Tillakaratne Dilshan, Tony Greig, Vinoo Mankad and other cricketers who made it to the cricket lexicon
There have been legends, and then, there have been those whose names become immortalised by getting their names etched in the lexicon of the sport. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at some names on which cricket terms have been named.
One does not need to explain the word “Bradmanesque” to a cricket lover: they understand the enormity of the number 99.94. However, despite the enormous stature of the man, the word has not really made it to the lexicon of cricket: it remains a mere metaphor.
While The Don did not make it to the list, some others have. Here is a list.
1. Bernard Bosanquet: Bosey / Bosie
Bosanquet is usually credited with the invention of the googly (albeit accidentally, as per his own admission). It took some time, but once the googly took off, it became a hit. Reggie Schwarz, an acquaintance, learned the art, and took it back to South Africa. By the time South Africa toured England in 1905-06, they had an army of four googly bowlers: Schwarz himself, Bertie Vogler, Gordon White, and the legendary Aubrey Faulkner.
What is relatively less known is the fact that a googly was also referred to as a Bosey or a Bosie after its inventor. The most iconic use of the term can be found in Arthur Mailey’s 10 for 66 and All That: “I found fresh hope in the thought that (Victor) Trumper had found Bosanquet, creator of the ‘wrong ’un’ or ‘bosie’ (which I think a better name), rather puzzling.”
2. Sydney Barnes: Barnes Ball
While Barnes’ greatness is undeniable (many consider him the greatest bowler in history), it is relatively less known that the Barnes Ball used to be a quite famous phenomenon about a century back. Wisden described it as “the leg-break delivered at pace and without rotation of the wrist.”
Benny Green described it as well in A History of Cricket as one that “pitched on the stumps between leg and middle, and then turned sharply to threaten the off-stump or find the edge of the bat”. Sounds unplayable, does it not?
3. Ellis “Puss” Achong: Chinaman
As cricket folklore goes, it had all started at the Old Trafford Test of 1933. Douglas Jardine and Walter Robbins were leading a spirited rescue operation when Achong (the first Test cricketer of Chinese origin) bowled a delivery that took Robbins by complete surprise: as Robbins stepped out to hit him, the ball spun back into him and went through his legs.
As Ivan Barrow whipped the bails off, a bemused Robbins told umpire Joe Hardstaff snr: “Fancy getting out to a bloody Chinaman!” Learie Constantine, present at the ground, had apparently retorted with the question: “You mean the bowler or the ball?”
The name Chinaman stuck for left-arm wrist-spin. Decades later, Shehan Karunatilaka wrote a delightful book of the same name — one that will go down as the best cricket books of all time.
4. Vinoo Mankad: Mankading
It is well-known that Mankad had run out Bill Brown as the latter had backed up too much in the Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The relatively lesser known fact is that Mankad had done the same to Brown in a tour match against Australia XI at the same ground. Brown had a received a warning in the tour match, but not in the Test. Though the Australian media criticised Vinoo’s act almost unanimously, Bradman himself wrote that it was “scrupulously fair” in A Farewell to Cricket.
However, Lord Harris, while leading Oxford University, had got a Cambridge University batsman “Mankaded” sometime in the 1870s, so it was not necessarily a Mankad “invention”. The term stuck, though.
5. Keith Carmody: Carmody Field
Carmody led Western Australia in 1947-48. It was this season that his fast bowlers, Charlie Puckett and Kenneth Cumming, induced edges on a consistent basis — but the ball flew through the various vacant regions, especially through slips. Carmody placed as many as eight fielders in a near-semicircle from gully to leg-gully.
Catches were seldom spilled thereafter. Western Australia clinched the Sheffield Shield that season. Since then numerous variations of the Carmody Field had been used.
6. Tony Greig: Greig Point
Apart from being one of the finest all-rounders in the history of English cricket, Greig was also an entertainer and a shrewd (and haughty at times) captain. He was also one of the initial recruits of Kerry Packer, and was the cricketing brain behind the entire World Series operation.
Greig was also an outstanding (often irritating for the batsman) fielder at silly point — so much they often called the position “Greig Point” in the 1970s.
7. Ashley Mallett: Three slips and a Mallett
Mallett was easily Australia’s first quality off-spinner since World War II. He later became a reputed coach for spinners (he is usually credited with the discovery of Ajantha Mendis). He also penned biographies and ghosted autobiographies of Australian legends like Victor Trumper, Clarrie Grimmett, and Ian Chappell.
Additionally, Mallett was an outstanding fielder at gully — to the extent that “three slips and a Mallett” became a common phrase in the 1970s.
8. Roger Twose: Rogers
Twose had almost lived up to his name when he scored four twos (and a duck) in five consecutive Test innings spread over a year and a half. His rather unusual surname gave birth to the word Rogers, typically used to describe the second XI for any cricket side.
9. Tillakaratne Dilshan: Dilscoop
Douglas Marillier had made the stroke over the wicket-keeper’s head fashionable, but Dilshan took things a bit further: he started going down on his left knee, and scooping the ball in the same direction. Once connected properly, the poor ’keeper had no chance of stopping it.
(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)