Ranji Trophy, 2009-10 November 23, 2009

Suspect action, suspect reaction

I'm not sure if anyone has put any thought into the repercussions of this process
20

Dear readers,

In the course of the current domestic season, the BCCI has decided to play cop to “illegal bowling actions”. Last year the board had begun a campaign through which six cameras around the ground monitored the standard of umpiring and the conduct of the game. Logically the same data was also used to take a closer look at bowling actions of bowlers with suspect actions. Towards the end of last season, the BCCI had issued a list of over 40 such bowlers. Apparently all were summoned to Bangalore by the National Cricket Academy for corrective measures.

This year, though, the board went a step ahead and empowered umpires to no-ball bowlers they thought chucked. The board has also directed umpires officiating in various age-group tournaments to follow the same protocol to stem the rot right at the beginning. In the first couple of rounds of this Ranji season, there have been quite a few instances of an umpire warning the bowler by no-balling him. A bowler can only be warned thrice before he is stopped from bowling. Thereafter he has got to go to the NCA to rectify or clear his action.

Straight off the BCCI's move to clean up the system has to be lauded. After all chucking gives that bowler an advantage over others who bowl with a clean action. But I'm not sure if anyone has put any thought into the repercussions of this process. Personally I definitely think it's going to end a few careers.

A spinner usually chucks while bowling a faster one or a doosra, which can easily be avoided or corrected. But if a fast bowler has a suspect action, it’s extremely difficult to rectify it while keeping the same pace and remaining as effective. A few states have already dropped players with suspect actions, and if they don’t get it right soon they will be history.

Now the question that needs to be addressed is, what happens to bowlers who are unable to rectify their actions. Where do they go? Most players have cricket as their only source of income, and if that’s taken away the consequences are devastating. For instance, once identified as chuckers they might not be allowed to play for their employers.

These guys have been playing serious cricket from the age of 13-14 and were encouraged to bowl the way they have been bowling. So the system is as much to blame. Given all this, it might be a good idea to have a scheme to rehabilitate the players who have faithfully served their states for quite a few years. The onus is on state associations, all of who have developmental funds, to stand by them and find or create opportunities that will allow them to continue their making a living from cricket, at least for a reasonable period of time.

I hope they do.

Bye for now

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kool Kat on November 26, 2009, 11:57 GMT

    Aakash : Nice article. And good to note that BCCI is coming down hard on this. But both, the players and state adminstrators are to blame. However, ignorance of the law is no defence. Its like giving amnesty to income tax dodgers because that's the only thing they knew. In this day of electronic media, everyone knows the consequence of chucking.

  • Anonymous on November 25, 2009, 18:10 GMT

    HAI AKASH.. I HV BEEN READING UR ARTICLES REGULARLY & ITS REALLY INTERESTING TO SEE THINGS FROM A PLAYER'S PERSPECTIVE.. Gud job sir & keep it up.. I hv one doubt which i think many more people who follow d game might also have.. On what basis is d annual retainership for a player decided by the BCCI..? Its really baffling to see some of d names in that list.. Do they decide only based on performances or on some petty politics..? Why there is no transparency in any of d matters associated with d BCCI..? Any how, ALL D BEST YAAR..

  • PRASANNA on November 25, 2009, 18:08 GMT

    HAI AKASH.. I HV BEEN READING UR ARTICLES REGULARLY & ITS REALLY INTERESTING TO SEE THINGS FROM A PLAYER'S PERSPECTIVE.. Gud job sir & keep it up.. I hv one doubt which i think many more people who follow d game might also have.. On what basis is d annual retainership for a player decided by the BCCI..? Its really baffling to see some of d names in that list.. Do they decide only based on performances or on some petty politics..? Why there is no transparency in any of d matters associated with d BCCI..? Any how, ALL D BEST YAAR..

  • Kiran on November 25, 2009, 12:25 GMT

    A commendable move by the BCCI. Bowlers who can't rectify their actions have no place in the system, and the cricket associations don't owe them any welfare. If you can't play by the rules, find a different profession.

  • R Narayan on November 25, 2009, 11:23 GMT

    How unfair can you get. It certainly is a batsman's game. Flat wickets, short boundaries, fancy bats, flat wickets.... now they can't even chuck! But seriously, if they can't remedy their action, they will just have to find something else to do. Well done, BCCI.

