Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The New Muralidaran

Come on, don't say you weren't expecting it. Clearly it's the new 'it' in the chucker's guide to escaping penalty.

Don't cry foul, soon all the off-spinners are going to be saying the same. Maybe Botha will bowl with an arm brace for an over in a match to prove his point. All in the name of cricket.

"Johan's arms aren't straight when they hang by his sides. They are naturally bent at the elbow. He has a natural deformity."

That's Vinnie Barnes, the South African bowling coach. Johan also tearfully told his tale of disability to Cricinfo:

"You have to bend your elbow to bowl it, but in my case it starts bent and stays that way."

And here's a little something to set your blood boiling. Us darn Aussies are really quite evil, we call just about any players from the subcontinent for chucking if we can't play them. Forget our own home-bred chuckers who we apparently don't out (despite having done so on many an occasion), the real reason we're such sick bastards who repeatedly make chucker claims against others if because we can't bowl it ourselves:

Bruce Elliott, the UWA professor who is also the ICC biomechanist, had made an interesting discovery in his dealings with finger spinners. "He said he had found that a lot of bowlers from the subcontinent could bowl the doosra legally, but not Caucasian bowlers," Barnes said.

Clearly this is the perfect fuel to add to the fire of the debate which is raging in many places about the supposed tendency of Aussie players to call chuckers. We're just so jealous of those bowlers, you see. Why should they get to bowl the doosra while we can't? You know what, how about we just report them? Sounds like a plan.

I hope the woeful bias and ludicrosity of the arguments that Aussies just call any off-spinner outside their country a chucker is blatant in that above paragraph. I'm not having a go at anyone, but it seems a wasted opportunity to not point out that those claims are ill-founded. Not only do we identify chuckers in Australia, often at an early age, but those who manage to make it to state level are denounced for their bowling action. It's really not a lie when we say that you just won't make it to the big time if you're a pie chucker in Australia.

And on the same note as the article referenced to above, a comment by Mark Boucher:

"There are other guys out there who bowl the doosra who should be sent for testing. Let's see how they shape up under the new regulations."

I guess they all have deformities too.

Not a chucker, just a poor deformed bastard.


Stani Army said...

Amy, if pie chuckers don't make it in Aus, how did Andrew Symonds get through?

As for the natural deformity, it's true. A once friend of mine, NWG, also has a natural deformity which would allow her to bowl deliveries that others (particularly those in Australia) cannot.

raj said...

Well, have you had a murali level talent who 'chucks'? I am sure if you did, you wouldn't be straining to call him. The point is aussie warne defends chuckers like kamran and amit when it suits him. So I don't buy that aussies will truly call a chucker if it benefits them not to. And warne, whom you know that I have admired a lot, is the proof that the aussie gene is not immune to using chuckers if it benefits them. What gets the goat of subcontinentals is the sanctimonious "we follow rules you don't" tone. That's like the old fib about white manks burden. There is no inherent honesty or integrity in the aussie gene that is lacking inm the rest of the world

Esra_Star said...

An arm deformity? Now thats a new one.

Oh and Bouch makes me laugh, can't keep him quiet.

Kiss said...

Botha without his doosra is like Samson without his hair. He's irrevelant. Very ordinary bowler.

Amy said...

Stani, you're far too amusing. There. Happy? Actually, I did say most chuckers get weeded out in their early years, but those that do make it through (looking at the particularly shocker of a chucker Bird here) cop a lot of flack from Aussie fans for it.

Raj, that's suggesting there's something inherently racist in the actions of Australian cricketers. I don't actually believe so. They may sledge a fair bit, but I don't think they're going to start calling out chuckers based on race. Johan Botha doesn't look all that Indian to me.

Esra, I'm surprised nobody's made a bigger deal of the fact that he suddenly has an arm deformity. I mean, surely...

Kiss, Botha without his doosra is pretty much exactly the same bowler as without it. He chucks, there's no two ways about it.

raj said...

