Many times we hear the news that some bowler has been banned due to an illegal bowling action. Throwing the ball is considered as illegal and is also called as “Chucking” in Cricket. But many people exactly don’t know “what is chucking in cricket”.
Chucking is one of the confusing topics in cricket which we have simply explained in this article. Many people have the misconception that bending the hand while bowling is illegal and is called chucking according to them. But this is not the correct concept. Let’s see the actual concept and the rule of chucking.
What is Chucking in Cricket?
An Illegal Bowling Action is where a player is throwing rather than bowling the ball. Chucking is defined as “The bowling action where the player’s elbow gets straighten by an amount of more than 15 degrees while his arm going from the horizontal position to the point of release of the ball”.
When a fielder throws a ball, you can see his elbow bends in a horizontal position as seen in the below-left image. By bending the arm, the potential energy is stored in the hinge joint of the arm.
Now, at the point of release of the ball, the elbow gets straighten which converts the potential energy into the kinetic energy. This natural technique helps the fielder to throw the ball with a greater velocity.
But this technique cannot be used while bowling the ball. The laws of cricket say that the bowler can produce velocity to the bowl only through the rotation of his shoulder.
This means that if the player’s arm is bending in a horizontal position then it must not get straighten(beyond 15 degrees) at the point of release of the ball.
As shown in the figure, the bend in the elbow in the horizontal position of the arm is 35 degrees and at the point of release of the ball, the elbow gets straighten by 15 degrees only. Hence, this will be considered as a legal delivery.
If the elbow bend when the arm is at shoulder level is 45 degrees then the elbow bend at the time of ball release must be minimum 30 degrees.
Rule of 15 Degree Elbow Extension
In 1990, after many biomechanics testing, it is found that every bowler has some natural elbow extension. But the measurement system and video analysis at that time were not accurate.
After many years, advancement in technologies has minimized the errors. The modern technology reveals that the natural extension for every bowler varies between 10-15 degrees.
In 2003, ICC decided to set a limit of 15 degrees on elbow extension for all types of bowlers. Hence, if the elbow extension exceeds the 15 degrees then it is illegal.
Reporting a Bowler
In International cricket, the match officials check the bowling action through naked eyes and their experience only. If the officials found doubt on any bowler’s action, they will report it to the ICC.
The player is then tested at an ICC Accredited Testing Centre, using state-of-the-art technology and supervised by experts in the science of human movement.
These tests will reveal whether the player’s action is illegal or not. If it is found illegal, then the player gets suspended from cricket. The player can reapply for testing after modifying his action.
One bowler can bowl different types of deliveries with some different action. If for that bowler, only a certain type of delivery is found illegal then he can continue to bowl with a restriction on bowling that certain delivery only.
Case of Hyperextension
Hyperextension is the extension of elbow creating a negative angle with respect to the upper arm. The former Pakistani player Shoaib Akhtar and former Indian player RP Singh were found extending their arm in a negative direction.
Due to this phenomenon, it seems that they are chucking. But they are not doing this willingly and also they cannot avoid it. Hence, the case of hyperextension is not considered as chucking in cricket.
Recently, the Indian Star Bowler Jasprit Bumrah is also seen in the case of hyperextension.
Another example of unusual hyperextension is the legendary former Sri Lankan player Muttiah Muralitharan. His bowling action was a subject of controversy and debate for much of his career. Due to hyperextension of his congenitally bent arm, he was reported many times by the umpire.
Subsequent biomedical tests proved that his bowling action is proper and should not be considered as chucking.
There are many players who have been banned in the past. Saeed Ajmal, Marlon Samuels, Shane Shillingford, Kane Williamson, Taskin Ahmed, etc have been banned in the last few years.
Undoubtedly, Chucking is one of the confusing topics and someone may not understand it by reading. Here’s a video simply explaining the things. You can also ask any doubt in the comment section.