Thursday, 6 August 2009

How to bowl the Wrong-Un (Googly)

This is the first part of a series of individual blogs dedicated to techniques used by wrist spin bowlers (Also known as Leg Spinners).

Others in this series.......................

Updated 30th Jan 2010 - youtube videos linked re 'Big Flick'.

The Wrong Un
The Wrong Un;Also known as the Googly and the Bosie. This delivery is in the same basic catergory as the Leg Break, Top-Spinner and Slider in that the grip is the 2 fingers up and 2 fingers down across the seam configuration. (See Leg break). But as with any of these grips each individual adapts the grip slightly to suit them, but as a starting off point you're best advised to use the basic 2 up 2 down across the seam version.Most wrist spinners would aim to learn this as their 3rd variation as the next most obvious and easily learned variation after the leg break is the Top-spinner usually the 2nd variation that you learn. The Wrong Un when combined with the Leg Break is a devastatingly good ball with very similar characteristics - Dip, Drift and bounce all coming into play once you've mastered it. The magic of the wrong un is that it spins the other way - the wrong way so used in tandem and rarely with the Leg Break this variation causes real problems and takes wickets.The Wrong Un is delivered down the pitch and then spins off towards Leg Slip (The legside). Bowled in conjunction with the Leg Break it's usually bowled infrequently so that the batsman faces a series of Leg breaks and starts to settle getting a feel for what you do as a leg spinner, just as he gets into his comfort zone thinking that he may be able to handle your consistent Leg Break balls all spinning away towards off you would then be in a position to bowl your Wrong Un which would then turn the other way with a very high likelyhood of hitting the stumps or coming off the gloves for a catch.

How to............

Before you go anywhere near considering bowling the wrong un, you really need to have a good solid Leg Break as your main delivery (Referred to as your Stock Ball). Before learning the Wrong Un you need to be taking wickets with your Leg Break on a regular basis and be able to bowl on a good line and length with virtually no wides. Bowling Wrist Spin is reputedly one of the most difficult specialities in the game and if you've not got your leg break fully sussed and your not taking wickets with it on a regular basis it's a false economy to think that by adding the Wrong Un to your reportoire will improve your game.

The reason behind this is because bowling the Wrong Un has been noted by some of the great Wrist Spinners Bill O'reilly and Clarrie Grimmett as being a far more natural action than bowling the Leg Break. For most people bowling the Leg Break is a traumatic and difficult learning process that in some cases takes years and years. The action of releasing the ball out of the front of the hand and giving it a flick at the same time and then expecting it to land on a specific line and length is little short of impossible. If you get the line and length you'll find you lack the turn of the wicket, if you find you get the turn off the wicket you'll probably be faced with bad accuracy regarding your line and length. There is only one answer to these problems and that is practice, but practice on a scale beyond anything you've ever done before and practice on a scale that your mates that bowl fast and medium pace couldn't even comprehend. Wrist Spin bowling is indeed a special art and once mastered the amount of satisfaction that can be gleaned from it is amazing and it's a very rewarding experience.

So having got that good with your Stock Leg Break you then progress to The Wrong Un. It is basically the same grip that you use for your Leg Break and like the Leg Break there are sub-variations that increase the amount of turn, bounce and drift by increasing decreasing the amount of flick you give the ball or the position you hold the ball e.g. high in the fingers or lower more settled in the palm. Like the Leg Break it's essential that the 3rd finger is placed nicely on the seam as it's this finger that's going to leave the ball like the end of whip and impart the spin.

The Wrong Un facilitates the use of Clarrie Grimmetts technique described in his book 'Getting Wickets' from 1930 later described by Peter Philpott in his book 'The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling' as 'Going round the Loop'. Grimmett describes the Leg Break with the palm of the hand facing forwards on release and then all of the other deliveries created by simply turning the wrist to face different directions. The Wrong Un requires that the hand is rotated/twisted anti-clockwise so that as the arm comes over at it's vertical position so that the back of the hand is facing the batsman. Additionally in order to allow the ball to come off the 3rd finger with the flick of the wrist the shoulder is dropped lower enabling a more acute release.

The arm and wrist position as it comes over in the vertical position would look as above in most cases. There's also a tendency that the arm requires a more vertcial action as it comes over in order to get better turn off the wicket. So if your Leg Break has a lower action you might find that you'll have trouble getting good turn off the wicket simply because of your lower action.

