Here is the thing about “chucking” — all said, all done, the bowler is either deliberately or accidentally deriving an unfair advantage with his delivery.
Flexing the elbow a tad too much permits him to get that little additional torque into his ball — that bit extra bite and turn, that little bit of extra bounce, whatever. It is all about getting that little bit extra which the rules do not permit you to get.
And that is all chucking is, really. Just like say a no-ball. What happens with a no-ball? The bowler gets an unfair advantage — he is that fraction closer to the batsman at the point of delivery or, put differently, he has shortened the length the ball has to traverse by that fraction.
You could argue that unless the bowler’s front foot is a foot over the line, such an infraction does not count, but then you fall into the trap of degree. Also, you ignore the fact that cricket is finally about degrees: a degree can make the difference between the middle of the bat and the edge, or between getting to the pitch or being a tad short and putting your drive up in the air for the fielder to hold.
If you go with the argument that chucking and no-balling are fundamentally akin — both give the bowler an advantage the rules do not permit — then the rest is easy.
What do you do when a bowler over-steps? You don’t convert it into a scientific experiment with biometric experts and all of that. You simply call the no-ball, add a run by way of penalty to the batting side, and an additional legal delivery to the bowler’s workload, and that is that.
In other words, the foul — and whether it is a check or a no-ball, that is all it is, a foul — happens on the field of play. You deal with it there, and you move on.
You can deal with chucking the exact same way. If the umpire on the field thinks the bowler flexed his elbow a bit too much, he can call it a no-ball (or some other term denoting an illegal flex), penalize the bowler with an extra delivery to bowl, add a run to the batting side, and that is that.
Imagine how much simpler life would be. On second thoughts, if life were simple, what would the ICC’s Cricket Committee do to justify its existence,
The ICC’s Cricket Committee, by the way, has a lot of members. A lot.
Anil Kumble is fhairman. There are two ex-officio chairmen as well. There are former captains Mark Taylor and Andrew Strauss as players’ representatives. Kumar Sangakkara and L Sivaramakrishnan are listed as ‘Current Player Representatives’…
Oh, wait — how is Sivaramakrishnan representing ‘current players’?Put that down in the list of unsolvable mysteries of the Srinivasan era…
So as I was saying, there are all those guys and there are two ‘coaches representatives’ (Darren Lehmann and Otis Gibson); a ‘media representative’ (Ravi Shastri, but of course), an umpire’s representative (Steve Davis), a referee’s representative (Ranjan Madugalle), an MCC representative (John Stephenson) and a statistician representative (David Kendrix).
That is a lot of members, a lot of representation. And they all met in Bangalore recently, and came up with this:
The opening paragraph of the story is itself illuminating:
The ICC’s cricket committee has stated that the methods currently in use to detect illegal bowling actions are imperfect. The committee, which discussed the issue during a two-day meeting in Bangalore on June 3 and 4, said that numerous international bowlers with “suspect” actions were continuing to bowl undetected, and hence it was important that match officials get support from biomechanists to identify the illegal actions with “more confidence”.
The methods are imperfect? Wait — whose methods are these? The ICC’s — an earlier cricket committee had decided upon it. So when the ICC says “methods are imperfect”, it is more accurately phrased as “We screwed up”, no?
But the real jaw-dropper is this: The ICC says in order to reduce suspect actions, match officials must get support from biomechanists.
Wrong — match officials need support from the ICC. Not some scientist.
If I bowl with a suspect action in a match, asking me some two weeks later to bowl under controlled, monitored conditions with wires stuck to my arms and things is of no use — of course I am going to be careful during such an examination.
The problem is not whether biomechanists can determine degree of flex. The problem really is, are umpires empowered to call suspect actions without fear of reprisal?
And the answer to that is, no — since the Darrell Hair episode, umpires have had to be ultra-conscious of calling, because teams have made “chucking” an international issue. Remember how it was with Murali? A whole battalion of lawyers turned up to confront Hair over the chucking call. Since then, the pattern has repeated itself — if a bowler’s action is deemed suspect, the nation in question converts it into an issue of prestige, wheels out high-priced lawyers, makes a circus out of the whole thing.
The result is, the umpire thinks hey, why am I sticking my neck out here? Why land myself in the middle of an international fuss?
That is the single biggest reason why, in the ICC’s own estimation, “numerous” bowlers today have suspect actions: not because we don’t have enough biomechanists, but because we don’t have a system where umpires are allowed to do their job without fear.
Trent Boult praises his pet puppy for fetching the ball
George having dinner with Virender Sehwag and Kings XI coach Sanjay Bangar
Neighbourgoods Market Cape Town
The hot husband, my best accessory this week in Cape Town
This evening I have mostly been learning how to make gifs. (And then how to make them smaller. Bah.)
It’s amazing how flirty you can make a press conference look, if you try.
(1st Ashes Test 2013; source.)
The Hobart Hurricanes boys having some fun in the water.
Baseball may be Japan’s most popular sport but cricket actually goes back further — in 1863 British merchants and naval officers played a tense match in Yokohama, revolvers tucked in trousers to protect them from rampaging assassins with orders to chop off their heads.
AB & Danielle de Villiers