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08 Jun 2017

Do you know the history of these cricketing terms?

History of the cricketing terms

Like any other sports, cricket is a game with a few strange terms attached to it.

While a new comer would be definitely confused with these expressions, some of them are even bewildering to the seasoned follower of the game.

Let us find out how these terms got their names and the peculiar history behind the discovery of these words.

In context

History of the cricketing terms
Why are four and six runs awarded?


Why are four and six runs awarded?

Prior to 1870, players had to run and score the runs after hitting the ball.

However, when boundaries were added in the 'Laws of cricket', it was decided that the umpires would talk with the captains to rule how many runs to award after the ball goes beyond boundary.

If captains failed to agree, four or six runs would be awarded to the batsman.

The change in the law

After many reworks, the runs awarded, in case the ball goes beyond the boundary, were fixed as six if the ball directly pitches beyond the boundary; else four runs were added to the scoreboard.

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Is it a man from China?

Chinaman is a delivery spinning from the off side to the leg side for a right-handed batsman bowled by a left-arm leg spinner.

'Chinaman' is named after Ellis Aching, the first person of Chinese descent to play test cricket. He bowled first such delivery to Walter Robins.

Kuldeep Yadav, Sir Garfield Sobers and Brad Hogg are some of the chinaman specialists in world.

Maiden over

In the olden days, maiden was meant something which was 'unproductive' and hence when an over where no runs were scored, it was called the 'maiden over' i.e. an unproductive over (for the batsman).

The French influence on cricket

Bails and Umpire

The French influence on cricket

In the old French, a 'baile' meant enclosure of a ship pen, which was derived from a Latin word meaning a stick. It later evolved and became bail/bails in English.

Similarly, the word umpire has its origins from the French word 'nonper' which meant 'not equal' or 'a third person.' The word then became 'noumpere' in old English and eventually 'Umpire.'

Yorker - Not a discovery by an Yorkshire player

The word 'yorker' came into use from the phrases to be 'yerked' or 'yarked', which meant to get smacked or hit. Another story of the origin of this word is that 'york' was a slang used when someone got deceived.


Delivered by a leg-spinner, googly is a ball which does the opposite of what the batsman expects. The delivery would also make a batsman 'google' or 'stare' at the ball, giving rise to this word 'googly.'

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