What is a Flipper Ball in Cricket? – How to Bowl it?

There are lots of different deliveries in the game of cricket and this is one of the more unusual. It’s time to take a closer look at the flipper.

What is a Flipper Ball in Cricket?

A flipper is a delivery in cricket which is sent down by the spin bowlers. It is predominantly used by leg spinners as part of their set of variations.

Instead of turning like a regular leg spin delivery, the flipper skids on low and fast after it pitches. There will be little or no turn.

Flipper Ball in Cricket
Flipper Ball in Cricket

How to Bowl the Flipper Ball?

Grip: All deliveries start with the grip: In this case, the flipper’s grip is the same as the regular leg break. The top joints of the middle and index fingers run across the seam.

Release: The release is markedly different: With the flipper, the thumb is doing a lot of the work. At the point when you let go of the ball, the thumb and fingers are ‘squeezing’ it out of the hand. Practise trying to click your fingers on the point of release.

This helps the ball to rotate in a clockwise direction and the seam will face the batter. If it’s all been carried out correctly, the ball will now shoot on with the arm, low and fast.

Who Invented the Flipper Ball?

There is some debate over this but the man who is more widely credited with the invention of the flipper ball is the Australian Clarrie Grimmett. He was an Australian leg spinner who played 37 test matches between 1925 and 1936.

It’s said that the flipper became so productive that Grimmett bowled it almost as frequently as his conventional leg spinner.

Top Bowlers of the Flipper Ball

Shane Warne had all the variations and his list of deliveries included the flipper. Warne’s flippers were especially productive as they could keep very low and pick up some significant pace off the wicket.

Anil Kumble was another bowler who delivered the flipper with great effect. Kumble’s standard delivery was quicker than most spinners so the flipper was a natural extension that gave him an extra level of speed.

Anil Kumble

Abdul Qadir of Pakistan was one of the first leg spin bowlers of the modern era to use the flipper and he did so with excellent results.

What is the Difference Between a Googly and a Flipper?

The googly is a disguised ball bowled by leg spinners. It is sent down with subtle changes in the delivery which are meant to confuse the batter. With a conventional leg spin delivery, the ball should turn from leg to off stump for right handers.

The googly will turn in the opposite direction, from off to leg, when it is used correctly.

The flipper doesn’t turn very much. Instead, it will move straight on ‘with the arm’. Spin is minimal and the chief weapon with the flipper is greater speed and a tendency to keep low.


As an interesting footnote, it’s said that batsmen used to pick Clarrie Grimmett’s flipper because they could hear him click his fingers on the point of release. To counteract this, he started to click the fingers of his non-bowling hand when he was delivering a conventional leg break.

Hopefully you won’t have issues such as these but this is a difficult delivery to master and you’ll need to put aside plenty of time at the nets if you want to perfect it. It’s certainly no coincidence that the best exponents of the flipper are up there with the greatest leg spinners of all time.

Shane Warne, Anil Kumble and Abdul Qadir are three men who used this to great effect. If the flipper works for you in club cricket, you’ll be in very good company.