Amy, lets leave the racist claims aside. Lets say I am talking for the rest of the world.Are you saying that only Australians care about eliminating chuckers while the rest of the cricketing world doesnt mind cheating? (i.e) Are you claimign that Australian Cricketing gene is so pure they will not resort to cheating ever? Basically, this is what typically Aussie Cricketers claim. If you say what price Sydney 2008(and numerous other incidents), they get defensive and try to justify every single act by every single Aussie cricketer in the history fo cricket as just and fair. It is like we are holy cows - teh definition of fairness is "whatever we do is fair, whatever we actively oppsoe is unfair".
It is this mentality I am pointing out - vide Warne and his condoning of chuckign when it benefits him. It then follows that if you got a chucker who is outstandingly useful, you will not worry about calling him and eliminating him. I mean, if Warne does that and resorsts to condonign chuckers, then I dont have hopes on any other Australian Cricketer that they will be fair under trying circumstances. All I am sayign is an Australian Cricketer/Administrator is as prone to corruption and cheating as teh rest of the world. Please dont be sanctimonious and give advice to other countries - we can turn back and point out to numerous incidents of Aussie cheating and poor spirit. We are all equal in that. Why then the Aussies alone climb the high pedestal and give sanctimonious lectures to the rest of us?

Stani Army said...

Amy, what's happened? This does not seem like you.

Has some Aussie cricketing nationalist taken you at gun point to some internet cafe forcing you stoop this low?

You can tell me. I have people in that part of the world that can sort them out.

Amy said...

I was expressly referring to chucking in the subject of this post and not any supposed holier-than-thou mentality of the Aussie team. I might discuss that later, but at the moment, it's midnight and I've had a really long day. I can't bring myself to think about it and argue.

But I will say that my basic view as expressed in this post is that the idea that Australian cricketers call chuckers based on race or nationality is over the top. Obviously you won't rat on your own team member, as any players from other countries wouldn't, but chucking is chucking. If they have a complaint to make, I'm sure they're allowed to make it without having accusations of bigotry being heaped on them.

It's just a fair viewpoint. I don't even know if I can explain it to everyone. If you lived here and grew up here, you'd experience first hand the kind of attitude all Australians have towards chuckers. So I can't fault you guys for feeling disillusioned, but trust me when I say being a chucker gets you nowhere. That attitude is transferred to our cricketers.

Anonymous said...

psst, amy...
you cant change a few idiots thougth processes... hard defect u know..
stop wasting your time on the replies.

raj makes me wanna shoot myself... he and his racism claims are at every blog i read..

*retreats into the shadows*

raj said...

Amy, thats fien . Dont want to add fuel to this but the only question I have is "If Aussie Cricekters are all agaisnt chucking, then why the greatest of them all, Sir Shane, is lining up an army of chuckers for Rajasthan?". Is it because, unlike in Australia, it is not easy to find quality bowlers who dont chuck in Rajasthan? So, when the necessity comes, the greatest Aussie cricketer has proven that he is not averse to condoning chucking.
So, basically, with the cricketing riches that Australia has, they can now afford to eliminate chuckers and they are doing but Warne clearly proved that in an environment where non-chucking quality bowlers are hard to come by, even aussies resort to chuckers. If the true test of character is in adversity, then all that talk about Aussies eliminating chuckers has only been in favourable conditions. I will stop being cynical when I see an Australian cricket enviroment throwing out a Murali-level talent because it chucks. That hasnt EVER happened. Secondly, as Warne proved, when it suits them they condone chuckers. So, basically all the pride Aussie cricketers have on them not condoning chuckers is only based on their behavioru in favourable cirucmstances(i.e.) they have called mediocre bowlers who have happened to be chuckers but no proof exists that Aussies will call an outstanding bowler who chucks. Secondly, proof exists that Aussies(Warne and BArry) will condone chuckers when they have no other quality bowler who doesnt chuck. So, basically, Aussie cricketers are the same as the rest of the world - they condone chuckign when it suits them, so what price posturing?
(The assumption here is that if Warne is corrupt, then nobody else in Aussie cricket can be uncorrupt)

raj said...

