Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This Crackdown on Off-Spinners is Extremely Unfair

It started with Shane Shillingford, and then continued with Marlon Samuels, Sachitra Senanayake, Kane Williamson, and Saeed Ajmal in international cricket; and Adnan Rasool, Mohammad Hafeez, Prenelan Subrayen, and Sunil Narine in the ongoing Champions League T20.

These bans and warnings to bowlers is getting a little out of hand I think.

The only thing common among all the names mentioned is that they are all off-spinners.

Off-spin has existed for as long as cricket has existed, but there have only been a handful successful world class off spinners that have played the game. For majority of the game's existence, off-spinners have been used as bowlers who would come on to stem the run flow, or just full in for the primary bowlers.

For perspective, out of the 64 bowlers who have taken more than 200 test wickets, only 4 are off-spinners - Muralitharan, Harbhajan, Swann, and Saqlain Mushtaq. While in ODIs, out of the 35 bowlers who have taken more than 200 wickets, only 3 are off-spinners - Muralitharan, Saqlain, and Harbhajan.

What is interesting though is that despite the few off-spinners among the top wicket takers in the game, the leading wicket taker in both formats is an off-spinner - Muralitharan,

The leading wicket taker in T20 internationals is also an off-spinner - Saeed Ajmal.

And the best bowling figures in a test match also belong to an off-spinner - 19-90 by Jim Laker.

Anyhow, enough with this little historical background. My key problem with all these bans is why now!?

For close to two decades, the ICC allowed Muralitharan to bowl in international cricket, despite the several times that he was called by on field umpires and tested in Australian labs. Not only that, but the flex in his arm, due to an injury or whatever reason, also resulted in the 15 degree allowance for bowlers.

Muralitharan went on to become the leading wicket taker in both tests and ODIs, and sits firmly at the top, well ahead of all other bowlers with over 1300 international wickets to his name.

Luckily, Muralitharan no longer plays international cricket. He only appears in T20 leagues around the world.

What will happen if Muralitharan is warned in a T20 league game and eventually banned from bowling?

Will the ICC scrap his world records?

Is it fair that bowlers like Saeed Ajmal, Sunil Narine, and Senanayake are banned from bowling in international cricket, yet the world record holder was a bowler who had a flex similar, or worse, to theirs?

What suddenly woke the ICC up to start this crackdown on off-spinners?

The fact that it is only off-spinners being banned, can it not be a case that there is a technicality that is being missed? Isn't it quite possible that off-spinners require a greater flex than leg spinners, left arm spinners, and pacers?

There are many questions to be answered, however the most pertinent one is, WHY NOW!???

My geometry teacher always used to say to never trust the eyes when measuring angles; always use a protractor.

We don't need no protractor to see who has the greatest flex among the bowlers in the above picture. It is quite clear to the naked eye.

No ban on any off-spinner will ever be fair because Muralitharan was allowed to play international cricket for 18 years.

No ban on any off-spinner will be ever be fair because Muralitharan is the leading wicket taker in international cricket.

I don't mean to take anything away from Muralitharan's achievements. He is arguable the best spinner to have played the game.

However, just because of precedence and history, the likes of Ajmal, Narine, Samuels, Shillingford, Hafeez et al should be allowed to continue playing the game.

Or the ICC should just scrap Muralitharan from the record books.

Make your pitch on this post...

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2 Pitched:

  1. Asiri said...

    Read the murali's investigation report before comparing murali with others.muralis hand cannot strenghtn from his birth(confirmed by ausi doctors) he is having a natural angle with his elbow.even when he throws the ball we can see that.problem is others don't have that bend and they are strethning when they delivering,but since murali can't streghtn his hand he is released and cleared by ICC

  2. Bliss Water said...

    Shut ur crap Mr Asiri. To hell with Aussie docs too.

    Point is that Murali and Shoib Akhtar stood up against the racist system and they succeeded, whereas Saeed Ajmal is very sober and decent by nature so the racists took advantage of that.

    IPL and such crap cricket has ruined the sport.

    Cricket is being exploited by 3 racist nations now..i dont have to name them the world knows it.

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