite to the topspinner and ripping it straight but in a backwards motion, or is it just hand action flicking it causing backspin. May sound like a dumb question but i have been taught to bowl the slider out the front imparting backspin but without the use of the fingers giving it a rip. Has been effective as a straight drifting delivery but not sure if it is truly sliding as it should.

Hello someblokecalleddave
I am a 14 year old left arm wrist spinner playing for an u/15 A team and SWD in South Africa.
It's my dream to one day play for my country since we are known for not having many quality spinners and I'd like to fill this void. I have read Peter Philpott's book on wrist spin bowling and also Bob Woolmer's and a few books of Shane Warne. I have a very rubbery wrist and incredibly flexible shoulders. I have developed ways to use this to my advantage bowling leg and off spin. I can bring my arm past the perpendicular and in some way I don't fully understand, my ring finger and wrist flick like a whip and my arm cuts down the left side of my body and I follow through angling towards the left side of the ball which somehow exagerates my drift to such extent that it's almost impossible for me to bowl a leg side wide. I also put really fizzing revs on the ball and I can physically see the ball dipping out of proportion to its flight. I can also bowl the top spinner, slider, wrong 'un, off spinners-top spinner, zooter and the knuckle ball and I am developing a doosra. I do have one question about a new type of delivery that I am bowling. The back of my left hand faces towards point or first slip and I spin the ball with my ring finger, giving it a type of backspinning off spin. It grips the pitch quite strange and stays very low, it drifts the wrong way in the same direction as the turn (off spin) and it slows down after pitching. Is there any equivalant to this delivery or is it only an off spinners backspinner because the grip is the same as the leg break.

Sounds like a gyroball.

hello AB
I am not sure what a gyroball is, sounds like a ball that rotates around a horizontal axis?
But this delivery is unlike any other delivery I have seen, heard of, or faced myself. The seam points towards mid on and it looks like I am bowling a Muttiah Muralitharan off spinner but without a bent arm. It seems to curve slightly to the left and then also spin sharply to the left staying very low, but it is in no way like the undercutter, teesra, doosra, or arm ball.
Could you please explain what a gyroball is and if it is similar to this delivery?

I'm not sure if this really is "the slider", more like "a slider." Shane Warne only used his wrist to propel his slider forwards with a bit of side spin and back spin so it skids on with the drift. Then there is my slider which 'n bowl using my extreme drift to skid it on even though it has 45 degrees side spin. Peter Philpott mentions a few bowlers who bowled other types of sliders, then there is the Richie Benaud slider or "skidder" as he calls it. Doug Ring invented this slider and taught it to Benaud. And I have a "karate chop slider" which looks like an off break but swings away from the batsman and skids on. Some people bowl a "slider" but it is just the way seam bowlers bowl. So there are various types of sliders and this is just one of them.

Jacques, sorry mate, but you're going to have to be very specific as to where you've ever seen Peter Philpott talk or write about any back-spinning delivery and refer to it as a 'slider'. Furthermore, I'd be very interested in seeing a detailed description by any professional protagonist in a book that describes a 'Slider'.

With regards any new variation, there may be many and needless to say there are sub-versions of existing and well described standard deliveries. But in order that any of these are verified as being genuine, I'm of the opinion that the inventor in the first instance needs to have credibility e.g. be a world class exponent of the art and recognised as such and needs to commit the definition of the delivery in writing and with the aid of illustrations.

In his book "The Bowlers Art" Brian Wilkins makes this point (Page 110)...
Talking about the much described 'Flipper'

Even now, more than thirty years later, I am prepared to lay a tidy bet that not one cricketer or cricket watcher in ten thousand understands what a Flipper really is. Not that there are plenty, including media commentators who think they know.

Look in any book written by any wrist spinner of note and you'll not find a single reference to a ball that is called a 'Slider' or a 'Zooter'. Look at the internet where nothing can be verified and by virtue of my presence on the internet I appear to be the worlds leading voice on all things 'Wrist Spinning' and you'll find many references to the so-called 'Sliders and Zooters', but if you dig deeper you'll struggle to find any detailed descriptions of these so called deliveries and there's a simple reason why. Warne at the height of his career aided by the likes of C9's Mark Nicohlas spun a web of deceit and confusion within the media, claiming to have a bag full of deliveries that would undo and bamboozle the Poms. The terms 'Slider' and 'Zooter' emerged around this time and Warne took to describing the Orthodox Back-Spinner in videos as the 'Slider', adding the term Zooter to confuse things even further.

Terry Jenner in a video made for the ECB which is not easily accessed as you have to be a coach, scoffs at the idea that these terms are anything but bluff. Warne bowled or attempted to bowl the Orthodox Back-spinner in games, but because of the nature of the delivery and how difficult it is to bowl, it would often come out wrong and hit the smooth surface of the ball and skid on, or slide on. Commentators would then cross reference Warnes use of the term and call it a Slider, whereas the truth was more like Jenners analysis of the ball - it was a messed up version of either his Big Leg Break or the OBS.

One of his coaches (Warne) has written about or at least alluded to a ball that was released out of the front of the hand with no spin or very little spin that was designed to go straight on, but as to whether that quantifies as a Wrist Spinners delivery, I'm very sceptical and I wouldn't hold you breath waiting for Warne to include that in any future book called 'The new deliveries I invented in the 1990's', because as far as I can make out he never did. Yeah, he talked a lot and bluffed a lot and waged a psychological war against us Poms, but he didn't invent the Slider or the Zooter and neither did anyone else, it's simply the Orthodox back-spinner or the Big Leg Break gone wrong and I'm standing by that till you can show me otherwise.

One book where you will find a vague description is Amol Rajans "The Twirlymen", but even then he writes about it in terms of Warnes own descriptions and therefore appears to be taken in by the same hype of the 2005 Ashes. The description Rajan offers is that of the OBS, but again by someone (Warne) who is not a master of the delivery hence the fact that it comes out wrong and has the characteristics of the ball you all call a Slider/Zooter.

Rajan also writes about the Slider again in the context of Doug Ring using the term slider, but he then again interjects with an additional comment referring to Jenner and the fact that Jenner for-ever being precise would describe it as the Back-Spinner (OBS). But, I have to point out, that despite the fact that Rajan links the term Slider with Doug Ring, there is no explicit definition and I'm pretty sure if there was it would as Terry Jenner suggests would again be the Orthodox Back-Spinner as explicitly described by Peter Philpott in his 'The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling'.

The term "slider" was used to describe a delivery that Warne bowled by pulling down the back and left side of the ball to create a diagonal spin (part leg spin part back spin) so I think we can assume this is as close as we can get to a "slider". However, there were probably thousands of bowlers before Warne that also had "sliders" and claimed to invent them before Warne even laid his hands on a cricket ball. Also, the word 'slider' is used to describe a backspinning variation. So why SLIDE-r? Because "sliding", "skidding", "zooting", "zipping" etc. are the effects that backspin has on this variation. In other words, can't you just call any delivery a slider, as long as it has backspin revolutions and skids (slides, zoots...) regardless of the method used to bowl it? Especially since no professional cricketer has ever written down precisely how to bowl it with illustrations and proof.

That's what I meant when I said Peter Philpott mentioned different sliders. Different types of backspinners (besides the flipper) that skid on. I don't think we should accept Warne's method of bowling it as the only "slider", because there are numerous ways of sliding/skidding the ball on and his way isn't necessarily the best way.

