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The age of the lobsters: when underarm bowling was king | Simon Burnton


It has not been seen regularly in a first-class game for almost 100 years but there was a time when ‘lob’ bowling was highly successful and used to humiliate batsmen into getting out

There is a particularly interesting episode of Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell’s often fascinating podcast, about Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in the NBA and the importance in achieving that historic record of underhand free throws.

Chamberlain was a phenomenal basketball player, but at the particular skill of free throws he was unusually weak. Indeed, only two people in the entire history of the NBA (counting only those with more than 1,200 attempts – not as many as it sounds) have been worse than him. Across his career Chamberlain had a 51.1% success rate – horribly bad compared with an NBA average of around 75%, and ludicrously inferior to the all-time top free-throw shooters, who average a shade over 90%.

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