No. 47 August 7, 2011

The 15-degree rule

After tests proved that even those with visibly clean actions bowled with bent elbows, the ICC had no choice but to alter the laws
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2004

There was a time when a charge of chucking involved more stigma than almost anything else a player could do wrong. It was easily more serious than not walking, or claiming half-volleys as catches, or running out a batsman who had been tripped over. It was more humiliating too. From backyards to international venues, bowlers who couldn't bowl were looked down upon, their place in the game questioned.

Nowadays umpires don't call anybody for throwing during a match. While a batsman given out lbw even after he has hit the leather off the ball is punished immediately for standing his ground for five seconds, chuckers cannot be asked to stop operating. There are various tests, reporting processes and remedial measures that have attached a sense of mystery to the process and watered down the stigma. The umpire retains the power to call a bowler for throwing, but that's just to prevent misuse - say, baseball-style pitching, or a part-time bowler deliberately chucking at a crucial juncture of the game.

Frankly the game didn't have much choice. For years, decades, centuries, the umpires relied on the naked eye - some still consider it the best method - to call bowlers for throwing. Not in recent times, though, after biomechanical tests revealed it is humanly impossible to bowl without any flex in the elbow. The actions most orthodox to the naked eye were found to be technically illegal. The ICC had no option other than to assign limits for the straightening of the elbow after it passed the shoulder in the delivery action: 10 degrees for fast bowlers, seven and a half for medium-pacers, and five for spinners.

Also in the '90s came Muttiah Muralitharan, whose unique elbow, wrist and shoulder challenged the veracity of what we saw. More startling revelations surfaced from retrospective biomechanical tests in 2004. Some of the cleanest bowlers from the past seemed to have been flexing their elbows beyond the limit, and finally, in November 2004, the ICC set a uniform 15-degree limit for all bowlers.

Given all the complex calculations involved, the umpires only name the suspect actions in their post-match reports, following which various tests decide the offender's future. Most come back with improved actions, and stay under scrutiny. Some are asked to not bowl a particular delivery; for example, Johan Botha and the doosra.

For the time being that has settled the issue and made room for the doosra, the offspinner's googly, which experts reckon cannot be bowled without chucking. The world today is more tolerant of suspect actions. Bishan Bedi is not pleased, Murali is. To Murali and other modern offspinners the doosra is an art form. To Bedi and other traditionalists, among them Australian coaches who want the teaching of the doosra banned, in their country at least, it is an act of cheating. There is reason enough to believe both sides have cricket's best interests at heart. Both have reason to believe what they believe. Whoever said cricket was a simple game?

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. This series was first published in Wisden Asia Cricket magazine in 2003

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • redbrand on August 10, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    How ridiculous are the tests to see if a bowler is legitimate. It's like the police department ringing me and saying "sir, someone has told us you speed when driving, please come down and show us how you drive!". As faulty as that is, end of story.

  • Nav80 on August 8, 2011, 13:13 GMT

    Instead of getting carried away with technicalities, the emphasis should be put on the principle of the rule. Bending of the arm was prohibited to provide some consistency in how people bowled, and to take away the advantages associated with 'throwing' baseball style.

    There was a reason for the rule, and now that we know the 'original' way this rule was defined was 'physically impossible'; we need to try and find a way to preserve the objective of the rule, not the actual word of the rule, without disadvantaging a particular type of bowler (such as Murali).

    It seems the current position of the ICC is the most 'in the spirit' of the rule it has ever been. Perhaps it can be improved further, but we should move on from the 'naked eye' assessment, and the simple 'no bending arm' definition, as we know just how much of a failure such a definition and method of testing is. If anything, such a system only goes to provide certain types of bowlers with an unfair advantage over others...

