The dummy’s guide to cricket terms

By Ariel Conant
By Ariel Conant |
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The Cricket World Cup is in full swing, but not everyone is as familiar with the sport as they might like. For those who don’t know a wicket from a grubber, here’s a handy guide to all the weird words of cricket.

Arm ball

What it sounds like: when the ball is thrown using the arms, rather than kicked with the legs
What it really means: when the ball is thrown so that it doesn’t spin and stays straight

Batsman

What it sounds like: do you mean Batman?
What it really means: the guy who hits the ball with the bat

Bat-pad

What it sounds like: Batman’s cool apartment in the city
What it really means: a fielding position close to the batsman to catch balls

Beamer

What it sounds like: Isn’t that slang for a BMW?
What it really means: A ball that doesn’t bounce and is thrown at the batsman’s head-height

Blob

What it sounds like: an amorphous mass
What it really means: a score of zero

Bouncer

What it sounds like: the tough guys who provide security outside night clubs
What it really means: a ball which bounces and passes the batsman at chest or head height

Bowler

What it sounds like: a person who goes bowling at a bowling alley
What it really means: the guy who throws or pitches the ball

We test our junior reporters on what they think cricket terms mean

Boundary

What it sounds like: the lines marking the outside of an area
What it really means: a batsman scoring a four or a six

Bunny

What it sounds like: an adorable animal with long ears that hops around
What it really means: a member of the team who can’t bat, so is used as a bowler or wicketkeeper

Bye

What it sounds like: what you say when you’re leaving
What it really means: a run scored when the batsman doesn’t touch the ball at all

Century

What it sounds like: 100 years
What it really means: 100 runs by a single batsman in one inning

Closing the face

What it sounds like: stop talking, or shut up
What it really means: turning the face of the bat inwards and hitting the ball with the skinny side

Cross bat

What it sounds like: an angry rodent with wings
What it really means: when the batsman holds the bat horizontally to hit the ball

Dead ball

What it sounds like: the ball was once alive, and now it is not. We should have a funeral
What it really means: a ball from which no runs can be scored or wickets taken

Dibbly-dobbly bowlers

What it sounds like: …huh?
What it really means: bowlers who are medium-pace and are effective for choking the runs

Dolly

What it sounds like: what a little girl calls her toy doll
What it really means: an easy catch

Duck

What it sounds like: there was an enormous inflatable yellow one in Victoria Harbour awhile ago
What it really means: A score of zero

Economy rate

What it sounds like: statistics related to the stock market and trade
What it really means: the average number of runs a bowler concedes per over

Gardening

What it sounds like: growing vegetables
What it really means: when the batsman repairs indentations in the pitch with his bat

Googly

What it sounds like: what your elderly relative calls the popular internet search engine
What it really means: a type of pitch variation which is meant to confuse the batsman

Grubber

What it sounds like: someone who hasn’t showered in a week or so
What it really means: a ball that hardly bounces

Jaffa

What it sounds like: that was the villain in Aladdin, right?
What it really means: a delivery too good for the batsman to handle

Leading edge

What it sounds like: something good, like you’ve got a one-up on something
What it really means: when the batsman mis-hits the ball

Leg before wicket

What it sounds like: the start of some kind of proverb: Leg before wicket, you’re in the… thicket?
What it really means: a complex rule of cricket which says you cannot be out if the ball is pitched outside the line of leg stump and hits you

Leg bye

What it sounds like: what you say before you go into surgery for your amputation
What it really means: when the ball hits off the pad and the batsmen run

Leg cutter

What it sounds like: the guy who performs your amputation
What it really means: a ball which cuts and moves away from the batsman towards the offside

Lollipop

What it sounds like: candy!
What it really means: a really easy ball to hit

Maiden

What it sounds like: the girl in a fairytale
What it really means: An over where no runs are scored on the bowler

Nightwatchman

What it sounds like: The security guard at your building who covers the night shift and you always find sleeping at the desk by the lifts
What it really means: A non-batsman promoted up the order

Nurdle

What it sounds like: an affectionate name for your dorky younger cousin
What it really means: the batsman nudging the ball around and into gaps

Pudding

What it sounds like: a delicious, creamy dessert. Chocolate is best
What it really means: a slow pitch difficult to score quickly on

Shoulder arms

What it sounds like: aren’t those just regular arms?
What it really means: when the batsman lifts the bat high above his shoulder instead of risk being dismissed from a ball

Sledging

What it sounds like: sliding down a snowy hill
What it really means: verbally bashing the batsman to try and distract him

Wicket

What it sounds like: a very British way of saying someone is very evil or naughty
What it really means: the stumps at the centre of the game

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