Last year in about August I tried to learn the slider (as a left arm chinaman I really needed a delivery that would skid on, since I only possessed top spinning deliveries and variations then) and I read your article on sliders and backspinners about 5 times. From then on I was convinced that the slider was the reverse of the top spinner (karate chop ball) and I kept practicing it. This year in January I could bowl it good enough to use it in games. And I did! The seam was perfectly upright with backspin, I could scramble it, and it had good revs. But the batsmen were never troubled by it and put it away. I discovered that I went so far around the loop the ball I was bowling actually looked like an off break! Then I read Peter Philpott's book and was fascinated by his backspin-talk. I already had the big leg break (seam perpendicular to pitch) and after reading The art of wrist spin bowling, I invented my own variation... A deadly slider that challenged every batsman I bowled to and eventually got me 3 wickets in 2 games. (with loads of near-dismissals)

If you go further around the loop from the square leg break, just a little, you can make the seam spin at 45 degrees backwards and 45 sideways. The difference between this and your stock ball is very, very difficult to detect. This may only be happening in my case but I'm not sure... If you get the ball to drift about 22 centimeters laterally, (stumps width) the ball drifts in the same angle as the seam, with added swing because of it's angle. Because of this it skids on in that same angle, for some reason I can't entirely explain. If I'm bowling at a right handed batsman (remember I'm a chinaman), the balls starts on about middle stump, lands outside off, and skids on, away from the batsman. There is a very slim chance that you'll pick it from the hand, and an even smaller chance for you to see the backspin in the air if the ball has a scrambled seam. Magic stuff!

I was delighted when I saw this variation got me wickets, and lots of them! But then I read your blog and saw that you declared this as a "big leg break". Then I went out and got footage of this variation, and it clearly spins at precisely 45 degrees, then skids to the left on any surface. Why? After thinking a lot I realized it must be because of my drift. Some other bowlers that don't get my 30 centimeters drift would get huge turn by bowling this "slider" And I also turn it more than a usual leg break when I bowl over very short distances. So it's actually a 2 in 1 variation. Skids on if there's drift, turns heaps if there isn't! I might be wrong but I think Stuart Macgill also bowled this variation, but he didn't get loads of drift so his turned a little.

That's my "slider". If I bowl Warne's slider it turns most of the time. If I push the ball out if the front of the hand it also turns. And my karate chop slider is too easy to pick.

But is it really wrong if I refer to these deliveries as sliders? Because each of them slide on, skid on etc. And maybe the term slider is after all just slang for *a delivery that has backspin as it travels through the air and thus lands fuller than a ball with no revolutions because of the Magnus Effect. If it is bowled correctly it 'skids on' which means that it doesn't turn and sometimes shoots through quicker on the pitch (zoots) On some surfaces it could also stall and bounce up*

My opinion is that the slider definitely exists, you can watch footage of Warne circa 2005 and he bowls 100s of the things. Its just a legbreak that he allows to slide out with a scrambled seam, resulting in a mixture of sidespin and backspin. Its very easy to bowl if you give it a go.

The flipper also definitely exists, again you can watch footage of Warne bowling them circa 1993 and he bowls them reasonably frequently - although not nearly as often as he was given credit for.

There are also a million examples of legspinners bowling quicker balls, flat quick topspinners, or just legbreaks that don't turn and they being labelled as "zooters", "flippers" or all sorts of things. There is a notorious example of Brad Hogg bowling a topspinner that is mistakenly labelled a flipper on youtube.

What I don't believe exists is the "orthodox backspinner" as described by Philpott, simply because I have never seen one bowled, either in real life or on tv, and no-one is able to point me towards any footage of one being bowled either.

Your right, the slider and flipper does exist. But so does the orthodox backspinner, if Warne's delivery is the only variation that can be labelled "slider", then the orthodox backspinner as described by Philpott is the delivery that I bowl.

I think you should take a look at the video 'Stuart Macgill's new danger ball' I think that is the best example of the orthodox backspinner as shown by an international player. However it may just be the slider, can't really make out. But anyway if you want to see an orthodox backspinner (or what seems to be one) just have a look at that video.

That's a slider, exactly the same as Warne bowls it. You can see the fingers running down the back of the ball.

