The flipper is a particular bowling delivery used in cricket, generally by a leg spin bowler. In essence it is a back spin ball. Squeezed out of the front of the hand with the thumb and first and second fingers, it keeps deceptively low after pitching and can accordingly be very difficult to play. The flipper is comparable to a riseball in fast-pitch softball.
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With backspin on the ball the Magnus effect results in air travelling over the top of the ball quickly and cleanly while air travelling under the ball is turbulent. The lift so produced causes the ball to drop slower and it travels further than a normal delivery. The slower descent also results in the ball bouncing lower.
The flipper is bowled on the opposite side from a slider, much in the same way that the top-spinner is bowled. On release, the bowler 'pinches' or clicks the thumb and forefinger, causing the ball to come out underneath the hand. There must be sufficient tension in the wrist and fingers to impart sufficient backspin. In doing so the flipper will float towards the batsman and land on a fuller length than he anticipated, often leaving him caught on the back foot when he wrongly assumes it to be a pullable or a cuttable ball. The back spin or will cause the ball to proceed with very little bounce, though this may be harder to achieve on softer wickets. A series of normal leg spinners or topspinners, with their dropping looping flight, will have the batsman used to the ball pitching on a shorter length. The batsman may wrongly assume that the flipper will drop and loop like a normal overspinning delivery, resulting in the ball pitching under the bat and going on either to hit the stumps or result in leg before wicket.
Much of the effectiveness of the flipper is attributable to the "pop", that is, the extra pace and change in trajectory that is imparted to the ball when it is squeezed out of the bowler's hand.
Occasionally, the term 'flipper' has been used to describe other types of deliveries. The Australian leg spinner Bob Holland employed a back spinning ball that he simply pushed backwards with the heel of his palm. Sometimes this form of front-hand flipper is called a "zooter". It is easier to bowl but not as effective as the amount of backspin is much less.