  • Gaurav on November 25, 2009, 10:06 GMT

    Aakash, you make a good point, but, as some here have said, the batsmen who happen to be at the wrong end of such doubtful actions, may also stand up and cry injustice. After all, their careers can also get affected, thanks to an illegal action! So, maybe the need of the hour is to get the message across, not just to the players but even to the coaches/trainers around the country, that they better be careful in regards to this problem as their negligence can affect a players career and their name as well! BCCI, in my opinion has taken set the ball rolling and now its for the affected parties to clean up their act.

  • Renjith on November 25, 2009, 6:48 GMT

    This is one of the best steps taken by BCCI in recent times. They are also giving adequate support for the called ones to rectify their actions. If they still can't rectify, nobody can help. Doesn't whether they are called after playing for one session or 10 sessions.

  • gowri dev on November 24, 2009, 19:15 GMT

    Hi aakash, I don't think umpire as good judge to call baller as chucker as umpire has see if bowler is bowling no ball or not at same time how can he judge the action of a bowler. I think both umpires in a match should see action of bowler behind wickets before calling him as chucker. I also agree that they should been give a chance to correct their action. I want to learn straight drive and cover drive. can you tell me any easy way. I mean how practice these kind of shots.

  • Moin on November 24, 2009, 17:49 GMT

    Nice article Aakash...

  • Jontyfan on November 24, 2009, 16:58 GMT

    Its about time chuckers were chucked out of the game. Its pretty obvious to see if a bowler has a clean action or not and the umpires need to keep the cheats out of the game. Too bad Murali and Shoaib have been allowed to play all these years.

  • Kool Kat on November 26, 2009, 11:57 GMT

    Aakash : Nice article. And good to note that BCCI is coming down hard on this. But both, the players and state adminstrators are to blame. However, ignorance of the law is no defence. Its like giving amnesty to income tax dodgers because that's the only thing they knew. In this day of electronic media, everyone knows the consequence of chucking.

  • Anonymous on November 25, 2009, 18:10 GMT

    HAI AKASH.. I HV BEEN READING UR ARTICLES REGULARLY & ITS REALLY INTERESTING TO SEE THINGS FROM A PLAYER'S PERSPECTIVE.. Gud job sir & keep it up.. I hv one doubt which i think many more people who follow d game might also have.. On what basis is d annual retainership for a player decided by the BCCI..? Its really baffling to see some of d names in that list.. Do they decide only based on performances or on some petty politics..? Why there is no transparency in any of d matters associated with d BCCI..? Any how, ALL D BEST YAAR..

  • PRASANNA on November 25, 2009, 18:08 GMT

    HAI AKASH.. I HV BEEN READING UR ARTICLES REGULARLY & ITS REALLY INTERESTING TO SEE THINGS FROM A PLAYER'S PERSPECTIVE.. Gud job sir & keep it up.. I hv one doubt which i think many more people who follow d game might also have.. On what basis is d annual retainership for a player decided by the BCCI..? Its really baffling to see some of d names in that list.. Do they decide only based on performances or on some petty politics..? Why there is no transparency in any of d matters associated with d BCCI..? Any how, ALL D BEST YAAR..

  • Kiran on November 25, 2009, 12:25 GMT

    A commendable move by the BCCI. Bowlers who can't rectify their actions have no place in the system, and the cricket associations don't owe them any welfare. If you can't play by the rules, find a different profession.

  • R Narayan on November 25, 2009, 11:23 GMT

    How unfair can you get. It certainly is a batsman's game. Flat wickets, short boundaries, fancy bats, flat wickets.... now they can't even chuck! But seriously, if they can't remedy their action, they will just have to find something else to do. Well done, BCCI.

  • Gaurav on November 25, 2009, 10:06 GMT

    Aakash, you make a good point, but, as some here have said, the batsmen who happen to be at the wrong end of such doubtful actions, may also stand up and cry injustice. After all, their careers can also get affected, thanks to an illegal action! So, maybe the need of the hour is to get the message across, not just to the players but even to the coaches/trainers around the country, that they better be careful in regards to this problem as their negligence can affect a players career and their name as well! BCCI, in my opinion has taken set the ball rolling and now its for the affected parties to clean up their act.

  • Renjith on November 25, 2009, 6:48 GMT

    This is one of the best steps taken by BCCI in recent times. They are also giving adequate support for the called ones to rectify their actions. If they still can't rectify, nobody can help. Doesn't whether they are called after playing for one session or 10 sessions.

