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How to bowl a slower ball

As a bowler, it is important to be able to have numerous weapons in your armoury. The slower ball is a useful ball to have in your repertoire. The idea of the slower ball is to slow the batsmen's scoring rate, and also a wicket taking delivery. The slower ball is designed to deceive the batsmen, causing an errant shot and hopefully a wicket. As there is no pace on the ball, this reduces the likelihood of batsmen smashing the ball for 4 or 6.

There are numerous ways in which the bowler can bowl a slower ball. Some common slower balls used by elite cricketers include….

  • The off-cutter
  • The leg-cutter
  • Back of the hand
  • Palm ball
  • Split finger
  • Action speed

The off-cutter is where the bowler grips the ball as they normally would for their stock delivery. Instead of releasing it seam up, the middle finger tweaks across the ball, towards the off-side. The ball will come out slower and will turn slightly, into the batsmen.

The leg-cutter is the exact opposite to the off-cutter. The index finger rolls or tweaks across the ball, towards the leg side. This causes the ball to come out slower, with a little bit of leg spin.

The back of the hand slower ball is the exact opposite to a normal, stock delivery. Instead of bowling the ball, with the hand facing towards the batsmen, the wrist is turned around, so the hand is facing backwards, towards the batsmen. This reduces the amount of speed the ball has, creating a slower ball.

The palm ball is an effective slower ball. The ball is griped in the palm, instead of the fingers. This reduces the speed of the ball, creating a slower ball. This is effective as the arm speed of the bowling delivery can be kept the same, which deceives the batsmen.

The split finger delivery is similar to the palm ball in that the bowling action can remain at the same speed, but the ball comes out slower. This becomes hard for the batsmen to instantly recognize a slower delivery, reducing reaction time to adjust to the slower ball. The split finger delivery is achieved by spreading the fingers wide of the seam, then bowling it as you would normally. Glen McGrath used this ball late in his career.

The arm speed of the delivery can be changed in order to bowl a slower ball. This technique however is less effective as the batsmen can recognize a slower delivery action and they can have more time to adjust their shot.


  • Roll the fingers across the ball for off-cutters and leg-cutters
  • Back of the hand slower balls are achieved by turning the hand the opposite way than normal
  • Palm ball is achieved by holding the ball deep in the palm
  • Split finger slower delivery is achieved by splitting the fingers wide of the seam.
  • The speed of the bowling arm can be reduced
  • Practice, practice, practice.

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