Cricket is such a unique game that no two players have the same technique, whether it be the bowlers or the batsmen. Everybody has different things which work for them and more often than not when it comes to technique, there’s no right or wrong. Cricketers growing up are given the fundamentals of the sport but the adaptation of those basics are purely on the individual.
As the game has progressed over the years, we’ve witnessed some unique techniques creeping into the game. Here we’ll take a look at those bowlers who grabbed headlines for their unique or questionable bowling actions.
MUTTIAH MURALIDHARAN (SRI LANKA)
It all starts with the eyes of Muralidharan. Those wide eyes and his facial expression while he launches his delivery coupled with his debatable bowling action, made him practically impossible to play against at times. He’s considered by many as the best spinner to play the sport, though Shane Warne would want to argue otherwise. His bowling action was time and again cleared by the ICC but Murali kept complicating matters for all by creating new variations in his bowling armoury. He could spin the ball squarely in almost every condition and had about ten variations in his bowling. A true champion and one whose feats will remain unparalleled for a long time, his action will also be remembered by his fans for years to come.
JEFF THOMPSON (AUSTRALIA)
Fast, fierce and mean, Jeff Thompson was labelled as the most lethal bowler to have ever play the sport. The Australian could clock over 160 kmph on his good days. Dennis Lilley and he build an extraordinary bowling partnership, one which proved too intimidating for the opposition batsman. He had an unusual sort of a bowling action and was the original ‘Slinga’ in world cricket. He derived his pace from this slinging action and back in the no-helmet days, it seemed that he would like cracking open a few skulls.
LASITH MALINGA (SRI LANKA)
When Lasith Malinga burst onto the cricketing scene many doubted whether the ‘slingy bowler’ would last long in international cricket, but he has proved all his critics wrong a hundred times over. He has had his fair share of injury issues that cut short his Test career cricket. With his unique bowling action, it’s difficult to fathom how he can be so accurate and even manage to swing the new ball both ways. A once-in-a-generation talent for sure, ‘Slinga Malinga’ can be hailed as the pioneer who changed the way bowlers approached death bowling in limited-overs cricket.
PAUL ADDAMS (SOUTH AFRICA)
South African, Paul Addams took up the art of chinaman spin bowling which is the most difficult to master in cricket. Described as a ‘frog in a blender ‘ by former England captain Mike Gatting, Adams’ bowling action bordered on being ugly. He had a decent run and a really high jump before releasing the bowl. His neck jerked in the most awkward angle possible and while delivering the ball his head would be facing the ground having no view of the batsman while bowling. His bowling action is exactly what will drive coaches around the world crazy. He was the youngest-ever South African to play Test cricket, though he didn’t particularly enjoy a long international career. He, however, provided enough entertainment till the time he was playing.
JASPRIT BUMRAH (INDIA)
Ironically, Jasprit Bumrah comes from a land where technique in cricket is the most talked-about aspect. All the coaches try to imbibe young bowlers to have orthodox bowling actions which doesn’t cause much harm to the body. But Bumrah is a revolutionary in this facet. He started off playing a lot of tennis ball cricket and developed a unique bowling action all by himself. Effective and pacey with a short stuttering run-up, Bumrah leaves many scratching their heads to understand where he generates so much pace from. We hope that he continues to entertain the world with his unique bowling action for long.
VIRAT KOHLI (INDIA)
Yes, that’s correct! It’s not a typo. The Indian captain has officially made it to our list. As classy Virat Kohli is while batting, his bowling is on the other extreme. We’re honestly lost for words describing Kohli’s bowling action. He’s a proper wrong footer and sometimes can also deliver the bowl while being flat on the ground. No wonder Kohli doesn’t bowl anymore. Back in his youth days, Kohli felt he was a deceptive bowler and looking at his action we can understand why he felt that way. Even while bowling spin, Kohli can’t help but bowl in the same action because that’s the only way he gets his rhythm. It’s shocking to see such a great batsman with such a strange bowling action.
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