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The Elusive Googly

Mastering one of the sporting world’s trickiest techniques

Author Chris Wright Illustration Luci Gutiérrez

ANTIGUA – There are few things in life more befuddling than cricket, with its leggies, its donkey drops, its golden ducks. Now, as old rivals England and the West Indies prepare to meet on Antigua—which will host the first of three epic test matches on April 13—we unravel the mysteries of the googly, a sporting technique that’s second only to string theory in its ability to confound.

googly11. Grip
Hold the ball in the palm of the hand, nestled between the third finger and the thumb, the index and middle fingers bent over the top of the ball, the third and pinkie fingers crooked downward to the side.

googly22. Delivery
After a short run-up, windmill the bowling arm over the shoulder and deliver the ball, snapping the wrist counterclockwise upon release, thereby generating spin.

googly33. Result
The batter should be tricked into believing the ball is about to spin away, when in fact it turns inward, hitting the wicket or leading to a leg-before-wicket out. Raise both arms in the air and holler “Howzat!”

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