  • CoolCricketFanatic on August 8, 2011, 13:13 GMT

    Nowadays, Spinners are wearing full-sleeves or 3/4th sleeves purposely to hide their actions while bowling (Harbhajan, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Razzak of Bangladesh, Shoaib Malik, Hafeez, etc.)... And even fast bowlers such as Shoaib Akhatar and Shabir Ahmed used to wear them... It should be made mandatory for all bowlers to wear half-sleeves while bowling, so that the Umpires, match Referees and also the ICC could take proper actions against the offenders of the 15% rule by easily watching them on the slow motion replays...

  • on August 8, 2011, 12:37 GMT

    @Proteas123 what makes you think Murali would have gone beyond the 15 degree rule if he was tested in match conditions when your own Johann Boatha couldn't reproduce the doosra in lab conditions under 15 degrees? The truth is that with the technology available, there is no way to do it in match conditions. If there was Murali would have been the first to ask for it. He is the most tested bowler in cricket history and he willingly participated and even asked for himself to be tested live infront of cameras. If you want to take cheap shots at people with your flawed assumtions please atleast read about the subject first. People with PHD's have tested him in the lab made him bowl the same speed he bowls in the match and measured turn and bounce as well. Atleast try to build your opinion on the basis of facts, scientific inquiry, and logical principles, independent of any logical fallacies or intellectually limiting effects of confirmation bias, cognitive bias, prejudice and other dogmas.

  • KP_84 on August 8, 2011, 12:34 GMT

    When they still had the services of Shane Warne and Stuart McGill, the then Aus captain Ricky Ponting commended the ICC's tough stance on the doosra, and even suggested that they view the Pakistani spinners' bowling actions very closely. Now Nathan Hauritz has started practising the doosra in a desperate attempt to improve his bowling arsenal. Hypocracy?

  • on August 8, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    Saw Andrew Hall bowl on Sky the other day - looks fine with the naked eye, but a few slow motion shots showed him to have a very bent arm in delivery! Looked about 25 degrees.

  • Proteas123 on August 8, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    @ Meety - You are correct that a lab and playing on the field are completely different enviroments. The players should be tested throughout the match using GPS technology. While Murali and others may have passed in the lab, when under pressure on the field I doubt they would pass at all and certainly Murali would not have achieved the same success.

  • on August 8, 2011, 1:40 GMT

    @swingit Everything is in an process of evolution and nothing is at a standstill including cricket. The cricket played today is not the same as what was played a couple of centuries ago. The key is to be able to differentiate between deliberate throwing and the inevitable and natural flexing of the arm on delivery.

  • on August 8, 2011, 1:18 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 first of all thanks for the almost correct explanation. But it's a bit more complicated than that. Read my other answer below. Since science has proved 99% of all bowlers have some degree of flex in their action isn't is right to conclude that under the old law it was infact impossible to bowl anything? let alone the doosra? Any bowlers in the world would have his accuracy suffered because of wearing a cast over his albow. Again not something remotely isolated to Murali. It's a shame that ICC didn't make the findigs of the report done during the 2004 champions trophy public. Well they did at first and then under huge pressure from the Indian and Australian cricket boards took it back. If anyone has a link to that love to see it.

  • on August 8, 2011, 0:56 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 It is not the elbow but the shoulder getting the wrist of murali's into a position that can deliver the doosra. How many people can tounch their forearm with their thumb? not many. Murali can touch the side of his forearm and front of his forearm with his thumb. Add to this amazing wrist his shoulder joint can almost come out and add a degreee of superhuman rotation to his shoulder. How far back can you turn your elbow back? In one of those tests the medical expert shown how much more flexible murali's joints are. Also search google for 'Hypermobility in cricket'. Research done on it shows Asians have far more flexibility in their joints than caucasians which might explain why the tests at the University of Western Australian by Prof Bruce Elliott has so far found no caucasian bowler who can bowl the doosra under the 15 degree limit while there are plenty of bowlers who have passed their doosra under his testing. @Guvner 99% of ALL bowlers straighten their arm under tests

  • redbrand on August 10, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    How ridiculous are the tests to see if a bowler is legitimate. It's like the police department ringing me and saying "sir, someone has told us you speed when driving, please come down and show us how you drive!". As faulty as that is, end of story.

