Ever wondered why Off spinners are commonly reported for throwing (chucking) -Starting from spin legend Murli, to Saeed Ajmal and now Sunil Narine?

Last two months have been controversial. Bowlers across the world were reported back to back for their illegal action in the biomechanical test. It all started in July when Sri Lankan off spinner Sachithra Senanayake was reported for throwing. The latest to join this club is West Indies’ and Kolkata Knight Riders‘ mystery spinner Sunil Narine!

sunil narine off spinner throwing kkr1 Is Being An Off Spinner A Curse in Cricket?

History of Throwing

Throwing or chucking is not so uncommon in the game of cricket. This illegal action find its place right from the very existence of Cricket, the gentleman’s game. The first person reported for throwing was Australia’s Ernie Jones. He was banned in the year 1898 roughly 21 years after the First Test match was played in 1877.

Scrolling down the timeline, we see the 4th person to be reported for illegal bowling action was India’s Madhusudan Rege. An off spinner, he was called for throwing  in a match played between Maharashtra and MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) in 1951.

If you check the records majority of the bowlers charged or reported for chucking have been off spinners. From July to September, look at all the seven players who were condemned for their action – Sachithra Senanayake (Sri Lanka), Kane Williamson (New Zealand), Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan), Adnan Rasool (Lahore Lions, Pakistan) Mohammad Hafeez (Pakistan), Prenelan Subrayen (Dolphins, South Africa) till the latest suspect Sunil Narine (KKR, West Indies)  

Kane Williamson 1off spinner banned throwing Is Being An Off Spinner A Curse in Cricket?

Besides, big names such as Muttiah Muralitharan (SL), Kumar Dharmasena (SL), Shoaib Malik (PAK), Harbhajan Singh (IND), and Shane Shillingford (WI) along with Sohag Gazi (BAN), Marlon Samuels (WI), Prosper Utseya (ZIM) and Johan Botha (SA) occupies a place in this Black list.

What is common between them? Well, every player seems to be an off spinner. And unfortunately, the list of banned bowlers includes maximum number of off spinners 

Ever Wondered – 

Why Majority of the Chuckers are Off Spinners or Why off spinners are more prone to  ‘Throwing’? 

As per the latest ICC rule, while delivering a bowl, a bowler cannot straighten his elbow more than 15 degrees after it passes the shoulder. Now, off spinners are the ones who do not follow the traditional bowling techniques but tend to practice non classical actions like doosra (a off spinner’s googly), something which was invented by Pakistan’s off spinner Saqlain Mushtaq in the mid 90s.

Muttiah Muralitharan off spinner doosra throwing Is Being An Off Spinner A Curse in Cricket?

According to the experts, doosra cannot be delivered without actually throwing the ball. But, then there are players especially off spinners, who call ‘their googly’  an art. Cricket expert Bishen Singh Bedi and Australian coaches see ‘doosra’ as an act of cheating. On the contrary, the Smiling Assassin Murali Muralitharan calls doosra, a skill.

Perhaps that is the reason why off spinners who have bowled doosra, a non-classical delivery have regularly been reported and investigated for throwing, including good bowlers like Shoaib Malik, Harbhajan Singh, Marlon Samuels, Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal, Shane Shillingford and Johan Botha.

Makes me wonder if being an off spinner is really a curse in the modern day high tech Cricket? But then, if it really is – why the traditional Australians enrolled the master off spinner Murali as their specialist coach??? 

Image Source: Sunil Narine, Kane Williamson, Murli

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