Kaymo's Korner: Of chucking, long sleeves and bending the rules

2014-04-07 10:00

The New Zealand vs Sri Lanka World T20 clash was an intriguing affair in which the Sri Lankan spinners strangled the life out of the Kiwis in a crunch game.

It made for fascinating viewing but it has been a tournament where tweakers, especially of the orthodox type, have made the most of the friendly conditions.

But it was difficult to ignore Jonathan “Aggers” Agnew’s tweets during Sri Lankan Sachithra Senanayake’s spell in the 12th over, which saw New Zealand’s calamitous collapse.

There have always been quiet murmurs about chucking and spinners bowling with long sleeves but these 140-word messages summed up the sentiment going around in cricket circles.

Spinners are allowed to flex their arms up to 15?degrees but to the naked eye, that plane has been overextended.

“Sorry?...?but Senanayake has blatantly thrown that one” was followed by: “He is not the only one in the tournament. All spinners.”

Aggers is a veteran first-class cricketer-turned-scribe and even though he’s English, and will therefore castigate anything that veers remotely from the Marylebone Cricket Club manual, he made a very valid point about the flagrant pushing against the rules in the knowledge there would be little or no retribution.

While not championing the need to flex elbows, chucking, especially among spinners, has become as brazen as the Stander bank robberies of the 1980s.

Unfortunately, there is no point asking the international cricket cohorts to do anything about that. All they are interested in is policing logos and over-rate offences.

The spectacle that is unorthodox slow bowling is a marvel to watchand some countries take to it more than others.

But that doesn’t mean bowlers now need braces to ensure their deliveries are sent down legally.

And it’s not about attacking the subcontinent because they are the ones that often feature the bent-arm deliveries – but there needs to be some sort of censure.

Often, it’s the marginal offenders who have the book thrown at them. When you have Senanayake, Mohammad Hafeez and Saeed Ajmal flexing past 15?degrees without

the need for examination at the University of Western Australia’s biomechanics laboratory, you have to feel for the likes of Johan Botha, Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels.

They were rightly punished but wrongly made scapegoats while the biggest s(p)inners are still going about their business quite freely.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has burned its fingers when it comes to dealing with alleged chuckers. Muttiah Muralitharan, even though his action was deemed “diabolical” by the hell-raising Australian umpire Darrell Hair, was a special case with his double-jointed elbow.

The rest don’t seem to have a case to defend. This is not a call to arms for a chucking witch-hunt similar to the one in the early 1960s that ended careers, but a blind eye does seem to have been turned.

The last thing the ICC wants is to incur the wrath of the Asian nations. They are the game’s biggest market and the last thing the ICC wants is to burn that bridge.

When the rules are bent, it forever skews the playing fields. And as much as the subcontinent’s teams are the purveyors of the weird and wonderful in world cricket, how long will they get away with it?

Then again, with the ICC eerily silent on Narayanaswami Srinivasan and the Indian Premier League match-fixing scandal, don’t expect them to worry about chucking.

Perhaps long sleeves should be banned.

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