What Is a Googly in Cricket? Explaining the Basics of the Unusual Ball spins

Cricket, a game of skill and strategy, has always captivated audiences with its unpredictable twists and turns. One such twist comes in the form of an unusual delivery known as the “googly.” The googly, a deceptive bowling technique that can leave even the most seasoned batsman puzzled, has long been a secret weapon in the arsenal of many skilled leg spin bowlers. But what is a googly in cricket, and how did it become such a vital part of cricket’s rich tapestry?

Join us on a fascinating journey as we explore the origins, techniques, and famous practitioners of the googly, and reveal how this enigmatic delivery continues to shape the game of cricket today.

Short Summary

  • Googly is a deceptive delivery used by leg spin bowlers to surprise batsmen.
  • Mastering the googly requires practice of grip, wrist movement and field setup techniques.
  • Iconic bowlers such as Shane Warne have perfected this technique over time, making it an integral part of cricket lore.

The Art of the Googly: Origins and Evolution

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The googly was invented by English cricketer Bernard Bosanquet while playing a game called Twisti-Twosti, using a tennis ball. He discovered that by bouncing two or three balls in one direction, and then throwing a fourth ball in the opposite direction, he could outsmart his opponent. This technique later evolved into the googly, where the middle fingers play a crucial role in spinning the ball. In July 1900, Bosanquet first bowled the googly ball in a competitive match, introducing this unusual delivery to the cricket world.

Over time, the googly has been perfected by some of the best bowlers in cricket history, such as India’s Anil Kumble and Australia’s Shane Warne. These iconic bowlers have employed the clever to deceive and outwit their opponents, further cementing its place in the annals of cricket lore.

The googly remains an essential weapon in the repertoire of leg spin bowlers, helping to create a sense of uncertainty and surprise for the batsman, especially when delivered by a skilled leg spin bowler.

The Anatomy of a Googly: Understanding the Delivery

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Behind the mystery of the googly lies a precise combination of grip, wrist movement, and release techniques required to execute this deceptive delivery. In the following sections, we will delve into the intricacies of bowling a ball, providing a detailed breakdown of the essential components that contribute to its effectiveness on the cricket pitch.

Grip is the first and most important element of bowling a googly. The bowler.

Grip Technique for Leg Spinners

The grip is the foundation of a successful business. Grip the cricket ball for a leg-spinning delivery by ensuring that the seam is parallel to your palm. To achieve this, make sure your hand is correctly positioned. Spread your first two fingers wide, to grip the ball. Your third and fourth (ring) fingers should be closer together and resting on the side of the ball. Bend your third finger into the seam to get a good grip. Keep your thumb still on the side and don’t move it during delivery.

Proper finger placement, including the bent third finger and the middle finger, and pressure are crucial for accurately controlling the spin and trajectory of the ball, ultimately leading to a successful googly delivery.

Wrist Movement and Release

Wrist movement and release play a pivotal role in bowling a googly. To generate the necessary spin, twist your wrist 180 degrees towards the ground, with your ring finger turning the ball counter-clockwise. The back of your hand should face the batsman, with your wrist cocked and moving from right to left during release.

Mastering the intricacies of wrist movement and release is essential for executing a successful googly and keeping the batsman guessing.

Targeting the Pitch Area

When bowling a googly, it’s crucial to target the right pitch area to maximize its effectiveness. Aim for an off-stump line if you’re bowling to a right-handed batsman, as this will help deceive the batsman by making the ball spin in an unexpected direction.

The ideal length for bowling a googly to a left hander is similar, with the goal of getting the batter to drive at the ball. By targeting the optimal pitch area, you can increase the chances of successfully deceiving the batsman and taking wickets.

Field Setup for Googly Bowling

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A strategic field setup can greatly enhance the effectiveness of a googly delivery. When employing the googly, it’s often recommended to have someone behind square on the leg side, such as at silly midwicket, gulley, or the covers. Additionally, placing a slip in a catching position on the leg side can help strengthen the field and create wicket-taking opportunities.

Adapting the field setup to suit the googly can make it even more challenging for the batsman to predict and counter this deceptive delivery.

Googly Use Across Cricket Formats

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The googly has proven to be a versatile weapon in the world of cricket, with its use spanning various formats of the game. From Test Cricket to One-Day Internationals and T20 Cricket, the talent continues to be a major asset for spin bowlers, creating uncertainty and surprise for the batsman.

In the following sections, we will explore how the googly is employed in each of these formats and the impact it has on the game.

Test Cricket

In Test Cricket, the gum serves as a valuable tool for taking wickets. The googly is often used to take wickets since taking 20 wickets is a requirement for team’s success according to the format. This makes the googly an invaluable weapon in the armoury of the spinners. By creating confusion for the batsman and forcing them to adjust their playing style, the googly can prove to be a game-changer in Test Cricket, helping bowlers secure vital wickets for their team.

One-Day Internationals (ODI)

In One-Day Internationals (ODI), the word is used to induce uncertainty and surprise the batsman. By creating a wicket-taking opportunity and keeping the batsman guessing, the googly can significantly impact the outcome of an ODI match.

A well-executed strategy can lead to crucial wickets, ultimately helping the bowling team gain an advantage in this fast-paced format of the game. To bowl a googly effectively, it requires a combination of skill, precision, and practice.

