Indian spinner Shiva Singh causes controversy by turning 360 degrees in his run-up before delivery
Umpires in India have nipped a new style of delivery in the bud, refusing to allow a spinner to do a 360-degree twirl before releasing the ball as usual.
The incident has triggered debate online over whether the delivery should be legal.
Singh, a 19-year-old slow left arm bowler for the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, has also played for India’s national under-19 team.
He was playing against Bengal in the CK Nayudu Trophy — a four-day domestic tournament for under-23s — when he ran in to bowl.
Just prior to delivery as he completed his run-up, Singh turned a full 360 degrees, before releasing the ball with his left arm to the right-handed batsman. The ball pitched just wide of leg stump and the batsman blocked it out on the leg side.
Umpire Vinod Seshan, however, immediately waved the play off, declaring it a dead ball.
Singh questioned the umpire’s call, but after a discussion with his fellow umpire Ravi Shankar, Seshan reportedly told the Uttar Pradesh team’s captain Shivam Chaudhary that any further deliveries like the first one would also be called a dead ball.
Singh later told Cricinfo that he had bowled in the same manner in T20 and one-day competitions and that it had not resulted in dead balls being called.
Former spinner Bishan Bedi — another slow left-arm orthodox bowler, who took 266 Test wickets for India in the 1960s and 1970s — was succinct in summing up Singh’s performance, tweeting “Weirdo…!!”.
But former England captain Michael Vaughan posted saying he saw nothing wrong with delivery.
Vaughan joked about Singh’s decision to twirl, referencing Len Goodman — a judge on England’s version of Dancing With The Stars — by ending his tweet “#Itsa10fromLen”.
Michael Vaughan tweet: Love this … We keep saying bowlers must bring new innovation … No issue at all with this … #Itsa10fromLen
The MCC, the custodian of the rules of cricket, weighed in with a post on its laws blog, referring to rule 41 which deals with unfair play.
41.4.1 It is unfair for any fielder deliberately to attempt to distract the striker while he/she is preparing to receive or receiving a delivery.
41.4.2 If either umpire considers that any action by a fielder is such an attempt, he/she shall immediately call and signal dead ball and inform the other umpire of the reason for the call.
“The law states that the offence is the attempt to distract the batsman, rather than the striker actually being distracted. Consequently, it was for the umpire to decide if he felt that the tactic was done as an attempt to distract the striker,” the MCC laws department said in the post.
“Unless the 360-degree twirl was part of the bowler’s run-up for every ball, the umpire may need to consider whether he/she feels that the twirl was done in an attempt to distract the batsman in some way.
“This is particularly so if there was no apparent advantage to be gained from the twirl, unlike, for example, the bowler varying the width of the release point or the length of his/her run-up, which are entirely lawful.”
Some cricket fans raised the comparison of batsmen’s ability to switch-hit, changing their stance from right-handed to left-handed or vice-versa, without drawing the umpire’s criticism.
Aayush Sharma tweet: If AB de Villiers 360 deg strokeplay is hailed as perfection then why Shiva Singh’s 360 deg while bowling doesn’t even considered as fair? @BCCI @ICC @ABdeVilliers17
Former Australian spin bowler and bowling coach Peter Sleep said he thought the tactic was “pushing the line”.
“If you have to go that far to get a batsman out, then I think the game is going the wrong way,” he said.
“If you were going to do it every ball, it might be a different story, but when it’s a one-off, I think that makes it a bit too difficult — I don’t really think that’s in the spirit of the game.”