Chucking 101: The Essential Guide to Understanding Chucking in Cricket

Sunil Narine was recently reported for a suspect action bowling action making him the 4th high profile off-spinner to come under the scanner in recent weeks after Saeed Ajmal, Mohammed Hafeez, and Senanayake.

The tweet we sent out on the subject elicited two responses that pretty much capture all facts and fallacies related to chucking in cricket.


The dictionary describes chucking as, essentially, throwing. Like…throwing a rock..or pitching a baseball. It involves 2 acts.

1. Bending of the arm.

2. Straightening it at the point of release.

It’s the combination of both at high speed that generates the extra force required to beat the batsman. Much like this slo-mo of a baseball pitch given below.

In cricket, by straightening the arm at the point of release off-spinners can generate torque – another kind of force really – that helps them get more revolutions on the ball. And, thereby, more spin after it lands.

Which brings us to the other tweet.


Chucking is not a static act. It’s an act of motion. You can’t judge it by looking at a still picture.

If the bowler keeps his arm bent throughout, including when releasing the ball, it’s a legal delivery. Leg spinners do this quite often. Off-spinners like Rajesh Chauhan made a career out of bowling with a bent arm that never straightened.

The Doosra

The ‘doosra’ is a strange beast. For the uninitiated, ‘doosra’ literally means ‘the other one’. It came to be known thus because that’s the word Moin Khan would use to hint to Saqlain Mushtaq to bowl the other one to fox the batsman.

The doosra almost defies physics to move the other way and, hence, is very difficult to bowl. It’s almost impossible to bowl it without the extra torque that comes with straightening the arm. That’s what makes Saqlain Mushtaq so special. In the video below, you can notice that he bends his arm but he doesn’t seem to straighten it. As Moin Khan would say, ‘Well balled Suckey’.

The Murali conundrum

Muttiah Muralitharan posed a unique problem. His arm, apparently, is naturally bent. So he can’t straighten it at all. This argument was successfully used in his defence.

Now, torque is generated because the arm rotates around a pivot. In most cases it happens when we straighten our arm. For Murali it happens when his arm reaches its maximum straightening capacity. The jerky movement of the arm at the point of release of the ball generates the torque, which helps Murali get more revs on the ball. In my opinion, it’s no more legal than Saeed Ajmal’s or Sunil Narine’s.

Chucking 101

If you’re still confused, this YouTube video by Duncan Taylor will clear all your confusion about chucking. Watch it!

Brief history of anti-chucking laws

Recent advances in bio-mechanical studies showed us that it was humanly impossible to bowl a delivery without some amount of flex. The sort of flex the naked eye cannot catch. Cricket rules were changed to accommodate this and the degree of straightening the arm was set at 10 degrees for fast bowlers, 7.5 for medium pacers, and 5 for spinners.

In 2004, this was changed and made uniform for all bowlers to 15 degrees.

Saeed Ajmal misread it as 45 degrees!

One thought on “Chucking 101: The Essential Guide to Understanding Chucking in Cricket


    Current regulations of the International Cricket Council (ICC) set the
    legal limit of 15 degrees of permissible straightening of the elbow
    joint for all bowlers in international cricket. This law applies
    between the point at which the bowling arm passes above shoulder
    height and the point at which the ball is released. The limit is to
    allow some natural flexing of the elbow joint which happens during the
    course of legal delivery. The charge of ‘throwing’ against a bowler is
    one of the most serious and controversial that can be made in cricket,
    as a bowler with an illegal action cannot dismiss a batsman. This
    means the player cannot effectively participate in the game, and may
    not be selected again without significant change to the way they bowl.

    Saeed Ajmal is one more off-spinner in the thick of controversy as he
    is banned from bowling after being found possessing an illegal bowling
    method. He is not the first bowler to face such a situation in
    International cricket. But other off spinners escaped severe
    punishment and escaped with lighter warning and just asked
    rehabilitate and brought back to bowling at the highest level. In
    recent times Shane Shillingford of West Indies, Sachitra Senanayake of
    Sri Lanka, Kane Williamson of New Zealand, Prosper Utseya and Sohag
    Gazi of Bangladesh have been reported to the ICC for suspect bowling
    action. In the past both Muralidharan and Harbhajan Singh had a very
    tough time dealing with ICC. Murali was called for throwing during
    the match but better council prevailed thereafter to allow him
    continue playing. Harbhajan Singh was reported to the ICC for suspect
    action, most by a bowler so far. Mural created record number of
    wickets and Harbhajan Singh accounted for more than 400 wickets with
    their dubious actions still survived for a longer period. If Saeed
    Ajmal is deprived of bowling for a longer duration and his record
    number of wickets are erased from Test history, then the same case is
    applicable to both Harbhajan Singh and Muralidharan. Bedi called
    Murali a javelin thrower and the same applicable to both Saeed Ajmal
    and offie Harbhajan Singh. Banning bowlers with dubious action is a
    right step or else such bowlers reap a rich harvest of wickets with
    suspect action for a very long time and even account for hat-trick of
    wickets. It is better to call the bowler for chucking inside the field
    rather than making it a close secret.

    With West Indies tour to India is due within a fortnight, we have seen
    Sunil Narine being reported for suspect bowling action by the two
    field umpired from India. This appears to be a ploy to negate the
    nagging line and length of Narine in the upcoming series. Already
    Chis Gayle is not coming to India due to an injury and now West Indies
    fate is sealed only to help out Team India to sail smoothly in the one
    day series and remain top of the table for some more time. Knight
    Riders off spinner Sunil Narine has been reported for a suspected
    illegal bowling action following his side’s 36-run win over Dolphins
    in the Champions League Twenty 20 Group A match. The charge was laid
    by on-field umpires Anil Chaudhary and Chettihody Shamshuddin (both
    from India) along with third umpire Kumar Dharmasena and specifically
    relates to Narine’s quicker ball. Under CLT20 guidelines, Narine may
    request for an official assessment from the BCCI’s suspect bowling
    action committee. Narine has been placed on the tournament’s ‘warning
    list’ but will still be able to play. However, if he is reported again
    while still on the warning list, he will be suspended from bowling for
    the remainder of the tournament. We try to achieve our objectives
    even before a ball being bowled against the Caribbean Islands. Sunil
    Narine’s future now lies in the hands of BCCI.

    Liked by 1 person

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