What is a googly in cricket? Spin bowling term explained for beginners

What is a googly in cricket? Spin bowling term explained for beginners
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If you are looking to understand everything there is to about a googly in cricket, we have a lowdown on what it means and key differences with another form of delivery that behaves in a similar manner.

First things first, though.

What is a googly?

A googly is a type of a cricket delivery bowled by a leg-spinner that is primarily used to deceive the batsman. It is often used as one of the variations that leg-spinners develop over time in order to prevent the batsmen from lining the bowlers up.

Typically, a leg-spinner’s stock ball is the leg-spinner, which is defined as a delivery that pitches and goes away from a right-handed batsman (or comes into a left-handed batsman). The googly is expected to do something totally opposite to that in that it pitches and either holds its line or even comes back into the right-handed batsman.

The key to bowling a good other one is to ensure there is very little change in the action from the leg-spinner, making it difficult for the batsmen to pick it up off the hand of the bowler.

Photo by Icon sport

Who invented the googly?

Invented by England’s Bernard Bosanquet in around 1900, the delivery is also called a Bosie or a Bosey in recognition of the inventor. Bosanquet invented this delivery while playing the sport of table tennis (or ping pong).

What are the characteristics of a googly?

While this slight change in wrist action can be picked up by a high-quality batsman, it might not be the easiest for an average batsman or one who loses his/her focus while facing a leg-spinner.

What that could lead to is the latter lining up to play it like a ball, turning away from him/her as a right-handed batter and getting deceived by the ball suddenly coming back into him/her. A split-second later reaction from the batter could lead to him or her failing to defend against the ball as it either strikes the pad or sneaks through the batter’s defences.

Typically speaking, a leg-spinner does not bowl a googly frequently. A bowler might sometimes take ages to set a batsman up with big, turning leg-spin deliveries on a regular basis before unleashing the googly when the batter is least expecting it.

How is a googly different from an off-spin?

An off-spin delivery is also a ball that spins into the right-handed batsman – or away from a lefty – but it is different from a googly. The biggest difference is that a googly is bowled with a leg-spin action, and it’s not until very late in the bowler’s action that the grip is tweaked to get the ball to behave differently from a leggie.

A googly is bowled from the back of a bowler’s hand, with a strong use of the wrist, unlike an off-spinner, which is bowled from the front of the hand and with the use of fingers more than the wrist.

Since the googly is bowled from the back of the hand, it requires suppleness of one’s wrists and hence is a more difficult delivery to pick up and even tougher to master.

This is also one of the reasons why there has always been a dearth of good-quality leg spinners, and it’s even more difficult to find leggies who can bowl the other one.

Bowlers who bowled/bowl the googly

Some of the best bowlers of the delivery include Abdul Qadir, Mushtaq Ahmed, Shahid Afridi and Imran Tahir.

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