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Monday, November 21, 2011

Amol Rajan - The Twirlymen - Flippers

I've had Rajan's book The Twirlymen quite some time now and only read a little of it, but I've currently got a bit of time on my hands and I've been reading it and gradually getting through it. The book has got some really good stuff on The Flipper and its history which is all new to me, and makes complete sense, but the stuff where he explains what a Flipper is and how different people bowl the flipper and who bowled what variations when - hmmm I'm not so sure. I'm making notes on the bits that I think he's got wrong and I'll be cross referencing with Grimmetts info and stuff that Grimmett has discusssed with Ashley Mallett. One bit I had to smile at was his claim that the Off-Spinning Flipper had never been realised even by Grimmett. On page 185 he makes the point that Grimmett didn't invent the Flipper and that a number of other commentators falsely have accredited the delivery to Grimmett. He goes on to make a very reasonable point that the Flipper precedes Grimmet by many decades, but seemingly misses the point or at least fails to emphasise what it is that Grimmett did for the Flipper. The Flipper was introduced to Grimmett by Geroge Simpson Hayward, who I may have said previously elsewhere played for Essex, but I think the story is that Grimmett met him Essex, although I'm not 100% sure about that either. But GSH was one of the last under-arm bowlers and in 'Lob Bowling' spin had been imparted on the ball using the now familiar Flipper Click for decades. Through the discussion with GSH Grimmett saw that there was potential to take the Under-arm Flipper - over arm. Grimmett was an exponent of practicing all of the conventional wrist spin variations under-arm in order to explore the nuances of wrist position and its affect on the ball (Philpotts round the loop). So, seeing the George Simpson Hayward Flipper being bowled in different wrist positions to produce leg, off, stop and back-spin he saw that there was resonance with the conventional wrist spin variations and how they are produced with differing wrist angles.

So, yes Rajan is correct in that Grimmett never invented the click motion with the fingers, but Grimmett was the bloke that took it over-arm and turned it into the variations we see today. What is interesting in Rajans account on page 185 is the tract of text where he seems to be quoting Grimmett. In the text Grimmett seems to be explaining that he never unleashed any of his Flippers until he had them fully under -control and that the one that he went with, was the Off-Spinning Flipper, primarily it seems in order to negate having to bowl The Wrong Un, which according to Rajan Grimmett felt was physically demanding and likely to cause injury. Additionally Grimmett preferred this Flipper because it came out of the front of the hand like the Leg Break and reduced the potential for the Googly Syndrome.

My understanding from reading 'Getting Wickets' 1930 was that Grimmetts preferred option was in fact the Top-Spinning variation which was noted by Bradman later, but in 1930 at the time of publication all of the Flippers with the exception of the Flying Saucer variation (Benaud) were in development still and it would be a long time before Grimmett used one in first class cricket.

So the question for me is three-fold.........

1. Was the Off-spinning Flipper Grimmetts preferred variation?
2. Was The Top-Spinning variation ever used and is this the one that Bradman recognised and commented on as his Mystery Ball?
3. Who first described the Flying Saucer Flipper?

Note to self - Read Grimmetts 'Tricking the Batsman'.
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