  • gowri dev on November 24, 2009, 19:15 GMT

    Hi aakash, I don't think umpire as good judge to call baller as chucker as umpire has see if bowler is bowling no ball or not at same time how can he judge the action of a bowler. I think both umpires in a match should see action of bowler behind wickets before calling him as chucker. I also agree that they should been give a chance to correct their action. I want to learn straight drive and cover drive. can you tell me any easy way. I mean how practice these kind of shots.

  • Moin on November 24, 2009, 17:49 GMT

    Nice article Aakash...

  • Jontyfan on November 24, 2009, 16:58 GMT

    Its about time chuckers were chucked out of the game. Its pretty obvious to see if a bowler has a clean action or not and the umpires need to keep the cheats out of the game. Too bad Murali and Shoaib have been allowed to play all these years.

  • Mahebub Kureshi on November 23, 2009, 18:47 GMT

    Aakash. Well said. But its very difficult to measure 15 digree, 20 digree laid down by ICC. How can field umpire judge the certain bowler is bending his arm more then 15 digree? This is totally irrelevent. As far as my knowledge is concerns BCCI is doing well to find out the bowlers with doubtful action. They are recording action from Under-16 matches. On other hand, chukers never may allow in any type of cricket. As if they get out one batsman by twisting his arm more then allowed, and he finds guilty after one season, What should be done with that Batsman who got out on chucking the delivery. Lots of IFs and BUTs are there. But chuckers must be ractify their errors at NCA. Akash, could you please give suggestions, to keep away chuckers from domestic circuit? Its really tough job. Anyway BCCI and its officials are in best position to decide about it.

  • ramesh on November 23, 2009, 17:26 GMT

    Dear Aakash, Dude I enjoy reading your blogs.. your comments are thoughtful and insightful.. while i can understand your empathy with your fellow cricketers, i have to disagree with your notion that these guys have to be sustained inspite of incorrect action... there two aspects here, 1)the number of careers these bolwers might be affecting because of the unfair advantage of their bowling actions... (they are probably depriving a guy with a legal action) 2)These individuals have been made aware of the potential no-balling (list of 40 was sent).... why then did they not change their actions.. aren't weight lifters who do roids banned (these guys have been getting away with it until they got caught).. should they be persisted with inspite of the knowledge that they have tried to break the rules??

  • Aakash on November 23, 2009, 17:11 GMT

    Shridhar, I'm not saying that the BCCI should legalize chucking but all I'm proposing is to have a scheme/provision to rehabilitate the guys who've played for their respective states for nearly a decade. Regardless of their bowling action they served their states...and hence deserve understanding from their associations.. Cheers

  • Rajeev on November 23, 2009, 16:37 GMT

    Well Aakash there are many more cricketers with perfectly legal bowling actions, who could not make it to the Test/Ranji squads who may be struggling to make a living now. They also must have given their everything to Cricket since the age of 13-14. I guess, this time we need to applaud BCCI (an organization that rarely gets anything right) for taking a positive step.

  • pietrojackson on November 23, 2009, 16:30 GMT

    Tough on the long-time chuckers ? What about the honest bowlers who don't get a chance because of their place is taken e.g. Powar and Harbajan, Herath and Murali at the international level.

  • SHRIDHAR on November 23, 2009, 15:32 GMT

    Dear Akash,This is the first time BCCI is doing something really good.You say the doubtful/debatable bowlers have been warned and told ,then why not call them chuckers when they do in a match.Wrong is wrong and we cannot allow a honest batsmen to suffer due to wrong/chucking cheers shri

  • Sujoy on November 23, 2009, 8:47 GMT

    Good article Akash...liked your website www.cricketaakash.com as well. Thx.

  • Jay on November 23, 2009, 8:43 GMT

    Arvind, I read the article once again after reading your comment...where and when did the writer say that suspect actions should be legalized???? Enlighten me, brother!!! Good article.....Aakash

  • Sanjay on November 23, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    @Arvind...have you lost it, mate??? Can't u understand the point Aakash is making. Smuggling was never legal but their bwoling actions were till a couple of years ago. So much so that Sarandeep played for India in test Cricket and Rajesh Pawar was also picked for India. Now both of them are called for chucking...

  • Arvind on November 23, 2009, 7:06 GMT

    "Most players have cricket as their only source of income, and if that’s taken away the consequences are devastating."