  • Nav80 on August 8, 2011, 13:13 GMT

    Instead of getting carried away with technicalities, the emphasis should be put on the principle of the rule. Bending of the arm was prohibited to provide some consistency in how people bowled, and to take away the advantages associated with 'throwing' baseball style.

    There was a reason for the rule, and now that we know the 'original' way this rule was defined was 'physically impossible'; we need to try and find a way to preserve the objective of the rule, not the actual word of the rule, without disadvantaging a particular type of bowler (such as Murali).

    It seems the current position of the ICC is the most 'in the spirit' of the rule it has ever been. Perhaps it can be improved further, but we should move on from the 'naked eye' assessment, and the simple 'no bending arm' definition, as we know just how much of a failure such a definition and method of testing is. If anything, such a system only goes to provide certain types of bowlers with an unfair advantage over others...

  • CoolCricketFanatic on August 8, 2011, 13:13 GMT

    Nowadays, Spinners are wearing full-sleeves or 3/4th sleeves purposely to hide their actions while bowling (Harbhajan, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Razzak of Bangladesh, Shoaib Malik, Hafeez, etc.)... And even fast bowlers such as Shoaib Akhatar and Shabir Ahmed used to wear them... It should be made mandatory for all bowlers to wear half-sleeves while bowling, so that the Umpires, match Referees and also the ICC could take proper actions against the offenders of the 15% rule by easily watching them on the slow motion replays...

  • on August 8, 2011, 12:37 GMT

    @Proteas123 what makes you think Murali would have gone beyond the 15 degree rule if he was tested in match conditions when your own Johann Boatha couldn't reproduce the doosra in lab conditions under 15 degrees? The truth is that with the technology available, there is no way to do it in match conditions. If there was Murali would have been the first to ask for it. He is the most tested bowler in cricket history and he willingly participated and even asked for himself to be tested live infront of cameras. If you want to take cheap shots at people with your flawed assumtions please atleast read about the subject first. People with PHD's have tested him in the lab made him bowl the same speed he bowls in the match and measured turn and bounce as well. Atleast try to build your opinion on the basis of facts, scientific inquiry, and logical principles, independent of any logical fallacies or intellectually limiting effects of confirmation bias, cognitive bias, prejudice and other dogmas.

  • KP_84 on August 8, 2011, 12:34 GMT

    When they still had the services of Shane Warne and Stuart McGill, the then Aus captain Ricky Ponting commended the ICC's tough stance on the doosra, and even suggested that they view the Pakistani spinners' bowling actions very closely. Now Nathan Hauritz has started practising the doosra in a desperate attempt to improve his bowling arsenal. Hypocracy?

  • on August 8, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    Saw Andrew Hall bowl on Sky the other day - looks fine with the naked eye, but a few slow motion shots showed him to have a very bent arm in delivery! Looked about 25 degrees.

  • Proteas123 on August 8, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    @ Meety - You are correct that a lab and playing on the field are completely different enviroments. The players should be tested throughout the match using GPS technology. While Murali and others may have passed in the lab, when under pressure on the field I doubt they would pass at all and certainly Murali would not have achieved the same success.

  • on August 8, 2011, 1:40 GMT

    @swingit Everything is in an process of evolution and nothing is at a standstill including cricket. The cricket played today is not the same as what was played a couple of centuries ago. The key is to be able to differentiate between deliberate throwing and the inevitable and natural flexing of the arm on delivery.

