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While playing a tabletop game, Bosanquet devised a new technique for delivering a ball, later named the "googly", which he steadily practised during his time at Oxford. He first began using it in cricket matches around 1900, abandoning his faster style of bowling, but it was not until 1903 that his new delivery began to attract attention. Having gone on several minor overseas tours, Bosanquet was selected in 1903 for the fully representative Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) tour of Australia.
In the 1904 season, he took more than 100 wickets and his bowling career peaked when he spearheaded England to victory in the first Test against Australia in 1905. However, he never mastered control of good length bowling and remained an erratic performer. After 1905, Bosanquet's bowling went into decline; he practically gave it up and made fewer first-class appearances owing to his business interests. After taking part in the First World War in the Royal Flying Corps, he married and had a son, Reginald Bosanquet, who later became a television newsreader. He died in 1936, aged 58.
The change of wrist action can be seen by a skilled batsman and the change of spin allowed for when playing a shot at the ball. Less skilled batsmen, or ones who have lost their concentration, can be deceived completely, expecting the ball to move one direction off the pitch, only for it to move the other direction. If the batsman is expecting a leg break, he will play outside the line of the ball after it spins. This means the ball can either strike the pads for a potential LBW appeal, or may fly between the bat and the pads and hit the wicket.
The googly is a major weapon in the arsenal of a leg spin bowler, and can be one of the bowler's most effective wicket-taking balls. It is used infrequently, because its effectiveness comes mostly from its surprise value.
Left-arm unorthodox spinners, commonly known as chinaman bowlers, can bowl with the googly action using the left arm. This delivery is usually known as a chinaman googly and turns away from a right-handed batsman, like a leg break or left-arm orthodox spinner. The googly is similar in principle to the doosra, the ball from an off-spinner which turns the opposite way from his stock ball.