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Chucking has become part and parcel of cricket

In a gentleman’s game of cricket chucking has become a part and parcel of the present day cricket. The game of cricket should be played by fair means and there is no scope for having an illegal bowling action to get an additional advantage against batsman. Umpires are the final judges of fair and unfair play. And Law 24 deals with ‘No ball” for chucking.

Here is the law:- Fair delivery – the arm
For a delivery to be fair in respect of the arm the ball must not be thrown. Although it is the primary responsibility of the striker’s end umpire to assess the fairness of a delivery in this respect, there is nothing in this Law to debar the bowler’s end umpire from calling and signalling No ball if he considers that the ball has been thrown. If, in the opinion of either umpire, the ball has been thrown, he shall call and signal No ball and, when the ball is dead, inform the other umpire of the reason for the call and the matter referred to the authorities available in the ground at the lower level and to the match referee at the highest level of the game.

It is notable that 55 Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has released a list of suspended players for chucking. That these suspended players cannot participate in any MCA Tournament as of now till a decision is made after rehabilitation measures undergone by these players and fair enough to bowl again at the competitive level. MCA has taken the complaints received in this regard rather seriously and made the bowlers to suffer for their undoing in the field of play. The number is too many and it is a blot on MCA, the head quarters of Indian cricket. After the crackdown on overage players, MCA has taken another bold step to unearth bowlers, who are having suspicious action and still playing in local cricket.

The main problem with these bowlers having a dubious action is that the coaches responsible for training these wards pass on a word to chuck odd ball to get undue advantage and thereby remain in the limelight as a wicket taking bowler. The blacklisted players should take the game rather seriously and should not give scope for suspect action any more to be called for chucking for second time.

In the cricketing history in December 1963, Ian MeKiff suffered the fate when he was called for throwing in the First Test against South Africa by Australian umpire Col Egar and his career ended sensationally after that episode. Muthiah Muralidharan was called for chucking by umpire Darrell Hair in the field of play in the year 1995 during the Boxing day test match between Sri Lanka and Australia. Later on number of players got marching orders not by the field umpires as the matter was then reported to match referee to take further action. India faced such a situation, when the oldest surviving Indian spinners Chandu Borde was called for chucking. Later on Rajesh Chouhan, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha all suffered for having resorted to illegal bowling action. The second named player was referred for chucking three times and sent for rehabilitation. In the ongoing IPL 10 even the action of Lasit Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah are highly suspicious as they gain maximum force by balling illegal deliveries and getting useful wickets in the slog overs.

Mumbai Cricket Association has taken a drastic step to get rid of chuckers in local cricket. It is time to catch hold of bowlers with suspicious action or else they will be selected and deprive another bowler with a genuine action. More over by using the arm to undercut the ball like the sling bowling of Malinga the batsman may get hurt due to extra pace achieved through illegal bowling. The umpires should be rather strict in this count rather than taking it lightly.  The coaches should instruct their wards to stand before a full size mirror and perfect their actions in a shadow image rather than being called in the field of play. After all the game is to be played in all fairness governed by the ICC Cricketing Laws and the players should abide by that and avoid chucking once for all.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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