Shoaib's slower one
Been rather busy these last couple of days, haven't gotten down to responding to mails yet (plus, there is suddenly a whole heap of them!). So if someone else has written on the subject, will get to it soon-ish. For now, this from Shyam Shankar, on the slower ball:
I dont know if you saw the slower ball bowled by Shoaib in the England series. I read your post on the blog about the same. I am not sure if he bowled the same kind of slower ones against India in 2004. This one he bowled against England is totally different.
It is a looping, flighted delivery, which appears to the batsman as if it is a beamer, dips and pitches right in front of him or hits him very low on the pad.
I don't know if you remember the slower balls that Courtney Walsh bowled to Graham Thorpe - I don't remember the series - I think it was in 2000 WI tour of England.
And if my memory is correct, Walsh got Thorpe LBW twice with this special slower ball. Probably that was the first time any fast bowler bowled this kind of a slower one.
I don't know if my analysis of this is correct. But what I feel is that this kind of a slower ball bowled with loop and flight and which suddenly dips, is very difficult to pick for any batsman. The batsman feels the ball is going to hit him on the face, and so makes the initial movements to duck, only to find the ball dipping and pitching right in front of him or hitting him low on the pads.
More than anything else, I think all these batsmen, when they get out, leave the field quite embarassed.