  • on August 8, 2011, 1:18 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 first of all thanks for the almost correct explanation. But it's a bit more complicated than that. Read my other answer below. Since science has proved 99% of all bowlers have some degree of flex in their action isn't is right to conclude that under the old law it was infact impossible to bowl anything? let alone the doosra? Any bowlers in the world would have his accuracy suffered because of wearing a cast over his albow. Again not something remotely isolated to Murali. It's a shame that ICC didn't make the findigs of the report done during the 2004 champions trophy public. Well they did at first and then under huge pressure from the Indian and Australian cricket boards took it back. If anyone has a link to that love to see it.

  • on August 8, 2011, 0:56 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 It is not the elbow but the shoulder getting the wrist of murali's into a position that can deliver the doosra. How many people can tounch their forearm with their thumb? not many. Murali can touch the side of his forearm and front of his forearm with his thumb. Add to this amazing wrist his shoulder joint can almost come out and add a degreee of superhuman rotation to his shoulder. How far back can you turn your elbow back? In one of those tests the medical expert shown how much more flexible murali's joints are. Also search google for 'Hypermobility in cricket'. Research done on it shows Asians have far more flexibility in their joints than caucasians which might explain why the tests at the University of Western Australian by Prof Bruce Elliott has so far found no caucasian bowler who can bowl the doosra under the 15 degree limit while there are plenty of bowlers who have passed their doosra under his testing. @Guvner 99% of ALL bowlers straighten their arm under tests

  • on August 7, 2011, 23:47 GMT

    Excellent article of interest to those who have given some thought to the matter. The chucking law originated probably to prevent deliberate throwing by fast bowlers to gain extra pace like a fielder would throw the ball in from the outfield. In delivering a cricket ball the arm acts like a linkage with three joints: the shoulder, elbow and wrist.Six if you include ankle, knee and hip too.This is somewhat like hitting something with a ball at the end of a chain. In applying the force on the cricket ball, there is natural flexing in the middle joint, the elbow, the other two joints being flexed deliberately. It is not impossible to deliver the ball without the elbow flexing provided you have it in a brace as Murali demonstrated. For a spinner, particularly a wrist spinner to deliberately bend the elbow and maintain any accuracy would be almost impossible as he has to co-ordinate and synchronize the elbow movement and the wrist. The wrist flip itself is a tall order.

  • Meety on August 7, 2011, 23:30 GMT

    @ Markdal - my scenario was only born out of thinking Umpire's had no match control on chucking - that's been clarified. -- -- -- I have ALWAYS liked Murali - & I accept that the laws have been adjusted & given a tolerance to unique bowling actions. To me the biggest doubt I ever had over the testing of Murali & others is that the testing is basically in a lab & not out on the field during important matches. The trick with the Doosra is to fool batsmen into thinking its a normal delivery. In testing that deception is no longer relevant. Not alluding to cheating during the tests, just saying its a sterile environment & leaves some doubts to the validity.

  • ygkd on August 7, 2011, 22:13 GMT

    I watched an international batsman slowly bowl in a County T20 the other day and his arm seemed (to me at least) visibly bent about every ball. Once upon a time an umpire may have had something to say. My concern is that umpires are frightened to act now. I'm not trying to impune Murali or his record: I have the greatest respect for him and believe the game would have been lesser for his absence. Yet the game has to get this whole matter sorted. What I saw in that T20 didn't look right. I'm not against measurements: I think they're a good idea as the Murali case has proved. But will the checking-process quickly act on part-time limited-over bowlers or will they slip through the net?

  • Guvner on August 7, 2011, 17:17 GMT

    I agree with lucy6m. I can bowl a real good fast ball without bending the arm. I think they mean bowling a spin delivery the arm bends. It has to bend when you bowl spin.

