Indian Premier League 2017
The comical result of a Tymal Mills slower ball
Englishman explains secret of his potent slower ball after Amit Mishra was deceived in the IPL
10 April 2017, 02:27 PM AEST
It's regarded as one of the best slower balls in the modern game and Tymal Mills demonstrated the deceptive power of his change-up to amusing effect in the Indian Premier League this week.
With the Delhi Daredevils eyeing a victory target of just 158, the Royal Challengers Bangalore needed something special, and Mills was able to deliver.
Early in his innings, Daredevils batsman Amit Mishra fended off a fast short-pitched delivery from Mills, who is capable of hitting the high 140kph range.
But the next ball Mishra faced was the bowler's slower variation. Some 40kph slower, in fact.
It seemingly took so long to arrive that the bewildered batsman had time to duck, turn his head, look back and attempt to catch the ball as it came close to striking him on the helmet.
It was a highly unusual moment, but any calls for a rare handled the ball dismissal would have been quickly extinguished; clause 2(a) of Law 33 says a batsman will not be out handled the ball if "the strike with a hand not holding the bat is in order to avoid injury".
Mills, who finished with 1-33 as RCB triumphed by 15 runs, explained after the match the key to his variation was keeping his arm speed through the delivery almost identical.
"Lots of guys can bowl a slower ball out of the back of the hand, but luckily for me I can keep my arm speed pretty much exactly the same," Mills told IPLT20.com.
"I've got quite mobile and flexible joints in my shoulder and it's not an uncomfortable kind of action for me to get my arm facing the other way but still being able to turn it over just as fast.
"I've just got to be smart with how I use it and use my 'pace-on' balls as well and mix it up with some off-cutters and some yorkers also.
"It's served me well so far and hopefully it will continue to do so."
The slower ball has been a vital weapon in any seam or pace bowler's armoury since Steve Waugh famously first took the pace off in one-day internationals early in his career.
And with its ever increasing rise in popularity, more than just changing the speed is required.
"I bowl it the same, but obviously you've got to vary your lengths and the lines," Mills explained.
"Throwing it wider is often a good tactic: the guys have to react first to being slow, then to being wide so it's tough for them to get their arms through (the shot).
"I think I'm finding bowling out here (in India) on slow pitches you've just got to be a bit fuller because when it's short sometimes the batsman has time to react to it.
"I got hit for six by Yuvraj (Singh in the opening match against Sunrisers Hyderabad) because he was good enough to have time to hit it for six because it was too short."