Anon dear, you didnt even understand my point. I said lets put the racist claims aside. I am talking about the "holier-than-thou" attitude of australians, which is unwarranted and laughable as proven by Sir Shane and Mr Darren Barry's condoning of chucking when it suits them.
So, stop trying to divert the issue and answer me honestly. What gives you the right to think that Australian Cricket followers and admins are superior to the rest of the world when it comes to chucking? You are obviously wrong = even great aussies like Warne resort to using chucking when it suits them then what price the rest of you? Please dont crow about your anti-chucking attitude , clearly it has been proven that you'll also condone chucking when it suits you - that is all I am saying

raj said...

Please note that I am calling Kamran and AMit chuckers here. They are Indians so I am not beign racist here obviously. If only Anon had the intelligence to understand it...

achettup said...

Its only once the tests prove that you're over the limits that the hyper-extensions and deformities crop up. I mean, why reveal them to the rest of the world before that? I wonder if a deformity affects the way you hold the steering wheel... maybe you could also apply for a Handicapped sticker but then you just might be found out.

Its a disgrace, as is using long sleeves to cover it up and pretend everything is alright.

Stani Army said...

That's fair Amy.

First let me say that by chucking, we're referring to the violation of the cricketing rules - not chucking as any regular person would recognise a chuck or throw. My opinion on this point i.e. what a chuck/throw is, is that the cricketing rules have it wrong but that's just my personal opinion. I think the rules will change in the future and rightly so.

As for the Aussies raising the issue....it's the way they do it Amy. I have the utmost respect for their talent by the way they go crying to the umpires...they let themselves down. The best should not behave like that.

I give you an example. Shane Watson's reaction when he was made to look like a drunk at the crease by Saeed Ajmal. He couldn't contain himself and start crying to the umpire. It don't have to be like that. If there is a issue with someone's action, it can be raised in a better manner.

In the first season of IPL (ok I watched it and I feel filthy), Watson's partnership with Tanvir for the Raj Royals was wonderful to watch. I rated him. But, when he behaved the way he did in Dubai regarding Ajmal's action, I lost all respect for him.

raj said...

The much simpler question is why does Warne condone Amit and Kamran? he is an Australian, isnt he? He is supposed to bleed at the sight of chucking, isnt it?
Then why is he defending them? Is it because it suits him and his team? So, what happened to all those years of his existence in Aussie cricket where he was apparently taught to condemn chucking strongly? What reason do I have to believe that Ponting or Clarke are better people than Warne and therefore, they will not be like him in a similar situation? Answer:Zilch. If anything, Warne is a better person and if Warne goes off the rules, more likely that Ponting and Clarke would when their turn comes.
So, let's discuss chucking but lets not generalise that "Aussies dont condone chucking" becusae it clearly has been proven otherwise.

raj said...

achettup. ok so Bhajan chucks? I am all for eliminating that menace from Cricket by whatever means. Unlike Aussies who claim that they call all chuckers, I can actually be bold enough to call for elimination of an Indian matchwinner because he chucks? How many Aussies will do that? Ofcourse, they will call for elimination of some mediocre bowler who chucks - But will they ever question Lee (not now but during his prime when he was crucial to aussie plans)? Answer: very few will and I believe Amy will be one of them, hopefully.

Amy said...

Raj, I suppose for the moment we can agree to disagree simply to put an end to a cross-blog argument. I'm sure you'll agree.

Achettup, Botha at the steering wheel must already be some sort of manic representation of what a normal person would look like. His newfound deformities simply add to it.