  • Swingit on August 7, 2011, 16:55 GMT

    @Chris_Howard what is the big deal about chucking you say? Well what is the big deal about any rule in cricket? If we do away with all traditional rules of the game then why even call it cricket? Just invent a new game. Chucking is despicable! I agree that the game is too much in favor of batsmen but lets no legalize chucking to even things out. How about preparing sporting pitches instead!! Oh and please dont compare baseball pitchers to cricket bowlers (I am a long time fan and follower of baseball as well). Baseball pitchers STAND IN ONE SPOT and wind up to "chuck" so that is why their speeds only reach 100-105 mph. Can you imagine if Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan or Roger Clemons in their peak could get a running start the the length of even a spinner's run up and deliver their missiles? They would pitch at 150 MPH! Give them a Michael Holding run up and guys like Mitch "Wild thing" Williams or Aroldis Chapman would kill people in the stands far less the hitter/batsmen facing them.

  • yorkshire-86 on August 7, 2011, 16:54 GMT

    It is possible for an offspinner to make it spin the other way with a straight arm, by using the wrist instead of the fingers (effectivly bowling a legspinner). However a 'doosra' in its truest form is bowled with the fingers - and the natural action of turning the fingers backwardsdoes indeed straighten the arm. It is possible to avoid this by bowling with a totally locked elbow, but the bowler will have very little control over where the ball pitches doing this, and the insides of his elbow will be wrecked after less than one over! As for the brace, the reason Murali (or anyone) can bowl a doosra straightarmed with a brace is the brace acts as a support for the joint, enabling the bowler to bowl with a locked elbow without destroying his elbow. Murali in those tests was not bowling at a real batsmen trying to score off him, when in reality his accuracy, and therfore his figures, would REALLY suffer if he bowled that way.

  • sureshshankar on August 7, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    Scientific measurment will always speak more truth than the naked eye... Enough said.

  • on August 7, 2011, 16:36 GMT

    At about 20% Ian Pont (now Hollands coach) has shown that even dummies who have not bowled before can put doen 90 MPH deliveries with barely a days tuition.

    People who are already quck bowlers can "throw" well in excess of 100mph. It allows the bicep and forearm to become active contributors to a balls speed. AN analogy would be the speed of swimming the backstroke (back and wrist with minimum halp from forearm and bicep) with swimming crawl. An 18% speed increase (20.91 to 24.4 I think) So we would soon have lots of 105-110 MPH bowlers. Also guys who could back spin the ball so hard they could get it to "stop" on the pitch and come back towards the bowler (!!)

  • NALINWIJ on August 7, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    Laws against chucking were meant to prevent pace bowlers gaining extra pace illegally. They did it occasionally and umpires only suspected bowlers with awkward bowling actions. Ian Meckiff the Aussie paceman in the 50s with a fixed flexion deformity like murali was no balled out of the game. The scientific flaw in umpires judging illegal movement at elbow joint is that it should be done from the side not from behind where the umpires stand.The studies on Murali proved this and we realise that all bowlers do extend at the elbow joint to a small degree and a 15 degree rule is accepted. The only solution to this dilemma is to develop laterally placed cameras that can judge the movements that is conveyed to the third umpire who has the right to veto a dismissal but given the complexity of this method the benefit of doubt should go to the bowler.

  • Cricketer2010 on August 7, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    balanced article however, the ppl who plays and understand cricket well, can understand that if leg spinner is allowed with a googly then why offspinner should not be allowed googly. when a leg spinner bowls an off spin without changing his action much its called googly......if he will bowl off spin with an off spinner action then thats not a googly and batsman will read it immediately. in the same way Doosra will be at its best when batsman can not read the change in action otherwise its of no use.

