Cricket World In A Spin Over Bowler's Weird 360-Degree Swivel
It's just not cricket. But should it be?
By the letter of the law, it was illegal.
That's the first thing you need to know about the remarkable ball delivered by Indian spin bowler Shiva Singh in a four-day tournament for under-23 state teams in India.
The second thing you need to know is HOLY COW, WHAT ACTUALLY JUST HAPPENED THERE???
What happened was that the bowler pirouetted a full 360 degrees on his approach to the bowling crease. Watch it again. Ever seen anything like it? Nether have we.
The footage was first brought to the wider world's attention in a tweet by Bishan Bedi, the former Indian national team captain and off-spinner who took 266 Test wickets.
So what's the fuss about? Well, the umpire made the "dead ball" signal, which meant the ball didn't count. No runs conceded, no dot in the score book, bowl it again. In other words, it was ruled an illegitimate delivery.
Section 126.96.36.199 of the Laws of Cricket states that the umpire will signal dead ball if there's a "deliberate attempt to distract the striker (batsman)". The umpire clearly believed he was upholding the letter of the law.
But plenty of people are saying OK fine, Shiva Singh's twirl may have distracted the batsman, but don't batsmen distract bowlers all the time?
What about when they move about in the crease, or when they totally rotate their stance 180-degrees to pull off a switch hit? Should not the law be relaxed both ways?
This was the argument the bowler put forward in his own defence. Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, he said he'd bowled a ball like this before which was ruled fine.
"Batsmen always go for the reverse-sweep or the switch hit against bowlers. But when bowlers do something like this it’s deemed a dead ball," Singh added.
There's also a side argument that moves like this should be allowed for innovation's sake -- a view put forward by former England captain Michael Vaughan.
New laws that reflected the changing face of cricket were introduced last year by the body responsible for cricket's laws, the MCC. These covered things like limits to the ever-widening bats, and new rules on player conduct.
The general consensus after this incident is that numerous cricket laws are still a little archaic -- and one of them is the interpretation of what bowlers and batsmen can or can't do before the ball is delivered.