Learn the Knuckleball in Cricket How Does the Slow Ball Work?


In my opinion, the best bowler of a knuckleball in world cricket is Australia’s A.J. Tye. It was a skill that helped him to get into Australia’s national team while earning an IPL contract and deals from T20 franchises around the world. It does help if you have bigger hands here as this is a difficult ball to grip and control. The cricket ball is, therefore, gripped by the two remaining fingers. If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success,check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.

The most common grip involves ‘digging’ the index/middle/ring finger nails just below the seam of the baseball, leaving your pinkie finger loose, and thumb under the ball. Some pitchers opt not to use their ring finger, leaving it loose with the pinkie. To grip the knuckleball, position the ball in the same way as you would in the two-seam fastball or the splitter. Now, instead of laying your fingers along the seam of the ball, dig your fingertips into the leather. The record for passed balls in an inning was first set by Ray Katt of the New York Giants in 1954, catching Hoyt Wilhelm. On occasion, teams have traded knuckleball pitchers and their catchers in the same transaction.

Young pitchers should only throw the fastball as other pitches can hurt their arm. Kids should work with their parents and coaches before they try throwing any other pitch than the fastball. The great pitchers in the major leagues know how to throw a number of different kinds of pitches. By using different pitches the pitcher can keep the batter off balance, never knowing where the ball is going next. The delivery and release is just like a two-seam fastball pitch. The ball will start dropping during the last 15 feet in flight.

The “knuckleball catcher” is equipped with an oversized knuckleball catcher’s mitt, similar to a first baseman’s glove; Doug Mirabelli, formerly of the Red Sox, used a softball catcher’s mitt. The Boston Red Sox, in their 2004 world championship season, had Mirabelli regularly catching in place of Jason Varitek when Tim Wakefield was pitching. This use of a “specialist” catcher continued into the 2008 season following the signing of Kevin Cash, and 2009 saw George Kottaras fulfill this role. On August 26, the first time Victor Martinez caught Wakefield, he used a first baseman’s glove, instead of a regular catcher’s mitt. For a catcher, a key disadvantage to using a first baseman’s glove mitt is that they are not designed for easy extraction of the ball from the glove, making it harder to prevent baserunners from stealing. Pitchers throw knuckleballs when it becomes a compelling pitch for them to get batters out.

The ball’s path is so random that a normal-sized mitt will allow too many passed balls and advancing baserunners . It’s really an amazing thing to experience, and you have to see it with your own eyes to believe how this pitch moves. When you release the ball, keep your wrist stiff and extend your fingers as you release the ball. Imagine you’re trying to push the ball to the catcher. Because of the shortened arm action and the rotation on the ball, curveballs are much slower than fastballs.

The knuckleball is bowled by holding the ball between the knuckles of your hand. It is held between the knuckles of the index finger and the middle finger with the thumb playing the role of a supporter. Some bowlers even use their fingernails to get a good grip.

Since the pitch is slow and the strain on the arm is not bad, some pitchers have made a career out of the tricky throw. While the pitch has many advantages, there are also disadvantages of the pitch. The one current player throwing a knuckleball as their primary pitch in 2021 is Minor Leaguer, Steven Wright. Steven Writer is a pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league roster. However, Danny Mendick of the Chicago White Sox, an infielder, did throw a few knucklers this year via their 1st career pitching appearance during a blowout game.

Because of the slow velocity of the pitch, it will drop, but the side-to-side movement of the ball confuses hitters, catchers, and even umpires. The knuckleball pitch is difficult to master because if you get it wrong, the ball will just be a slow, straight pitch that major league hitters will hit out of the ballpark every time. Pitchers should only throw knuckleballs when they have truly mastered the pitch. There is no recommended time to throw a knuckleball during an at-bat, but hitters known to swing early often fall victim to the knuckleball on a regular basis. A common misconception of the knuckleball pitch is that it’s thrown with knuckles on the ball.

After experimenting with the knuckleball grip, he reduced that WHIP to around 1.2 from 2010 – 2017. The addition of the knuckleball to this arsenal was able to rejuvenate and prolonged what is an inside out swing in baseball his career in the big leagues. The practise seems to have originated in India and it’s no surprise that many of the country’s seam bowlers are adept at this type of delivery.