  • Chris_Howard on August 7, 2011, 12:48 GMT

    hat's the big deal over "chucking" anyways??? What advantage does it give the bowler? Bowlers are always looking for tricks to get an advantage over batsmen. Consider just a fast bowler, he will try to develop in-swing, out-swing, reverse-swing, late-swing, off-cutter, leg-cutter, bouncer, yorker, slow-ball etc etc etc. Whether he bends his arm 0 degrees or 20 degrees is not going to make any difference to what ball he is trying to bowl. He'll still be trying to do something to deceive the batsman. That's what it's all about. Even if he runs in and pitches it baseball style, it's not going to give him any advantage. I think there was a fear that a person could pitch a ball faster than they could bowl it. However, the fastest ever MLB pitch is still only 105mph, just a few mph faster than Shoaib, Thommo or Lee. In the course of cricket history, batsmen have benefited from technological gains e.g. bats with bigger sweet spots,; but bowlers still have to rely on skill to control the ball

  • Zat. on August 7, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    "Some of the cleanest bowlers from the past seemed to have been flexing their elbows beyond the limit" and yet, here we are, the best part of a decade later and the reports that 'seemed' to 'prove' the clean bowlers flexed their elbows have not been released. Was it an enormous cover up?

    The way the ICC handled the whole affair was disgraceful, and is still a blight on the game today.

  • Markdal on August 7, 2011, 10:25 GMT

    I'm happy to be called an 'expert' in this article, because I'm one who knows that a 'doosra' cannot be propelled without 'chucking'! Guys, I'm an umpire of long standing. The conditions (NOT the Laws) now read that an umpire can only call a bowler if it is a deliberate throw, not because of a suspect action. So Meety, the instance you described can only happen if the umpires are reeeeaaalllyy bad. Fact is, bowling has evolved over the years because of players 'pushing the envelope'. From underarm to roundarm to overarm, they were all forced because bowlers were doing them anyway. I'm not condoning chucking, not for one minute. I'm just saying that what is happening now is a natural progression to get wickets as tracks become increasingly flatter. It goes hand-in-hand with ball-tampering in that it is borne out of frustration.

  • on August 7, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    "experts reckon cannot be bowled without chucking" so Mr. Monga how did Murali bowl the doosra with a brace on then?

  • on August 7, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    lucy6m.... try bowling your deliveries with the same rhythm as a bowler. you will realise it is not possible without straightening.

  • CricketPissek on August 7, 2011, 8:33 GMT

    @lucy6m - have you had bio mechanical analysis done on your arm when you bowl? if not, you're not in a position to make that comment. michael holding, ian botham, and glen mcgrath no doubt like you believe they had a 100% straight arm when bowling, but analysis shows they did not. this article is actually probably the most balanced and unbiased one i've read regarding this subject. (esp after the correction re: umpire retaining power). Sidharth Monga and Cricinfo should be applauded for it. This will always be a grey area and there will be passionate debates about it. Shame that most of it ends up in bitter, petty, and sometimes racist remarks!

  • on August 7, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    Saqlain bowled the doosra with a clean action.

  • lucy6m on August 7, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    erm - "physically impossible" to bowl without flexing the elbow? there must be something wrong with my arms cos i can do it easily. i may not be the fastest, but its 100% straight arm all the way!

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on August 7, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    @reynard, if the law had not been changed, there would literally be no bowlers around, (which would have made the BCCI happy, but for the rest of us, not so much). Even Glenn McGrath flexed his arm beyond 10 degrees.

  • reynard on August 7, 2011, 6:47 GMT

    this law is a disgrace. it should never have been changed and the umpires should have received the full support of the ICC immediately.

  • Cricinfo-Editorial on August 7, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    Thanks D.V.C and Meety for your comments. What you say is correct. Accordingly changes have been made in the article

  • Meety on August 7, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    @D.V.C - I'm with you, I thought the Umpire retained some control. What is to stop somebody getting away with ONE wicket from a deliberate chuck. I'm not saying a frontline bowler, what about a part timer like Clarke, or Yurav. Tense situation - need a wicket CHUCK, ball rips - batsmen out. The batting side collapses, (maybe). A worry.

  • chandau on August 7, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    15 degrees is meant to correspond to the degree of bending visible to a human observer in real time, so there is no reason not to call someone who has clearly pitched the ball like a baseballer.

