The googly (also referred to as ‘the wrong run) is one of the most deadly variations that a leg-break bowler can possess. It is a delivery that spins in the opposite direction to a normal leg break. A right-arm leg-break bowler's normal leg break delivery will spin from right to left – away from a right-handed batsman. Therefore their googly would spin in towards the right-hander, from left to right! A left-arm leg break bowler (also known as left-arm unorthodox or left-arm chinaman) will spin their normal leg break from left to right, towards the body of a right-handed batsman. Their googly will spin away from right to left, away from the right-hander!
How to bowl a googly
Adopting googly bowling is very difficult and requires a lot of practice. The line and length of the delivery are equally important, if not more, compared to the skills needed to pull off a googly. As the ball has to be spun in the opposite direction, the mind has to be made up by assessing the condition of the pitch, the consciousness of the batsman and the stage of the game. Let’s take a closer look at the bowling technique to bowl a googly.
To bowl a googly you have to hold the ball in your hand similar to a normal leg-break with its seam parallel to the palm. In this 2-fingers-up-2-down holding technique, put the top joints of the index and middle fingers on the seam. Keep a little gap between the fingers to hold the ball comfortably. The ring finger should be bent and slightly wide from the middle finger to rest the ball and the thumb on the other hand close to the index finger. There should not be any pressure put on the ball by the thumb. The little finger should also be bent to support the ring finger. Keep some gap between your palm and the ball. The positioning of your fingers around the ball is paramount when it comes to bowling the googly.
The run-up doesn’t make much difference while bowling the googly. So, a regular short run-up of 10-12 steps with minimal side movement is perfect to bowl the googly. The more the side movement, the more the chances of bowling the wrong line.
The wrist movement is the most important aspect while bowling any variation. To bowl the googly there should be some coordination between the wrist and the fingers which give a spin to the ball. Flexibility in turning the wrist will fetch the maximum results for a bowler. Fingers exert the spin on the ball but a flexible wrist enhances the rotations on the ball which helps in ball dipping greatly before the batsman is given some flight in the air. The dip adds a bit to the deception of the googly.
The wrist should be turned 180 degrees towards the ground so that the batsman can see the back of your hand. This makes it more difficult to predict. The seam should be pointed towards the leg slip or fine leg. Once the position is taken, move the wrist from right to left while delivering the ball. The middle finger helps the ball spin towards the batsman. The ring finger and little finger help rotate the ball towards the pointed direction. To get more flight, try to toss the ball a bit up in the air, above the batsman’s eye level. This has two advantages. Firstly, the batsman needs to move his head to look at the ball. Secondly, the rotation and flight will make the ball land a little farther from the batsman than he has anticipated. The difference between bowling a regular leg-break and a googly is the direction of the palm and the seam.
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