T20 Cricket

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In the high-octane world of T20 cricket, the googly serves as a vital tool for leg spin bowlers. With its ability to create uncertainty and surprise the batsman, the googly can be a real game-changer in T20 matches. As teams strive to score quickly and efficiently, a skillfully bowled player can help secure crucial wickets, potentially altering the course of the match in favor of the bowling team.

The googly is a difficult delivery to master, requiring a great deal of practice and skill.

Mastering the Googly: Tips and Techniques

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To master the art of the googly, it’s essential to practice and refine each aspect of the delivery. Start by perfecting your grip technique and finger placement, ensuring that you can consistently generate the desired spin on the ball. Regular practice of both the standard leg break and googly deliveries will help you maintain a balance between the two, allowing you to effectively deceive the batsman with your unpredictable bowling.

In addition to honing your grip and wrist movement, it’s crucial to practice the skill in various conditions and match scenarios. Experiment with different lengths and speeds, and adjust your field setup to optimize the effectiveness of your googly delivery. By consistently practicing and refining your technique, you can overcome common mistakes and develop a lethal behaviour that leaves batsmen perplexed and off-balance.

Googly vs. Doosra: A Comparison

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Although both the googly and the doosra are spin bowling techniques that deceive the batsman, they are employed by different types of bowlers. A googly is an off-spinning delivery bowled by a leg-break bowler. On the other hand, a doosra is a leg-spin ball delivered by an off-spinner. The key difference lies in the direction of spin: a googly spins from left to right, while a doosra spins from right to left.

The doosra, however, is considered more controversial than the googly due to the difficulty in bowling it legally without resorting to chucking the ball. The Australian cricket authorities even concluded that they wouldn’t be teaching young spinners how to bowl the doosra, as they felt it couldn’t be done in a legal manner.

Both the googly and the doosra can be effective when used strategically and bowled with proper technique, but it’s important to understand their differences and the unique challenges each delivery presents.

Iconic Googly Bowlers in Cricket History

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Throughout the history of cricket, there have been numerous bowlers who have left an indelible mark on the game with their mastery of the game. Some of the most legendary googly bowlers include Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan, and Bernard Bosanquet, the inventor of the googly himself. These iconic bowlers have showcased their exceptional skills on the world stage, using the googly to deceive and dominate their opponents.

Each of these legendary bowlers has developed their unique techniques and variations of the game, contributing to the rich tapestry of cricket history. Their prowess with the googly serves as an inspiration to aspiring leg spin bowlers, demonstrating the immense potential of this deceptive delivery in the hands of a skilled practitioner.

Overcoming Googly Syndrome

Googly Syndrome refers to a situation where a leg spinner has perfected their googly to the point that they find it difficult to bowl a normal leg break. While it’s important to master the googly, leg spinners must also maintain a balance between their standard leg break and googly deliveries to avoid falling victim to Googly Syndrome.

To overcome Googly Syndrome, leg spinners should regularly practice both their standard leg break and googly deliveries, honing their technique for each. Focusing on the variations of each delivery, such as the top spinner, flipper, and slider, can also help maintain a healthy balance between the two.

With consistent practice and attention to technique, leg spinners can overcome Googly Syndrome and develop a well-rounded arsenal of deceptive deliveries, including mastering the art of fielding at fine leg.


The googly, a unique and deceptive delivery in the world of cricket, has long been a secret weapon for many skilled leg spin bowlers. From its invention by Bernard Bosanquet to its mastery by iconic bowlers like Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan, the googly has continued to captivate audiences and perplex batsmen. Through diligent practice and attention to technique, aspiring leg spin bowlers can master the art of the googly and elevate their game to new heights.

As we conclude our exploration of the googly, remember that the power of this enigmatic delivery lies in its ability to deceive and surprise. Embrace the challenge of mastering the googly, and use it as a tool to outwit your opponents and leave them, quite literally, spinning on the cricket field.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called googly?

The term ‘googly’ was derived from the babyish sound of ‘goo’ combined with ‘guile’, used to describe a teasing delivery in Australia.

Tom Horan, writing as ‘Felix’, popularised the use of the word in The Australiansian.

What is the difference between wrongun and googly?

A ‘Wrong Un’ and a ‘Googly’ are two different types of bowling deliveries, with the main difference being that a ‘Wrong Un’ is bowled by leg spinners and spins from left to right for the batsman, while a googly does the opposite.

The ‘Wrong Un’ is a delivery that is bowled by leg spinners and spins from left to right for the batsman. The ‘Googly’ is a delivery that does the opposite, spinning from right to left for the batsman.

What is the difference between yorker and googly?

A googly is a leg-break that spins the opposite direction while a yorker is a delivery that lands at the base of the bat, like a baseball pitch.

Long hops, on the other hand, are short deliveries that bounce higher than normal.

What is the difference between googly and doosra?

The main difference between a googly and a doosra is the type of bowler they are delivered by: a googly is bowled by a leg spinner with the ball turning from left to right, while a doosra is bowled by an off-spinner with the ball spinning from right to left.

What is the purpose of the googly in cricket?

The googly is a cunning bowling technique used to surprise the batsman and take wickets.