    @ DVC: hmmm interesting observation. I have watched countless baseball matches mate and i'm yet to see a single pitcher do it overarm :) may be u can recall an instance in MLB history over the last 20 years LOL also i have seen a few cricket matches and i have not seen anyone bowl sidearm like a baseball pitcher:) although of late Malinga (SL) Tait (Aus) and a fast bowler from WI have bowled with slinging actions. hmmmm some people think .... LMFAO

  • on August 7, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    Bowlers who bowl beamers should be called for chucking. Two in a row and you are out for the rest of the innings.

  • D.V.C. on August 7, 2011, 3:02 GMT

    I'm sorry, but I didn't get past the second paragraph. In every other article I've read, it says that the umpires retain the ability to call a no ball for throwing. Anything that is suspicious is to be reported, and the steps you mention undertaken, but "the most obvious chuckers" can be called on the spot.

    15 degrees is meant to correspond to the degree of bending visible to a human observer in real time, so there is no reason not to call someone who has clearly pitched the ball like a baseballer.

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  • D.V.C. on August 7, 2011, 3:02 GMT

    I'm sorry, but I didn't get past the second paragraph. In every other article I've read, it says that the umpires retain the ability to call a no ball for throwing. Anything that is suspicious is to be reported, and the steps you mention undertaken, but "the most obvious chuckers" can be called on the spot.

    15 degrees is meant to correspond to the degree of bending visible to a human observer in real time, so there is no reason not to call someone who has clearly pitched the ball like a baseballer.

  • on August 7, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    Bowlers who bowl beamers should be called for chucking. Two in a row and you are out for the rest of the innings.

  • chandau on August 7, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    15 degrees is meant to correspond to the degree of bending visible to a human observer in real time, so there is no reason not to call someone who has clearly pitched the ball like a baseballer.

    @ DVC: hmmm interesting observation. I have watched countless baseball matches mate and i'm yet to see a single pitcher do it overarm :) may be u can recall an instance in MLB history over the last 20 years LOL also i have seen a few cricket matches and i have not seen anyone bowl sidearm like a baseball pitcher:) although of late Malinga (SL) Tait (Aus) and a fast bowler from WI have bowled with slinging actions. hmmmm some people think .... LMFAO

  • Meety on August 7, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    @D.V.C - I'm with you, I thought the Umpire retained some control. What is to stop somebody getting away with ONE wicket from a deliberate chuck. I'm not saying a frontline bowler, what about a part timer like Clarke, or Yurav. Tense situation - need a wicket CHUCK, ball rips - batsmen out. The batting side collapses, (maybe). A worry.

  • Cricinfo-Editorial on August 7, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    Thanks D.V.C and Meety for your comments. What you say is correct. Accordingly changes have been made in the article

  • reynard on August 7, 2011, 6:47 GMT

    this law is a disgrace. it should never have been changed and the umpires should have received the full support of the ICC immediately.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on August 7, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    @reynard, if the law had not been changed, there would literally be no bowlers around, (which would have made the BCCI happy, but for the rest of us, not so much). Even Glenn McGrath flexed his arm beyond 10 degrees.

  • lucy6m on August 7, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    erm - "physically impossible" to bowl without flexing the elbow? there must be something wrong with my arms cos i can do it easily. i may not be the fastest, but its 100% straight arm all the way!

  • on August 7, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    Saqlain bowled the doosra with a clean action.

  • CricketPissek on August 7, 2011, 8:33 GMT

    @lucy6m - have you had bio mechanical analysis done on your arm when you bowl? if not, you're not in a position to make that comment. michael holding, ian botham, and glen mcgrath no doubt like you believe they had a 100% straight arm when bowling, but analysis shows they did not. this article is actually probably the most balanced and unbiased one i've read regarding this subject. (esp after the correction re: umpire retaining power). Sidharth Monga and Cricinfo should be applauded for it. This will always be a grey area and there will be passionate debates about it. Shame that most of it ends up in bitter, petty, and sometimes racist remarks!