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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Explained: How different is the wobble-ball grip?

India vs England 2nd Test: For the wobble, the two fingers are split across on either side of the seam. The angle of the seam for the wobble ball is similar to the out swinger, tilts towards the slips.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 12, 2021 9:15:48 am
England's James Anderson bowls a delivery during the first test match between England and India, at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, England, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021. (AP Photo: Rui Vieira)

The wobble-ball grip is almost similar to Anderson’s outswing grip with a minor tweak: even the index finger is on the leathery surface of the ball, adjacent to the seam. For the out swinger, he has the index finger on the seam and the middle finger on the surface of the ball. For the wobble, the two fingers are split across on either side of the seam. The angle of the seam for the wobble ball is similar to the out swinger, tilts towards the slips.

For the traditional out swinger, Anderson cocks the wrist and run the fingers down the seam to get the back rotation that’s needed to swing.

“With this (the wobble ball) I am not trying to cock the wrist as much and I am not trying to pull back on the ball as much to get that back motion – instead, I just try to release it as simple as possible and that’s when it gets that wobble effect.”

The swing he still manages to extract differentiates his wobble ball from most others. For his conventional out swinger, he lifts the index finger last off the ball at release. “If anything I am thinking about the finger. What I do with the (index) finger is I try to push the ball into the stumps and then it swings away later.” He does the same for the wobble, pushes it in and hopes for the jagged-seam landing to do its surprise trick.

In 2010, after watching a few wicked spells from Asif, Anderson had hit the nets. “Tried to figure out with my grip how to get the ball to do what he was doing with it. We got the video camera to focus on the seam to see what it was doing,” he once told the former player Derek Pringle. These days, the younger bowlers obsess over Anderson’s fingers to learn how he sends the best Test batsman of the world wobbling back to the hut.

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