Stani, the way Watson handled that incident was disgraceful, I'll admit. That's an area where we pretty much see eye to eye. I just don't see the merit in other arguments that there's some sort of secret racism underlying the reporting of certain players as chuckers. Maybe racism's too harsh a word, but it's the closest thing I can think of to what the argument is presenting itself to be.

Anyway, I'm off. Have some more gruelling arguments while I'm gone to test your debating skills... online.

Amy said...

btw Raj, Lee used to chuck. A lot of Aussies have said that, it's not just a few of us. You'll be surprised how many people would say that he chucked in the past. He doesn't do it now.

There's also a handy list of other Aussie players who chuck, but I'm sure you've heard them all by now.

raj said...

Amy, its your blog but one day I hope I can see an Aussie addressing this "We dont chuck" more sincerely and address the specific questions I have raised? I mean, isnt Warne Australian and doesnt he condone chucking now? If you dont want to answer that, fine but I'll agree with you the day I see even one Australian addressing my question honestly and sincerely.

raj said...

Amy, no lets keep racism out of it. I have come to realise that its not racism but some sort of smug, holier than thou, sanctimonious self-appraisal of Aussie Cricketers.

Amy said...

Raj, I really do have to go because I've got an early day tomorrow. Or today, rather.

But I will say that the specific issues you've raised have been answered by an Aussie or other such people on other blogs.

raj said...

Amy, please go to sleep :-). Sorry if the heated argument caused you to miss sleep. we'll argue this later.

Jonathan said...

Raj, I'm starting from a different place to you - youre "If anything, Warne is a better person" comment makes me nearly spew. Having said that, of course there are Australians defending chucking, or at least individual chuckers. Noone can say "all Australians complain about all questionable actions". NSW defended Bird until the failed test, Warne never said anything about Kamran's action. There is plenty of self-interest involved. What can be said is that within Australia, the issue is usually raised by someone, usually officials as well as opposition fans. There is a long history of strong reactions against questionable actions. I don't know how different this is in other plcaes, but many comments suggest that it is.

If you take the scope to be domestic cricket, rather than just individuals, then "whatever we do is fair, whatever we actively oppose is unfair" for both sides of most controversies. It's not about who cheats, but what is seen as cheating in different places. It's the predictable result of a game governed by not-necessarily-universal traditions, and is always going to happen unless procedures are agreed on. That's why rules are important - we still have the "rules were written for Murali arguments" and there's room for discussing more changes, but the situation is a lot better than it was in 96.

raj said...

Jonathan, this does it for me. I am glad you agree with me on this:
"Noone can say "all Australians complain about all questionable actions". NSW defended Bird until the failed test, Warne never said anything about Kamran's action. There is plenty of self-interest involved"

This is precisely the point I make - if a murali-level talent was in Australia and with the same level of flexion, you'll see consensus on that flexion not being chucking. End of story. It is all about self-interest. While SLCB condoning Murali might be self interest, I argue that when it comes to the crunch, Aussies have shown themselves as vulnerable as others to condoning chucking, If they h avent done that for a major case in intl cricket, my argument is its only because they dont have a major chucking talent to protect in the first place. So, my point is the sanctimonious aussie argument " we are truly against chucking" is not at all tested in adverse circumstances, and that the converse that they do condone chuckign when they have no better alternative is well and truly proven by NSW as you say and Shane Warne. End of Story
As for Warne being a better person, I'd rather trust Shane than Ricky or Clarke to be sporting. Ricky especially is the nadir of sporting spirit.

Amy said...

Raj, I've had a look at your comments and your main issue seems to be based around the example of Warnie not calling Kamran, etc, out for bowling, but that other Aussies don't hesitate to call the opposition out for it?

I'll take a moment to say that before we get into this stuff about nationalities, you have to think from the viewpoint of a team player, or rather a simple human being. And there's the golden rule of sport: you don't rat on your team mates. Sure, some of our cricketers might be assholes, but that's the same as in any country. And sure they won't call Aaron Bird a chucker, because he's one of their countrymen and you just don't do that. You must know what I'm saying here. It's about team mates at a very base level, too.