I don't know why anyone would attempt to spin the ball backwards out of the side of the hand, when its both easier to control and harder to pick to bowl it out of the front of the hand.

If it's the karate chop slider your talking about, I agree, there are more effective ways of skidding the ball. But the karate chop slider is mainly used because it has more revs and it swings a lot through the air!

Even though Warne had success with his slider, I believe that the round the loop slider is much better. (Not far around the loop, the ball should only spin slightly backwards with more side spin) You can generate just as much revs as your stock leg break with this variation, and it's harder to pick (because there isn't a difference between it and the leg break, it IS the leg break, just an inch further around the loop) and as a bonus it does everything that the Warne slider does, 2 fold!

If you bowl a few topspinning leg breaks, and follow it up with this variation, the ball will literally land 4 meters fuller than expected! The batsman will be surprised by the lack of dip and backspin carrying the ball further... To add to the confusion it skids on, sometimes even 'turns' the wrong way, and because of the enhanced revs it will stay deceptively low.

It is harder to bowl than a ball you just push out of the front of the hand, but if you take into account how much better it's effects are... A bit of extra work perfecting it seems like nothing! You could actually use it as a stock ball ! I haven't tried that tactic before, but it can be very successful if you get it right. (Bowling just the skidding backspinners, and mix it up with a top spinning leggy now and then which will dip, kick up and turn)

Hey everyone

The slider exists and is simply a back spinner in it's simplest format.

Obviously it can go by other names and it is never black and white as to what you are really bowling. If a leg spinner spins just a tiny amount, was that a top spinner or a leg spinner? Tough.

Please don't take all these definitions so seriously, with calls of having the names defined in writing by world class expert and having Shane Warne himself put his seal of approval on it. What does that mean in any case? I'm trained as an engineer and I can tell you that even in technical peer review publications experts still differ on everything.

So, if I call my backspinner a slider, and define my version in my coaching book and blogs, well, then who cares? You can still learn from it. I got pictures and defined it's meaning in my context. If you want to call it something else, then cool.

I'd rather focus on getting young spinners to takle wickets and get the mental apsects right than argue for pages and pages on what a ball should be called.

For what it's worth - here is my definition on my blog: (and if you do not agree with it - it's really ok!)

So you think that any delivery that slides can be called a slider? I agree with that, but it's also true that you get intentional sliders and accidental sliders. Like the one Warne bowled to Ian Bell in the ashes of 2005, Richie Benaud called it a slider, but it was actually just a leg break spinning normally in the direction of second slip that hit a spot on the pitch that made it skid on.

The reason why I believe any ball with backspin or that skids on should be / can be called a slider is because there are so many. If every delivery that skids on had a different name it would be way to much trouble, and you can't just label all the rest "orthodox backspinners". They are bowled in many different and unique ways, entirely different from each other, so how can each of them be "orthodox"?

Leg break bowling sliders...
1) Karate chop slider
2) My way of bowling the slider (call it the zipper)
3) Slider palmed out of the front of the hand (similar to Warne's slider?)
4) Slider bowled with the same wrist position as the flipper but without a flick, just a push (much easier to control than the flipper and very little revs)
5) Quicker flatter scrambled seam backspinner bowled similar to a seamer but with more backspin
6) The "no-rev slider" that some bowlers have used to good effect, use a different grip so the ball comes out with no revs

Off break bowling sliders
1) Slider palmed out of the front of the hand
2) Seamer slider
3) Carrom ball out of the back of the hand (yes it is possible, I saw a fast bowler that used it as his slower ball, has backspin, looks like a topspinning delivery but keeps low when it pitches)
4) Slider flicked out of the side of the hand (back of the hand facing mid-off)
5) Isn't the teesra just another type of slider?

So each of the two forms of bowling has a large number of sliders and those in my list aren't even the only existing ones, just a few of them.

Maybe in a few years another Ajantha Mendis will come onto the scene and start bowling 15 different sliders!