The probem therefore is this - what do you do - do you modify your stock ball action so that it's more vertical in order to learn the Wrong Un more easily or do you simply accept that your Wrong Un isn't going to turn off the wicket in the same way as your Leg Break? All coaches of Wrist Spin and anyone that knows anything about Wrist Spin will tell you about "The Googly Syndrome" where if you focus on the Wrong Un you will ruin or even lose your Leg Break.

Warning - The Googly Syndrome. It's advised by most experts in coaching and teaching of wrist spin bowling that if you undertake to learn how to bowl the Wrong Un you've got to be aware that if you pursue this variation with too much commitment a consequence of doing so will be that you'll lose the ability to bowl your Leg Break. The advice is to try and bowl a Wrong Un for every 8 or so Leg Breaks. Never bowl Wrong Uns in isolation continuously. If in doubt refer to Peter Philpotts 'The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling'.Clarrie Grimmett the greatest wrist spinner of all time writes in his book 'Getting Wickets' Although I put in hours of practice at this ball, I always, before I finished, had ten minutes at bowling my ordinary Leg Break, so that I should not lose control of it. In this way I mainatined the standard of my bowling, and I also learned to bowl a ball that was destined to get many wickets. Page 24; Clarrie Grimmett; Taking Wickets; Hodder & Stoughton; London 1930Recently on the big cricket forum we were asked directly how to go about recovering from the Googly Syndrome and my advice was as follows based on my own experience.One thing I think we need to ask is how old he is as there's that thing that relates to younger blokes having big growth spurts in between seasons and losing their leg break partly because of the growth spurt factor.If it's got no connection with that then we must assume that he's bowling the wrong un (Googly) too much?

In which case there's a few key things as recommended by Peter Philpott in his book 'The Art of Wrist Spin' and a few things that I picked up in my recovery action plan.

1. Stop bowling Googlies (Completely).
2. Get ready for this possibly taking a long time (Took me 8-9 months).
3. Go right back to basics and start to throw the ball from hand to hand across your body really trying to give it a big flick
4. Also with the arm extended out in front of you spin the ball back in towards your chest giving it a big flick.
5. Do this all the time - use balls of all types and sizes, fruit, cubes anything just spin it and get the flick off your 3rd finger going again.
6. Now I reckon this next stage is the key to recovery. Don't intentionally bowl any more Googlies, just for the moment be content to bowl the ball straight. When you practice do so with meaning, don't allow yourself to be distracted and focus 100% on bowling the ball straight with the palm of your hand and the under-side of your wrist facing the batsman on release. I found this incredibly difficult when I started out because all my muscle memory wanted to do was upturn the wrist anti-clockwise and dip the shoulder in order to bowl the googly. You have to be fully focused on not letting this happen.
7. Bowl straight balls for as long as it takes to get them straight, it may feel like you're almost bowling with your wrist turned so that you're almost bowling with a Karate chop action - if this works in order to get the ball straight bowl like it.
8. Bowling the straight ball (I did all this without cocking my wrist at the start) try and get the ball to leave the hand off the 3rd and 4th finger and hopefully this will start to produce a small leg break.
9. Bowl like that for a few weeks maybe even months until you feel *relatively comfortable. In the meantime you've been flicking the ball all the time from hand to hand.
10. Introduce the cocked wrist and unfurl the cocked wrist at the last second releasing the ball with the hand in the 'Traffic cop pose' palm and under-wrist facing the bat. You should then start to get the Leg break back.
11. Then start to work on the big flick.

It might take some months and you'll have to be patient. You're advised to buy Philpotts book and read the 8 Stages section. There are loads of ideas relating to flicking the ball up against a wall and observing the way it spins off the wall. Philpott says to spin the ball under-arm as much as over-arm in order to see how the ball spins.Good luck! But if you work on it in the correct manner you'll have a valuable weapon. I currently bowl the Wrong Un using two distinctly different approaches and slightly different grips. The more accurate version of my basic Wrong Un uses the the basic Leg Break grip but the ball sits very low in the hand and very loose and relaxed. The 3rd finger rests along the seam and probably makes the most noticeable contact with the ball whilst all of the rest of the grip is very loose. The release then is out of the back of the hand using the rotation of the wrist and the dipping of the shoulder.The Big WrongMy version of the Big Wrong is produced by using the same procedure for the Top-Spinner but with the addition of really flicking theball hard so that it rips out of the hand, the focus and attention on getting the ball to rip out of the hand causes me to almost stall in my rotation as the flick happens, but it works. Have a look -
Posted by MPA first eleven at 16:43 0 comments

