Bowlers today, especially in limited overs, are gravely struggling; primarily because of the rules inclined against them. This has led to them losing out on their variations by a great deal. However, this was not always the case. There have been bowlers, through several decades of cricket, who have perfected certain variations in the deliveries and became renowned for it. Here is a list of five remarkable cricket deliveries and the bowlers who mastered them.
The In-Swinging Yorker- Waqar Younis-: Cricket lore is filled with legendary bowlers who mastered the art of delivering deathly yorkers. From Joel Garner in the 70s to Lasith Malinga today, bowlers have tormented batsmen with their yorkers. However, it was Pakistan’s Waqar Younis who made the inswinging yorker completely his own. He was a nightmare in sub continental conditions when the ball would begin to reverse swing. The way he dished out those yorkers was just magical. It would come in at speed and would then curl in the air to crash into the batsman’s foot; often crushing their toes or uprooting their middle and leg-stumps. There are many who were and are good at bowling yorkers but Waqar was just a genius at it. Bouncer- Malcolm Marshall: Several skulls have been cracked, noses have been broken and many batsmen have had their hearts in their mouth while facing the bouncers from this tall and legendary West Indian fast bowler. Marshall was feared for his pace and variety but it were bouncers that created the biggest dent in the opposition batsmen’s psyche. Even the best of the batsmen had no answers to his vicious bouncers. Tail-enders would not even dare attempt play them. To this day there has been no other bowler who can bowl a bouncer with such savagery as Malcolm Marshall did.
The Doosra – Saqlain Mushtaq: He has to be credited with the inventor of this delivery. Today, the ‘doosra’ or the ‘other one’ is a common word in cricketing terminology but it was Saqlain Mushtaq of Pakistan who mastered it. The delivery is bowled by off-spinners and as the name suggests it goes the other way after pitching. Meaning, instead of coming in to the batsman as an off-spinning delivery should, the doosra goes away from him. Simple as it may sound, it is really hard to perfect and Saqlain did it masterfully. He bamboozled the best of batsmen who would be found scratching their heads as the doosra would snare them.
Flipper- Shane Warne: The legendary Australian leg-spinner used this delivery to absolute great effect. Though he was good at several other varieties, it was the ‘flipper’ which he was simply unplayable at. It was a delivery that had flummoxed innumerable batsmen and not easy to bowl at all. Essentially, the ball is bowled at a flatter trajectory and has to be bowled exactly within the line of the stumps. If one misses the length by an inch, batsmen can plunder it for runs easily. But Warne was a sheer genius whilst bowling flippers. They came at such speed that batsmen would have no time to adjust and would often be dismissed bowled, LBW or caught behind. Any spinner willing to bowl this delivery has to watch video clipping of the legendary bowler’s flippers. That in itself is an education.
In-swinger- Richard Hadlee: The fact that Richard Hadlee of New Zealand was one of the greatest fast bowlers ever is well known. The legendary pacer had a variety of stock deliveries. But it was his in-swing that was the most destructive. He had the outstaying ability to swing the ball in to the batsman at menacing pace which more often than not would catch them plumb in front of the wicket or would uproot their middle-stump. This is a delivery which depends a lot on overhead conditions but Hadlee had the ability to swing the ball in to the batsmen on almost any pitch and at any ground. He was a true master of the in-swinger and to date no other bowler has come close to being as vicious while bowling it as him.