Cricketer's Diary: Strangling headless chickens

Simon Hughes
Tuesday 15 June 1993 23:02

BECAUSE of constant downpours we seem to be doing nothing except talk about the game so I've decided to compile an A to Z of cricket jargon.

Aerosol bowler - wayward paceman, literally someone who 'sprays it everywhere'. Dreaded by batsmen as sprinkled in among the half-volleys and long hops will be the occasional corker.

Bunsen (burner) - rhyming slang for a turning wicket. A 'raging bunsen' describes the sort of minefield often encountered in India.

Crusted - hit on the head by a bouncer. Not a nice experience in spite of helmets which make a frightful reverberating clang when struck by the ball.

Cafeteria bowling - downright rubbish, so called because you can 'help yourself.'

Death - batsman dismissed by a lousy delivery or caught by a useless fielder.

Flier - rapid start to an ininings perpetrated by Wayne Larkins, Trevor Ward, or wayward bowling.

Filth - bowling that promotes a 'flier'.

German general - batting side encouraging trickling ball to the boundary (after Goebbels).

Gnats - seam bowler of neglible pace - eg Dermot Reeve. Always seem faster than they look when you first go in and can produce nasty unexpected bouncer when riled.

Headless chicken - bowler who tears in with whirling arms and crazed expression, eg 'Syd' Lawrence, Merv Hughes. The mere sight is enough for most tail-enders.

Import - bringing a woman up from home on an away trip.

Jaffa - well worn word to describe unplayable delivery, viz. Shane Warne to Mike Gatting.

Jugged - bowler savaged by rampant batsman, as in 'going for the jugular'.

Knacker - delivery, 'Canny knacker' (ie good ball) commonly heard throughout the North-east.

Lenny - batsman who favours the on side - particularly Gooch, Azharuddin and the king of lennidom, Viv Richards.

Mauled - as in 'jugged'.

Nick - a faint edge usually undetected by umpire so non-walking batsmen often get away with them.

Nut - another word for delivery emanating from Australia. They have a habit of yelling 'top nut' even when a batsman has almost given himself a hernia trying to swat a wide bouncer.

On 'em - loud reminder from slip cordon that the new batsman was out for nought in the first innings.

Pongo - rapid scoring, a day to hide the bowling figures.

Reverend - player who only regularly appears in the Sunday league, eg Alan Lilley, Colin Dredge, Simon Hughes. Usually indicates someone near the end of their career.

Rabbit - tail-ender with career average of less than five, ie Mark Robinson and Steve Barwick. Peter Such has just graduated from this department.

Sledge - occasionally more than a mere expletive, eg ' 'Ere. I'll bowl you a piano, see if you can play that' (Arnie Sidebottom).

Sawn off - adjudged lbw by cross- eyed or crooked umpire, or sometimes just an excuse for a poor shot.

Strangle - wicket with an unlikely delivery, similar to a 'death'. Mike Gatting earned the nickname 'Boston' owing to the number of dismissals he achieved with wides, swinging half-volleys and loopy slower balls.

Spitting cobra - delivery that rears off a length. Usually results in a broken finger or a wicket next ball.

Trolleyed - captain in foul mood after bad team performance.

Up the ladder - universal phrase for a coward or a hypochondriac. Anyone who manages to avoid involvement because life is getting a bit rough.

Vulture - one of a cluster of bat- pad catchers usually speaking a foreign language.

Waqared - term coined from Waqar Younis's prowess at producing terminal and frequently painful inswinging yorkers. Chris Cowdrey was the first Englishman to suffer this fate (broken toe 1988) and it cost him the England captaincy.

X's - money given to captain for a round of drinks after a day's play. Usually hoarded rather than spent.

Zog - planet inhabited by the selectors.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments