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1900: The googly

Rob Smyth

Bernard Bosanquet, 1910
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When he developed the googly in 1900-it was originally intended as a party piece to amuse his team-mates-Bernard Bosanquet brought mischief and deception to a hitherto straightforward game. It was two years in the making, and his first successful googly bounced four times before hitting the stumps. "It is not unfair," he said, "only immoral." With his first delivery in Australia, Bosanquet clean bowled Victor Trumper with the wrong'un. Any attempt to put egg on face-flipper, doosra, slower ball, effort ball, reverse sweep-owes its existence to the Bosie.

In time the delivery became synonymous with subcontinental wizardry: Abdul Qadir, who revived the art dying after Bhagwath Cahndrasekhar, was perhaps the best googly bowler of all. Ironic then that it was developed by an Englishman, and that the most famous googly of all came out of the back of an English hand. Yet they kept on struggling without clue against the googlies bowled by Qadir, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, and even the modestly successful Danish Kaneria. The wrong'un is cricket at its most artistic, yet for art a price must be paid: if Eric Hollies had never learnt to bowl a googly, Don Bradman would surely have finished with a Test average of 100.