And that therefore extends to Shane Warne. Kamran and Amit Singh were on his team. He was coaching them and captaining them. Are you seriously suggesting he should have reported them? I can already think of the outrage that would stem from that. You know, "the Aussies are selfish bastards who turn on their foreign team mates in the IPL". So either way, Warnie was going to cop flack from people with similar viewpoints to yours if he had reported those players.

You seem to be saying that Australian players declare themselves to be against all chucking and this is represented in the number of claims/accusations they make against players from the subcontinent. Of course they're not going to report their own mates if they suspect them; not even Indian players reported Harbhajan. That's just ridiculous. But Australian players do report players from the opposing side. Of course they do.

I understand that you as an Indian fan may call out your own players as chuckers, but you have to understand that Aussie fans do the same to their players too. It's not a one-sided coin, and we can't do anything about it if our cricketers refuse to report their own friends with dodgy bowling actions. At points throughout your argument, it seemed you were comparing cricket fans with cricket players, and there's bound to be a difference in who these different groups would call chuckers or not.

I hope that answers your questions. Cheers.

Jonathan said...

I think you're missing the point, Raj. It isn't about whether anyone is self-interested or not, it's about at what level the self-interest and how strong its opposition is.

Say Aus had a Murali-type spinner with a questionable action. Would he make the NSW team. (As a spinner in these days, he is probably either from NSW or has moved there...) More likely he would be called as a junior or at least in grade cricket. It wouldn't matter whether his club defended him or not. If he did get through, would he survive? Actually, Bird shows us that surviving is more likely under the new system, as he was tested and given the all clear three times where in the past he probably would have been completely stigmatised. In any case, the umpires didn't let up, and neither did many fans and commentators. There are enough people in place who will object, whether others will defend or not.

You seem to be suggesting that Murali got through because at every level, officials and opponents turned a blind eye, recognising that he could be great on their side at the next level up. The "Australians are against chucking" claim suggests that perhaps Murali went through a system with a less stringent approach to bowling actions in general and everyone is being above board.

As for the over-appealing, drug-cheating friend of dodgy bookies himself, in this case I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I don't remember that he ever personally condemmed Murali or anyone else for chucking. If he hasn't done so, then his support for Kamran proves nothing about him. Either way, it doesn't mean anything unless we make the old mistake of equating Australian cricket culture with every single person in Australian cricket. (For what it's worth, I actually wish Australian culture had been less stringent on chuckers, but that's another story...)

Amy said...


"Either way, it doesn't mean anything unless we make the old mistake of equating Australian cricket culture with every single person in Australian cricket."

I do believe that is rather spot on, and the point many of us have been making. I've never seen it said in so few words, haha.

raj said...

"Either way, it doesn't mean anything unless we make the old mistake of equating Australian cricket culture with every single person in Australian cricket"
No, I dont want to do that. But the claim I was refuting was "all aussies associated with cricket condemn chucking". One counter example is enough for that, isnt it?

Thing is Amy, I agree with you , ratting on your teammates is definitely not on. Which is probably why Tendulkar defended Harbhajan - and I wish he hadnt. Bhajji deserves to be in the docks, and has singe-handedly brought down the fair and honest reputation that Indian Cricketers had built up in the era of Laxman, Dravid, Tendulkar and Kumble. But the claim I will fight against is the implication that there is something in the Aussie Cricket gene that makes them golden-heartedly stick to the rules of the game while others don't. That is SO not true, and the converse is true many times. As I keep repeating, as long as that sanctimony (dont question my integrity) exists, I will keep reminding of the incidents to teh contrary.

Jonathan, Warne has whined on Murali's action - i cant find links but I distinctly rememberr him talking about it.

