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Pitch it up!

Cricketing Slang Dictionary

5 min read

We’re shortly coming up with a series of Snippets, called Short Singles. Stay tuned. You shall need the appended Glossary to enjoy this series.

Cricketing Slang Dictionary
Cricketing Slang Dictionary

Just Like that: A Cricketing Terms Glossary

Duck – Dismissed without scoring a run (possible derivation: a duck’s egg).

Golden Duck – Dismissed first ball, without scoring a run.

Diamond Duck – Dismissed first ball of the team’s innings, without scoring a run.

Pair – Dismissed for a duck in both innings (possible derivation: a pair of Spectacles).

King pair – Dismissed for a golden duck in both innings.

Sledging – The art of riling a batsman to break his concentration in the middle, usually with insults. It works on some batsmen and backfires with others. The Aussies prefer to call it ‘mental disintegration’.

A Nelson – when the score is 111. Believed to be named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, who ended up with one arm, one eye and one leg. A Double Nelson is 222; Triple Nelson 333 etc. For English batsmen, it is an unlucky number, which made superstitious umpire David Shepherd hop on one leg.

The Devil’s Number – The Australians are equally wary of the number 87 (13 shy of a hundred), although it can also help them concentrate as they near a ton.

To walk – Rarely seen in the modern game, but when a batsman concedes he is out before the umpire triggers him.
Occasionally a batsman will walk on an LBW when it is obviously plumb.

ODI – One Day International. Usually a match with 50 overs a side, often played over an afternoon and evening, so becoming a ‘day-nighter’.

T20 – Twenty20 cricket: 20 overs a side.

IPL – Indian Premier League: a T20 competition which brings the best cricketers of the world together, paying out generous dollops of cash for their services.

Cow corner – A fielder at deep midwicket for an agricultural mow across the line. A useful position for tail-end sloggers and crazy-eyed village cricketers.

Minefield – A terror track for the batsman and a boon for the bowlers. Less common nowadays with covered pitches and lucrative television rights.

Burner – Rhyming slang for a ‘turner’ or pitch that takes spin. (Also known
as a ‘Bunsen’ for obvious reasons.)

Chinaman – A ball from a left-arm unorthodox wrist-spinner, who tweaks the ball from off leg to right-handers. This technique mirrors that of the right-arm leg-spinner. The term was first used pejoratively by Englishman Walter Robbins in a Test match against the West Indies in 1933, when he was beaten in flight by Puss Achong, who was of Chinese origin. Robbins trudged back, grumbling: ‘Fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman!’

Googly – A ball that is spun from off to leg to right-handers, but without using an off-spinner’s action. A surprise variation, but it often ends up itthe stands if dragged short or the batsman picks it. Also known as a ‘wrongun’ or ‘Bosie’ after its inventor, Bernard Bosanquet.

Doosra – Literally the ‘other’ or ‘second’ one in Hindi, it is the off-spinner’s version of the wrong-un, in that it spins like a leggie, but with an off-break action. Popularised by Saqlain Mushtaq, although probably invented by Sonny Ramadhin, its use sometimes leads to accusations of chucking.

Bump ball – When the ball slams into the pitch and flies into the hands of a fielder. The bounce is often missed (or ignored), leading to claims for a catch. Gives rise to ‘crowd catches’ in which the crowd cheer, believing a clean catch has been taken.

Bumper – A short-pitched bouncer. Throat ball – when the ball rears up sharply from a length or just back of a length, or when a batsman is slow to pick up the length of a bumper.

Snicko – Abbreviation for Snickometer, a televisual aid, triggered bysoundwaves captured by the stump microphone. It indicates whether theball has edged or snicked the bat.

Hot Spot – An infrared imaging system that reveals the ‘hot spot’ where the ball has hit the bat, gloves, pad or batsman.

Hawk-Eye – Another tool for the broadcasters (and sometimes the umpires) which can track the path of a ball and therefore predict its likely path.

Belter – A flat pitch that favours the batsmen. Also called a featherbed.

Chin music – When the batsman is getting nothing but bumpers and throat balls.

Dilscoop – Invented by Sri Lankan batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan in T20.
The plucky batsman flicks the ball off his nose and over the head of the
keeper. A dentist’s delight.

Mankad – The practice of running out a batsman who is backing up. This is perfectly legal, yet criticized by the unscrupulous. Made famous by Vinoo Mankad in 1947, when he dismissed Aussie batsman Bill Brown.

Dolly (drop) – An easy catch (that is grassed), also called a sitter.

A Zero – No runs, no wickets, no catches, no run outs in the match.

Lollipop – A bad ball that asks to be hit. Often called ‘buffet bowling’ by Geoff Boycott, i.e. help yourself.

Rabbit/bunny – A tailender who is a ‘walking wicket’: easy to send back to
the hutch. Can also mean a batsman who has been dismissed several times by the same bowler, e.g. JP Duminy was Graeme Swann’s bunny, etc.

Duckworth/Lewis (D/L) – A mathematical formula for calculating a fair target in case of delays, usually caused by rain. Notoriously complicated, it can lead to the more academic captain winning.

Bodyline – Short-pitched bowling at the body with the aim of forcing the batsman to fend off to fielders waiting in close on the leg side (also called leg theory). Used by the dastardly Douglas Jardine to thwart Don Bradman
in the 1932-33 Ashes series. Now illegal.

Chucking –Throwing the ball with a bent arm instead of bowling with a straight arm.

Plumb – To be rapped on the pads right in front of all three. Not always given out though.

Supersub – A brief but flawed experiment by the law-makers to allow teams to sub a player off during an ODI.

Double teapot – A fast bowler standing with both hands on hips after a misfield, dropped catch or not-out decision with which he disagrees.

Triggered – Given out wrongly by the umpire. It often implies a certain relish in the umpire’s finger-wagging. Sawn off means the same.

Shooter – When the ball shoots along the deck. If bowled straight and fast, the batsman hasn’t a prayer.


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