Decoding the mystery of slower ball

Venkatesh Prasad was among the finest exponents of the slower ball in his time, an early trend-setter. Now the delivery has become an essential weapon for a paceman, particularly in the shorter forms of the game.

In the ongoing IPL, the slower deliveries from pacemen have swung several games. Venkatesh Prasad weighed in on three essential forms of this delivery.   -  The Hindu

Deception is the key while sending down the slower ball.

“It must be delivered with the same action, without much change in the wrist position. The batsman should not be able to read it,” said former India paceman Venkatesh Prasad to Sportstar.

Prasad was among the finest exponents of the slower ball in his time, an early trend-setter. Now the delivery has become an essential weapon for a paceman, particularly in the shorter forms of the game.

In the ongoing IPL, the slower deliveries from pacemen have swung several games. Prasad weighed in on three essential forms of this delivery.

Knuckle ball: Prasad said, “You need to keep the ball in the non-bowling hand and switch at the last moment, during your gather, to the bowling hand. It has to happen fast without the batsman realising it. The ball, in normal instances, is gripped with the forefinger, middle-finger and the thumb. But while bowling the knuckle ball, the ball is only supported by the forefinger and the thumb. The middle finger and the ring finger are folded. There is not enough pressure on the ball when it is released and it floats. The batsman is often off-set by the lack of speed in the ball.

Back-of-the-hand ball: Prasad revealed, “There is a subtle change in the wrist position. Normally the palm will be facing the batsman. Here the batsman sees the back of the palm. The ball rolls on the fingers, comes out slow to baffle the batsman. Because of my high-arm action, I used to get some bounce as well when I bowled this delivery.”

Split finger slower delivery: Prasad observed, “This is a difficult delivery to bowl. There is a last minute change in the grip. When you bowl the split finger slower ball, you widen the gap between the forefinger and the middle-finger as you hold the sphere. And the ball rests between the two fingers that are wide apart. There is hardly any pace on the ball as it is released. Dilhara Fernando was a fine exponent of this delivery.”

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