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A slow ball can be a useful weapon for the quick bowlers. For the spinners, slow deliveries may be a regular part of their game. Here’s a list of some memorable slower balls.
Who has Bowled the Slowest Ball in Cricket History?
The slowest ball in the history of cricket was delivered by Leigh Kasperek of New Zealand in 2017.
Playing in a match against Australia, Kasperek was clocked at just 38 kph.
Top 10 Slowest Balls in Cricket History
Chris Cairns in 1999
This is one of the most memorable cases of a batsman being completely deceived by a slower delivery. In the England v New Zealand series of 1999, Chris Read ducks a slow ball from Chris Cairns, believing it to be a beamer.
Late dip on the ball saw it drop and crash into Read’s stumps.
Aaqib Javed in 1992
Pakistan won the 1992 World Cup in Australia and this brilliant slower ball from Aaqib Javed helped them to overcome New Zealand in the semi final. Mark Greatbatch was the batsman in question and he was in great form coming into this game.
Greatbatch was well placed in this match and he’d already hit Aaqib and Wasim Akram for maximums. Javed tried the slower ball which hit the batsman on the pad but he was outside the line. When he attempted it again, Greatbatch advanced down the track but was bowled by a brilliant slow leg cutter as he misjudged the flight.
Shoaib Akhtar in 2005
He’s the man who sent down the fastest recorded ball in cricket history, so it would have been a huge surprise whenever Shoaib Akhtar reduced his pace. He sent down a number of slower balls that could have been included here, but the best of them came in 2005 v England.
England skipper Michael Vaughan completely misread a slow yorker from Shoaib and jabbed an easy catch back to the bowler.
Jasprit Bumrah in 2018
He’s one of India’s fastest ever bowlers, so good luck to whoever plays Jasprit Bumrah when he drops his pace. The delivery under the spotlight here was bowled to Shaun Marsh in 2018 and it saw the seamer drop down to a recorded 113 kph.
That’s a considerable drop from his average of 140 kph. It completely confused the batsman who was out plumb LBW in front of the stumps.
Dwayne Bravo in 2006
Not only was this a brilliant slower ball, it was vitally important in terms of the match. The West Indies were playing India in an ODI in 2006 and some brilliant batting from Yuvraj Singh had taken his team to the brink of victory.
Yuvraj was facing Dwayne Bravo with India needing two to win from three balls with one wicket left. Bravo dropped his pace to 117 kph, and Yuvraj misjudged it as the slow yorker drifted into leg stump.
Majid Haq in 2015
Back in 2015, Scotland’s off spinner Majid Haq bowled the slowest ball in the history of men’s cricket. It was timed at just 41.6mph.
This wasn’t a deliberate slower ball like most of those on this list. This is the type of speed that Majid regularly bowls at.
Naved-ul-Hasan in 2004
When you were up against Virender Sehwag, you had to try all the tricks to dismiss one of the most destructive batters in world cricket. In this match, Sehwag enjoyed the upper hand early on as he raced to 82 runs from 56 deliveries.
Naved-ul-Hasan received some punishment and he was also struggling to keep his front foot behind the line. It was the first game in a five-match ODI series between Indian and Pakistan and something needed to happen.
Naved sent down a slow yorker which deceived the batter and hit leg stump. However, the fact that the bowler had conceded 38 runs from just 2.1 overs suggests that Sehwag had won the overall battle.
Brett Lee in 2005
Australia’s Brett Lee was another bowler capable of producing deliveries in the late 90s mph. So, when he dropped his pace considerably, it could be difficult to adjust. On this occasion, his victim was none other than the great Brian Lara.
Lara had a good record against the Aussies and he looked in control in the first innings of this test match as he moved into the 30s. Lee was having no luck with his regular pace so he tried a much slower ball at 118 kph. Lara was foxed as the ball struck the pads and he was given out LBW.
Steve Harmison in 2005
This is one piece of footage that I can watch over and over again. It happened in the unforgettable Edgbaston test of the 2005 Ashes series and it looked to have won England the game at the time.
Late on Saturday evening, a perfect slow off cutter from Steve Harmison completely deceives Michael Clarke and crashes into his off stump.
Simon O’Donnell in 1990
From what I remember, Australia’s Simon O’Donnell was one of the first bowlers to use a lot of variation in One Day Cricket. There were so many displays of fine slow ball bowling but a great set of examples from O’Donnell can be seen in the ODI series between Australia and New Zealand in 1990.
The figures on this list need to be put into some context. Clearly, the likes of Steve Harmison, Jasprit Bumrah and Brett Lee wouldn’t have bowled at slow speeds on a regular basis. These are some of the fastest men in the history of the game.
What we are looking at here is the best slow ball tactics in game situations. When batters are set, they are not expecting such a dramatic drop in pace and that’s why a good proportion of those slower balls go on to take wickets.
I personally don’t think it’s a coincidence that the list here includes some of the fastest bowlers in the game. The bigger the drop in pace, the better the chances of taking wickets.