Chucking: Acute angle, obtuse logic

Sports

As young kids when we played cricket, the competition was always intense. No quarters given, no favours demanded. I remember very clearly two players from our team who were prevented from bowling as their actions aroused suspicion of the other teams we played matches with.

There were no cameras, no biomechanics, no electrodes, no trigonometric measurements — just the knowledge (not backed by overt admission though) that the bowlers' actions were not entirely defensible.

It becomes very clear to anybody who has watched the game for sometime, as to what is a good shot, and what is a bad shot. The same is true for the other player activities — fielding and bowling. You just KNOW, when it is good and when foul.

I have no doubt in my mind that the bowling actions of the following are (or have at a point of time been) foul:

Brett Lee
Germaine Lawson
Harbhajan Singh
Lasith Malinga
Mutthiah Muralitharan
Nathan Bracken
Rajesh Chauhan
Shabbir Ahmed
Shahid Afridi
Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Malik

They have either been 'throwing' — which involves the bowling arm being recoiled/flexed and then straightened out to generate a certain pace that would not normally come if the bowling arm were to be swivelled around the shoulder while at full stretch — or 'slinging' the arm in a slanted angle — where the bowling hand doesn't go high above the bowler's head at full-stretch. In the case of Malinga for example, the bowling arm is mostly at par with the level of the shoulder.

It doesn't take anything more than basic cricketing sense to endorse the above list of the defaulters.

What further obfuscates the issue is that the chucking debate centres around 'straightening' of the bowling arm. While in reality the problem is in 'bending' the bowling arm, which the bowler would then automatically straighten. You don't need to straighten your arm if you don't bend the damn arm in the first place!

And as if the misplaced debate were not enough, we have to contend with the absolute stupidity of ICC putting limits and measurements like eight degrees, thirteen degrees, fifteen degrees etc. and that too in exotic biomechanics laboratories! It is a hallmark of incredulous dodo-headedness that they don't think that the bowlers in question could bowl legitimately in the lab and sneak in the dirty ball during crucial moments in the match. (The biggest exponents of this are Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi).

Could the ICC stop this nonsense? Let the square-leg umpire call. For he, just like the rest of us, would KNOW when a bowler is chucking.

Like pregnancy — where you either are pregnant or you are not — chucking too is binary. You either chuck, or you don't. And there can be no measurements to it.

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9 thoughts on “Chucking: Acute angle, obtuse logic

  1. Masood,
    This question has been raised previously too, and I don’t remember who answered it, but I remember the answer well –> What if a bowler is born with a deformity that prevents him from raising his arm above his head. Then should he be allowed to bowl underarm?

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  2. It sounds that you dont have much cricketing knowledge mate with regard to your comments on Murali. Its true that you wouldn’t be allowed to bowl underarm if a bowler is born with a deformity that prevents him from raising his arm above his head; but that’s coz it is defined in the rule books. But there is no rule that says bowlers cannot bowl with a bent arm, it says you cannot straighten it at the time of delivery.

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  3. Roger::
    It sounds that you don’t have much patience with raising an argument either! Ok, you believe in the rule-book to the T, and therefore your implied eulogy for it to have taken care of the under-arm scenario. In that case I would say the rule itself is either blinkered or short-sighted! Else we wouldn’t have had the problem cases mentioned — Shoaib Akhtar, Murali, Malinga etc. I still believe we should go by the umpires ‘wisdom’…

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