The introduction of shorter formats of the game has helped in reviving the dying art of Leg spin. With shorter boundaries and better bats, variations have become a necessity for any bowler. As a result, the number of variations a leg-spinner possesses makes it difficult for the batsman to pre-meditate a shot. Although Leg-spin is a great wicket-taking option in any format of the game. But it is also the toughest type of bowling to control. One of the variations that a leg-spinner uses the most is Googly. The googly is one of the most lethal variations that a leg-spinner has in his arsenal. If it is delivered correctly at the right area and at the right time, it’s handy enough to make even the best batsmen in the world look like a tail-ender! In today’s feature, we will know in detail what is a googly ball in cricket.
What is a googly ball?
A googly is a type of delivery that spins in the opposite direction to a normal leg spin. A right-arm leg-spinner’s normal leg-spin delivery will spin from right to left – away from a right-handed batsman. However, their googly would spin in towards the right-hander, from left to right. A left-arm leg-spinner (also known as left-arm unorthodox or left-arm chinaman) will spin their normal leg-spin delivery from left to right, in towards the body of a right-handed batsman. While their googly will spin away from right to left, away from the right-handed batsman.
How to ball a googly?
To know about how to bowl a googly ball in cricket, There are a few different factors that will come into focus. To bowl the perfect googly, we have to take care of some fundamentals of bowling. These are
(i)The grip, (ii) the run-up, and (iii) the release.
The grip used to bowl a googly ball in cricket is similar to the one we use for bowling a normal leg spin. First of all, place your index and middle fingers on top of the ball with the seam running across them. They should be a comfortable width apart and not too close together. However, it should also not be stretched so far apart that it gets uncomfortable for you. Your ring finger and little finger should be positioned slightly below and to the side of the ball for support. In addition to supporting the ball while it is in your hand, the thumb has no direct involvement with spinning the ball.
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The Grip Used For The Googly
To ball a googly ball, Another thing to pay attention to is that the ball should be relatively free in your hand. Therefore, it should not be pressed back against your palm. Leg-spin bowlers should always try to keep a small gap between the back of the ball and the palm of their hand. As a result, their fingers can freely rotate over the top of the ball to apply the spin as the ball gets released. Holding the ball too tightly might result in your hand becoming stuck. Hence, always remember to keep the grip relaxed and comfortable. You will get to know what is a googly when you bowl one perfectly.
There is no need to change the run-up for a googly. The run-up that you use for all of your other variations is suitable for googly as well. So, a regular short run-up of 10-12 steps with minimal side movement is perfect to bowl the googly. Also, the chances of bowling the wrong line increase with more side movement. Therefore, try to minimize your sideways movement when you are approaching the crease.
The release of the ball is the most important part of bowling a googly. You need to turn your arm and wrist around a bit more than you do while bowling your normal leg spin. Therefore, just focus on the direction that the palm of your hand is facing. For right-arm leg-spinners, the palm should be pointing towards the northeast direction on a compass. For left-arm chinaman, the palm should be pointing in the northwest direction on a compass. You should try to show the batsman the back of your hand as you release the ball.
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Where to bowl a googly
The main motive of using a googly ball in cricket is to trick the batsman. You cannot just run and bowl the googly and wish that it gets a wicket. You have to try to bowl it in specific areas from where it can create difficulties for the batsman. In addition to this, you should also need to plan when to deliver it so that the element of surprise remains. To do this, you should always aim to make the batsman play a drive down the ground or through covers. In short, bowl it just outside the off-stump line when bowling to a right-hander. However. If there is a left-hander on the strike, try to pitch it in between the middle and leg stump. In both cases, it will increase the chances of getting the batter out by both the LBW and the clean bowled.
When to bowl a googly
Bowling a series of leg break deliveries to the right-handed batsman and dragging them wide of their off stump is the common and effective plan before bowling a googly. The main motive is to bamboozle the batsman with the trickery. However, this requires a lot of patience and control. The more comprehensively you set up a batsman, the more likely will be the scope of mistake in their playing judgment.
In conclusion, Practice is the key to developing an accurate googly in this art of leg-spin bowling. It is an unconventional technique used by many greats throughout the history of cricket. For example Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, Abdul Qadir to name some. However, excessive use of googly may lead to a decrease in its effectiveness. Therefore, googly should only be used as a variation rather than a stock delivery!
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