The Ball and Bowling
A cricket ball is about the same size and weight as a baseball with a cork core and leather cover. The stitching is very different from a baseball being very pronounced and concentrated around the center of the ball making it easier to grip in ways that produce lots of spin. Bowlers rely on both pace and spin to confound the batsman, so while a ball may appear to be delivered slowly, you can count on the fact that it will have considerable action. As you might expect - we are talking cricket after all - there are names for different grips like the "out swing grip" and the "in swing grip" as demonstrated by Sir Richard Hadlee, called "The Master of Rhythm and Swing" by Sir Don Bradman, the best batsman the world has ever seen.
With the "out swing grip" the seams are pointed toward the first slip (left of the batsman) and the shiny side of the ball in on the right. The shiny side is made shiny by it being polished continually by the fielders and the bowlers and as you would expect has less drag or wind resistance than the unpolished half of the ball, enhancing the spin (or English, as we Americans call it). The "in swing grip" has the shiny side on the left and the seams pointing toward the fine leg (right of the batsman). There, of course, are many variations of grips and deliveries including one called the "googly" which is a deceptive delivery that depends on bowler hand action to be effective. Technically speaking, a "googly" is an off-break delivered to a right handed batsman with what looks to be leg-break action. The "googly" was invented and developed by B. J. T. Bosanquet in and about 1890. He used it against the Australians in 1903 to some effect. Down under it is called a "Bosey". A "chinaman" on the other hand, is an off break bowled from the back or side of the hand by a left-handed bowler. The name supposedly comes from the Chinese bowler Ellis Achong, who played for the West Indies, and who practised this kind of bowling, but he was not the originator of this particular kind of delivery.
The team in the field is made up of the bowler, the wicketkeeper and nine additional fielders scattered about at colorfully named positions such as "silly mid-on", "extra cover", "long-on" and "backward short leg". Unlike baseball which has set positions, cricket fielders are positioned according to the batsman and bowlers tendencies and move about all the time. While there are names for well over 25 positions, all of them cannot be filled at one time. Fielders move after each "over" when the ball is being bowled from the opposite set of wickets and the "on side" and "off side" of the field are reversed.
Well, that's the basics. We trust we have throughly confused the issue, but there is hope. We intend to add a glossary of terms and a visit to the C.C. Morris Cricket Library which should prove illuminating.
Cricket Watchers Guide
How the Game is Played
Bowler vs. Striker
The Ball & Bowling
Ins & Outs of Scoring
Glossary of Cricket Terms
Cricket in America
North American Cricket Clubs
C.C. Morris Cricket Library
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