Well Bowled Muttiah Muralitharan – Chucking Controversy


“If Muttiah Muralitharan doesn’t chuck, then show me how to bowl,” Bedi, the forthright former Indian slow left-armer, had said in an interview. “How can you call it bowling? He has no follow-through and he makes no use of his shoulders. His arm does not go up at all. I have a picture of him bowling somewhere. He looks like a good javelin thrower.In one of the interview of Mr. Bishan Singh Bedi, who played for India as a left arm spinner, made a disgrace comment on Muralitharan. Typhoon Tyson” left his chair to give a practical demonstration to illustrate his point. “In javelin throw or shot-put, or even in baseball, you have to stop before you throw. If you try to do it in motion, you will lack speed and direction.”In cricket, we do not stop in our bowling action, so it can never be described as throwing. The problem is with the law, and if you take it literally, there has been no bowler in history who has not been a chucker.”According to the research, 99% of bowlers found guilty as per the exemption law of chucking. Bowlers like McGrath, Lee & Pollock had actions contravening the law. Later more analysis reveled that bowlers from past who seems to exceed straightening limit set by ICC were Imran Khan, Courtney Ambross, Richard Hadlee & Ian Botham. Muralitharan was later put on test once again when Mark Richardson called him chucker in his column even. By then Muralitharan went through lot of test, (another record for Murali) and still proven clean & within rule as per ICC.

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There are many bowlers who is accused of throwing or chucking. Many claims, Rule was changed for Muralitharan specifically, but studies suggest something different. Before the new rule came into picture (in 90s), ICC allowed all bowlers to chuck (i.e . straighten their arms while bowling) but upto some extent. The law was not fair with Bowlers, A fast bowler can straight their arms by 10 degree, medium pacer by 7.5 degree & Spinner by 5 degree.  In a study between 2000-2003, it was found that, most of the elite fast bowlers who seem fair to naked eye do extend their arm to 12 or 13 degree, but was never been called off by Umpire.  This law makes no sense, theoretically or scientifically. While making law, only fast bowlers were considered & they gave random allowance to spinners based on speed.


In 2004, Mark Nicholas, who was doing a documentary for Channel 4 tested Murali with braces. “There is no way an arm can be bent, ormurali flexed, when it is in this brace”. Yet, even with the brace on, there still appeared to be a jerk in his action said Nicholas. The conclusion: his unique shoulder rotation and amazing wrist action seem to create the illusion that he straightens his arm. “I think it will prove a point to those who had said that it was physically impossible to bowl a ball that turned the other way,” Murali said in an interview with Wisden Asia after the filming of the documentary. “I proved that it was possible to bowl the doosra without bending the arm. People raised question on documentary, saying, it is not necessary he bowled exactly same as he does at international level. Mratin Bride said “If there was an inadvertent straightening that resulted from forces on his bowling arm the brace would prevent that from happening. Then, when he bowled without the brace, the same degree of straightening would occur.”

People who had analyzed (darryl and brukce) Murali & Akhtar determined that neither of them throws. Not in the true sense of the word the straightening of the arm immediately prior to delivery.  The trouble is that there are many interested parties who will take them to task and say “He throws”.  Such purely subjective judgments should not be allowed to stand once the scientific assessment has been produced.As per biomechanics expert Frank Tyson, the law of degree is an ass (the older law), because it states that what constitutes a throw is the straightening if the arm just prior to delivery. If thats the case, you’re going to find that 90% of bowlers throw. Somewhere in their action there is straightening in their arm or elbow. A leg spinner or off spinner could not bowl if they won’t bend their arm. I have seen Haroon Larwood with his arm hyper – extended.

The law does not differentiate between people who straighten the arm as a part of natural reflex action, which the body must observe to absorb the force, and people who deliberately straighten it. There should be some revision that only punishes straightening of the arm that is visibly obvious or over and above a certain number of degrees’. A purely subjective assessment of how much a bowler bends his arm is not right.


Sadly the most humble & always smiley cricketer, had to face such rude & baseless allegation despite being cleared by ICC & scientist numerous time. Rules & analysis should be same for all bowlers, if Akhtar & McGrath can enjoy the little more degree of arm strengthen then why only Murali should be accused? What looks like a chuck, is actually an optical illusion caused by quick wrist rotation, shoulder & bowling arm. On based on above clarification I leave it upto individual to choose. For me Muralitharan’s 800 test wicket is genuine & is because of his hard work. Kudos to Legend Muttiah Muralitharan.