In conclusion having gone through having the "Googly Syndrome' and having to re-learn the Leg Break my advice would be to be very careful and learn this delivery gradually and be content with it turning just a bit. Think in terms of any 'Leg Spinners' that you know that can turn the ball both ways with accuracy and big turn off the wicket - they are very few and far between. If you bowl like a Leg Spinner you'll be turning the ball away from the edge of the bat with varying degrees of bounce and turn. You only need to be able to turn the ball a little the other way in order to be effective. If after a series of balls that go away from the bat one comes in a little bit if it doesn't hit the stumps what it will do is show the batsman you've got another aspect to your bowling and just a little turn is enough.

Here's a good link with the dynamics of the spinning ball discussed -


Update 14/11/09
It seems in order to help maintain the blog in the top 10 search options in Google one of the things that I need to do is update the content which is obvious as this means people will come back to check the content and keep the numbers ticking over.

As it's the closed season here in the UK there's not a great deal going on, but I still continue to practice and make plans for the coming season. With regards ths blog and my development of the Wrong Un that's on-going and I have every intention of updating the blog content with pictures and links to videos and any observations and learning that takes place so keep checking in. One of the key things that I do want to get organised is the inclusion of Slow Motion video analysis of the release of the ball and how the grip and fingers impart the spin on the ball. Currently on the market there's a camera called the Casio Exilim EX FC100 which has a very good Slow Motion function and I'm hoping to get hold of one of these by the summer in order that I can shoot the footage and link to this blog. In the short term one of the key supporters of this blog and co forum user Jim2109 has already been using a similar camera and has been uploading his footage to youtube. If you search 'Channels' using Jim2109 you should get the video's other than that just use the link here...... Have a look as there's some interesting stuff there.
Anyone who is looking to make comments re this blog, the videos on Youtube or just wants to discuss Wrist Spinning we'd appreciate any input especially if you've got some experience and can add to what's here and on the internet. Alternatively if you feel you've got less experience and just want to ask questions do the same thing - join in the discussions and questions at which as far as we know is the biggest wrist spin forum on the internet.

So here in the UK it's early winter, loads of rain, frost at night, wet, grey, cold and miserable - not cricket weather by any stretch of the imagination. But despite that practice continues. I currently use a few venues which are tarmac basketball courts or tennis courts and I use Hockey balls because they're the same weight and size of a cricket ball. The bounce they have is similar to a cricket ball so for me they're ideal for practice on concrete or tarmac. I try and get at least an hour an half in or more for each session and at the very least once a week. During the week I keep up shouder and arm muscle exercises and try and get some core strength exercises in as well. Currently I'd say I'm lacking leg exercise but I'll try and get that going after Christmas.At the end of the season I did a review of my goals that I'd set the previous year and was pleased to see that I'd easily attained what I'd set out to do ending up with figures of -

Average 12.71;RPO 4.86;Strike Rate 15.69;Best Bowling 4-27

The plan for this coming season, is that having explored so many of the variations I've now decided to simplify my bowling and limit myself to bowling four variations and bowling them really well. So after some thought I've settled on - Leg Break, Wrong Un, Grimmetts 4 fingered back-spinning Flipper and Grimmetts Top-Spinning Flipper giving me a range of variations that should serve me well if I can get them all well under control and accurate. At different times over the last year all of these variations have come together at some point establishing their merit as potential wicket taking variations. The plan is over the coming months leading into the new season I'll focus on all of these attempting to attain the same accuracy with all of them as I have currently with the Leg Break. Initial practice sessions last week and the week before indicate that I need to work on all of them with the exception of my Leg Break to force improvements, so that's the plan of action.

With regards the Wrong Un specifically I've lost some of the turn I used to get along with my accuracy, but I'm fearful that if I've focus on it and spend a lot of time on it I may lose my Leg Break. So I've got to devise a plan to get some of my old accuracy and turn back. What I'm doing at the minute is bowling with six balls and bowling in a sequence of Leg Break, Wrong Un, Leg Break, Flipper, Leg Break and Top-Spinning Flipper. The idea is that over a period of time they'll all come together and I'll be able to bowl all of them fairly well.

Left Handed Batsmen (Jan15th 2010)

My figures last summer would have been far better if it hadn't been for 2 games in particular where I had to bowl against Left-Handers. Two LH's took me to the cleaners and I had nothing to go back at them with and as it says above I've lost some accuracy and turn with my Wrong Un what with focussing on the Leg Breaks as you should do.

