When to Bowl a Backspinner | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

When to Bowl a Backspinner

Menno Gazendam is author of Spin Bowling Project. Get your free 8 week spin bowling course here

When should you bowl your backspinner?

Nothing stops you bowling it at any time, but then you are just bowling without a plan. And good spinners always bowl with a plan.


The best time to bowl it is on harder wickets.

On softer tracks it sits up, waiting to be hit. But on harder wicket it will keep lower than your stock delivery.

The problem with the soft wicket is that the ball will stick a bit and hold up. With a backspinner you will compound that effect and the ball will hold up a lot.

Too slow in fact, as the length you want to adopt with the backspinner is for the batsman to play back (you are looking for an LBW or bowled). And with that length you do not want the ball to sit up to be hit.

If you bowl the backspinner on a harder wicket it will have the effect of reducing the bounce and keeping lower (very similar to the flipper). And this is what you want. You want the batsman to play back for slow turn but be in trouble when the bounce and turn is not there.

So, if you are faced with a wet and sticking wicket, bowl the ball slower and keep the quick and flat backspinners in your locker for harder tracks.

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very good point i always bowl a slider in soft wicket nd get pulled for four when try to makeup for this and bowl more faster and fuller it is drived through mid off or covers so nice tip .like this also publish an article about topspinner nd other varieties nd with detail of field setting nd types of batsmen to use specific varieties on..

I've found new evidence to prove that the backspinner as described by Peter Philpott does exist. Have a look at this video, at 2:07 you'll see that Warne is holding the ball seam-up like a fast bowler. This means that if he bowls with a normal leg spin action, imparting spin with the wrist as well as the ring finger, the ball will come out with a scrambled seam. If he held the ball with a normal grip and used his ring finger the ball would have an upright seam. The so called "slider" he bowls in this video is clearly held seam-up and comes out with a scrambled seam. Most people believe that he only pulled down on the ball or released it without imparting any spin. However, it is nearly impossible to bowl a ball with a seam as scrambled as the seam in the video with a seam-up grip. Just ask a fast bowler, the worst thing their seam position ever does is wobble, Warne's seam position was doing much more than mere wobbling, which means he didn't simply pull down on the back of the ball or bowl it without imparting spin. If he did, the seam would be upright and pointing towards fine leg.

I'm convinced that he uses the same method as I do, the reversed wrist position of the googly with spin being imparted by the ring finger or in his case perhaps by the 5th finger. This is much more effective than simply pushing / rolling the ball out of the hand. If Warne held the ball in a conventional leg spin grip and it came out with a scrambled seam it would be the traditional "slider" that is only pushed from the hand like a fast bowler. But I think that video proves Warne used the Philpott method!
In this video Warne bowls it with an upright seam. Not as effective, but this was early in his career when he still had the flipper and googly. Perhaps later in his career when he he needed a new, better variation he turned to Jenner and was then taught the OBS? ("slider" bowled with the ring finger) Or he was already bowling the OBS in the video but held it with a normal grip so it spun with an upright seam? He also says that it's hard on the wrist, a ball that it just pushed out of the hand with very little spin isn't hard on the wrist! Especially not on some of the best wrists to ever spin a cricket ball, which is more proof that he was most likely bowling the OBS and not the ball that's pushed out of the front of the hand.

"However, it is nearly impossible to bowl a ball with a seam as scrambled as the seam in the video with a seam-up grip"

What? I do that all the time Jacques. Its called a slider. There is plenty of still and slo-mo footage on the internet showing exactly how Warne bowled it. The grip is irrelevent really, video after video shows that he bowled it with the 45 degree spin, a scrambled seam, out of the front of the hand.

What is the 5th finger? I only have 4 fingers on each hand. Do you mean the thumb?


Yes, it does come out of the front of the hand. What I want to know is: Did Warne bowl it in the same way that he bowls his leg spinner; by flicking the ball and imparting spin with his spinning finger (ring finger, and as described in countless videos - the 4th finger) or did he simply "push" the ball? If he did "push" the ball, why does it have a scrambled seam when he holds it with a fast bowlers grip? Why is it "hard on the wrist"? Why does it occasionally drift? (You need quite a lot of revs to get drift, a "pushed" / "rolled" delivery won't have enough revs)

Have a close look at his slider and you'll see that his finger seems to unfurl in the same way that it does in his leg break. The finger is bent and in contact with the ball, at release it straightens and spin is imparted.

This unfurling motion is the difference between my slider and the conventional slider as described by most wrist spinners. The harder and faster the finger unfurls, the more revolutions you generate. (The "big flick")

Does that sound more or less correct to you and do you think that it makes any difference to the delivery? (Besides changing your ability to bowl the ball with a scrambled or upright seam)

A slider has 50% backspin 50% sidespin, not just 100% backspin, that would just be a straight backspinner. So obviously you have to give it a bit of a flick to get that crucial element of sidespin that makes it drift.