    Sorry, that argument is unsustainable. The game of cricket is played on the cricket field, and the player's personal life is irrelevant.

    Some people smuggle drugs, and that is their only means of living. Now, if the police were to catch them, the consequences are devastating. They would certainly not be able to find a job. However, nobody is born a smuggler, so the so-called "system" should also be blamed. Does it mean that we should allow smuggling? Note: This analogy is highly exaggerated, but you get the point. I hope you do.

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  • Arvind on November 23, 2009, 7:06 GMT

    "Most players have cricket as their only source of income, and if that’s taken away the consequences are devastating."

    Sorry, that argument is unsustainable. The game of cricket is played on the cricket field, and the player's personal life is irrelevant.

    Some people smuggle drugs, and that is their only means of living. Now, if the police were to catch them, the consequences are devastating. They would certainly not be able to find a job. However, nobody is born a smuggler, so the so-called "system" should also be blamed. Does it mean that we should allow smuggling? Note: This analogy is highly exaggerated, but you get the point. I hope you do.

  • Sanjay on November 23, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    @Arvind...have you lost it, mate??? Can't u understand the point Aakash is making. Smuggling was never legal but their bwoling actions were till a couple of years ago. So much so that Sarandeep played for India in test Cricket and Rajesh Pawar was also picked for India. Now both of them are called for chucking...

  • Jay on November 23, 2009, 8:43 GMT

    Arvind, I read the article once again after reading your comment...where and when did the writer say that suspect actions should be legalized???? Enlighten me, brother!!! Good article.....Aakash

  • Sujoy on November 23, 2009, 8:47 GMT

    Good article Akash...liked your website www.cricketaakash.com as well. Thx.

  • SHRIDHAR on November 23, 2009, 15:32 GMT

    Dear Akash,This is the first time BCCI is doing something really good.You say the doubtful/debatable bowlers have been warned and told ,then why not call them chuckers when they do in a match.Wrong is wrong and we cannot allow a honest batsmen to suffer due to wrong/chucking cheers shri

  • pietrojackson on November 23, 2009, 16:30 GMT

    Tough on the long-time chuckers ? What about the honest bowlers who don't get a chance because of their place is taken e.g. Powar and Harbajan, Herath and Murali at the international level.

  • Rajeev on November 23, 2009, 16:37 GMT

    Well Aakash there are many more cricketers with perfectly legal bowling actions, who could not make it to the Test/Ranji squads who may be struggling to make a living now. They also must have given their everything to Cricket since the age of 13-14. I guess, this time we need to applaud BCCI (an organization that rarely gets anything right) for taking a positive step.

  • Aakash on November 23, 2009, 17:11 GMT

    Shridhar, I'm not saying that the BCCI should legalize chucking but all I'm proposing is to have a scheme/provision to rehabilitate the guys who've played for their respective states for nearly a decade. Regardless of their bowling action they served their states...and hence deserve understanding from their associations.. Cheers

  • ramesh on November 23, 2009, 17:26 GMT

    Dear Aakash, Dude I enjoy reading your blogs.. your comments are thoughtful and insightful.. while i can understand your empathy with your fellow cricketers, i have to disagree with your notion that these guys have to be sustained inspite of incorrect action... there two aspects here, 1)the number of careers these bolwers might be affecting because of the unfair advantage of their bowling actions... (they are probably depriving a guy with a legal action) 2)These individuals have been made aware of the potential no-balling (list of 40 was sent).... why then did they not change their actions.. aren't weight lifters who do roids banned (these guys have been getting away with it until they got caught).. should they be persisted with inspite of the knowledge that they have tried to break the rules??

  • Mahebub Kureshi on November 23, 2009, 18:47 GMT

    Aakash. Well said. But its very difficult to measure 15 digree, 20 digree laid down by ICC. How can field umpire judge the certain bowler is bending his arm more then 15 digree? This is totally irrelevent. As far as my knowledge is concerns BCCI is doing well to find out the bowlers with doubtful action. They are recording action from Under-16 matches. On other hand, chukers never may allow in any type of cricket. As if they get out one batsman by twisting his arm more then allowed, and he finds guilty after one season, What should be done with that Batsman who got out on chucking the delivery. Lots of IFs and BUTs are there. But chuckers must be ractify their errors at NCA. Akash, could you please give suggestions, to keep away chuckers from domestic circuit? Its really tough job. Anyway BCCI and its officials are in best position to decide about it.