'Claw' the latest mystery delivery in international cricket

Sport360 staff 00:18 21/01/2018
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Mitchell Santner.

The margin of error in international cricket for bowlers is miniscule, especially in limited overs cricket.

Bowlers are constantly looking to develop ‘new’ deliveries that can deceive batsmen on flat surfaces as most players have developed a wide range of shots for ‘stock’ deliveries like the yorker or the traditional slower delivery.

Here are three ‘mystery’ deliveries currently used by bowlers at international level.

THE CLAW

The latest addition to cricket’s lexicon. New Zealand left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner unleashed the ‘claw’ to get Pakistan batsman Fakhar Zaman out bowled in the fourth match of the ODI series. Santner basically flicks the ball out of his fingers rather than rip it like a traditional spinner which means the ball floats the other way after pitching. While Santner said he tried out the left-arm version of the delivery mastered by India off-spinner Ravi Ashwin, the original offering was actually invented by Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.

THE CARROM BALL

The ball that catapulted India spinner Ravi Ashwin into the ‘mystery’ league. Ashwin used the delivery extensively when he first started his international career. Using his fingers to cut the ball the other way like a half-hearted leg-spinner, Ashwin now uses it mainly to get tail-enders out. Interestingly, Ashwin has added another dimension to his bowling but is yet to unleash it on the international stage – proper leg-spin with all its variants. Can’t wait to see that.

THE KNUCKLE BALL

First brought to the international stage by South African seamer Charl Langeveldt, the knuckle ball is an import from the world of baseball. It’s a slower delivery in which pacers release the ball with their knuckle behind the ball instead of the ball resting just on the fingers with the palm for support. The ball basically swerves and dips in the air, deceiving unsuspecting batsmen.

India left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan mastered the delivery and famously bowled Australia batsman Michael Hussey with the knuckle ball during the 2011 World Cup quarter-final. Currently, India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar uses the delivery regularly in limited overs cricket.

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