Currently we're having net sessions every Monday night for two hours and a handful of our batsmen are Lefties and our best batsman is a Leftie too. Last Monday I worked in the net with him and he took me apart although on reflection I didn't have a plan for him at all and this was the first net or any cricket in months and I was more concerned with bowling my leg break on what would be his Leg Stump and he was loving it. Coming away from the session and doing a little more thinking and posting questions and re-reading some of Philpotts 'Art of Wrist Spin Bowing' I've now got a plan of action over the coming 3 months or so. I've decided this year I'll only be bowling 4 different deliveries this season and working with them in my practice sessions.....

Leg Break
Conventional Flipper - Back-spinner
Top-Spinning Flipper (Grimmett Mystery Ball)
Wrong Un

All the research that I've done in the last week suggests that the approach to take to the left-hander is to pitch the ball up outside of his Off-Stump. Watching the Warne videos he uses his leg Break so the ball then turns into the body of the batsman and the there's the obvious option of bowling a slider or a Flipper potentially. But the option that seems to me to be the better option would be to bowl on his Off-Stump with the Wrong Un turning the ball away from the edge of the bat. But.... (I'm still a learner myself with this stuff) I also need to observe what kind of strokes he's playing and the objective with the Wrong Un would be to entice him into driving.

So in the short term bowling to our best club lefty who's the best on the team, I'll just start with Leg Breaks and Wrong un's on his Off-stump and just see how he plays them. I'll vary the speed and flight and just see how it goes. My short term goal would be just to improve on last week and maybe aim to get the ball past him once or twice and maybe see him coming down the wicket at me. Not too much I reckon and I'll be expecting to be hit all over the shop as well, but with 12 sessions to sort something out it's a starting point.

18th Jan - Leftie Watch

Nets tonight and it went well. I had all the variations in use - Leg Break, Top-Spinning Flipper, Back-Spinning Flipper and the Wrong un and all of them came out pretty good. A few full tosses here and there and a few that were a bit wide of off-stump, but I think I only bowled a couple of balls down the Legside to either right-handers or Lefties.My main focus was the Lefties and I eventually got to bowl at a few in the first team nets including my nemisis Matt Hills who I can't get anywhere near bowling out, but again I have to remind you he is the best batsman in our club. The good news is I reckon there was an improvement in my bowling. All the balls with the exception of 1 were down the off-side. Again with the variations in pace - once or twice with Flippers I managed to get the ball past him. The ball that caused the biggest problems was the Wrong Un (As it did with all of the others as well), so that looks like it's definitely got potential but needs to be used with more accuracy and possibly with a little more speed than the normal leg breaks. The other thing I noticed was that pitching the ball right up slighty faster right in on the Off-stump, was causing him problems and he was unable to play his preferred shots at all and was seemingly only able to punch the ball back down the wicket? I asked whether there was an improvement over last week and he conceded that there was and said that the bowling was far more negative than last week pointing out that the bowling into his feet/off-stump line was the negative approach. Well he might think that it was negative but struth at least I wasn't hit for a combination of 25 fours and sixes like last week!!!To me it seems that if I was confronted by a Leftie at one end and a right hander at the other end, at least now I have a potential tactic in that I can possibly restrict the flow of runs when bowling to the leftie as a containment tactic and then attack the Right Hander. Interestingly I heard his Dad say at the start (He's one of our coaches) that in 40 overs cricket it's important that runs are made off of every ball. If that's the case then to me it seems that if I was to adopt this approach with a leftie and tie them down restricting their runs - there's a chance that my bowling may then force him to try and play in a more risky manner?In the longer term though it now strikes me that I need to get more accurate with the Wrong Un so that I can bowl that in there on the same line and possibly find the edge? The Flipper too may also be useful on that line of attack?The other Lefties that were in that net (1st teamers) they were easier to deal with and they were both undone with the Wrong Un despite it's inaccuracy, so it's looking promising.

  • Points for development
  1. Pitch the ball up right under their noses on the off-stump line with a faster leg break.
  2. Work on that line and see how that develops and see what the longer term effect is - does it restrict all of the Left Handed players?
  3. Work on the back-spinning Flipper as this will have the potential to swing away from the Leftie.
  4. Work on the Wrong Un's accuracy and speed and get it in on that same line and see what it does.