"The "Australians are against chucking" claim suggests that perhaps Murali went through a system with a less stringent approach to bowling actions in general and everyone is being above board."
Agree with this. Ofcourse, the umpires are pathetic even at Ranji level in India, and you can expect worse at lower levels in India/SL. But my argument is simply that the Aussies who are against chucking are more out of self interest(Vics against a NSW chucker etc) than any altruistic good of the game in their mind.
(i.e) Australians are as prone to self-interest, corruption, cheating as others. Nothing less, nothing more. I wouldnt for a momebt claim that Indians are better than Aussies are whatever but I know a significant chunk of Aussies who do claim their inherent sense of justice and fair play is superior - and these at the level of Ponting etc, not mere bloggers or fans.

raj said...

"I understand that you as an Indian fan may call out your own players as chuckers, but you have to understand that Aussie fans do the same to their players too. It's not a one-sided coin, and we can't do anything about it if our cricketers refuse to report their own friends with dodgy bowling actions. At points throughout your argument, it seemed you were comparing cricket fans with cricket players, and there's bound to be a difference in who these different groups would call chuckers or not.
Amy, I guess Tendulkar et al dont report Harbhajan, fair enough but having done that, they have enough shame not to go about outing chuckers in other teams. They mind their business. Whereas Aussie Cricketers are blind to their team mates' faults but are always giving sanctimonious lectures to other teams on fair play etc. If I had a better sense of humour, I'd parody this endlessly and profitably.

Jonathan said...

Raj, I'll take your word for it on Warne re Murali - I was simply giving him the benefit of the doubt since I don't remember who has or hasn't opened their mouth. I also don't remember whether Ponting has made sanctimonious comments on this particular issue, but it wouldn't be out of character, would it?

I agree that there is usually some level of self-interest involved (although there are umpires involved as well as opposition, and self-interest isn't always simply ignoring the issue). What I don't agree with is any suggestion that the claims you're refuting are even remotely similar to the claims you're responding to on this occasion. I don't think we're disagreeing as much as it might seem...

raj said...

Jonathan, yes my rant is general and doesnt apply directly to your comments, true.
I should probably keep reminding myself that Ponting, the shifty Gilchrist, the reprehensible CA admins are all not representative of the whole of Australia just as Harbhajan, Lalit Modi et al are not indicative of a generic Indian mindset.

raj said...

Having said that, Jonathan, I do think we differ on fundamental attitude to chucking. As I have argued elsewhere, I am a bit of anti-rules, and believe that rules must accomodate human beings rather than otherwise. Especially in sports. It is just a game.
I say, if chucking brings the interesting Doosra into equation, legalise chucking. If everyone is allowed to chuck, where's the inequality except in talent? It is beside the point that Saqlain bowled the doosra without chucking. The rules now are clear - 15 degree flexion. Just stop whining and go ahead and produce bowlers who can bowl teh doosra with 15 degree flexion. Why not?
Yeah, you'd say that way rules will keep being stretched but I say "how does it matter?". Dont you get joy when you see Murali flummox someone with his Doosra? You must be a sad person if so. If tomorrow a Ray White from Australia does the same with 15 degree flexion, more power to him. Where is the problem really?
So what if rules were changed for murali? Rules are same for everyone now. Afterall, we are not going to ban an Aussie Doosra bowler while clearing Botha and Murali, are we? So where is the problem>?

The whole point of rules in any Sport is to level the playing field. As long as a new rule results in level playing field, where is the problem? Why should rules remain exactly as they were 100 years ago? If tradition is important, then originally Cricket had underarm bowling, today it is not considered in the spirit of the game. So i'd say today's cricket is an insult to the original spirit of Cricket? Who cares?

raj said...

Also, why does Cricket calls its rules as "Laws"? Every other sport is humble enough to call them rules, thereby defining the function as something that will level the playing field for all participants. But Cricket? Cricket must define its rules as "Laws", thereby implying that if you break a rule in Cricket, you do something fundamentally inimical to mankind? Bullshit. It is just a game. As Lance Klusener observed, "nobody died". It is not war. Loosen up is what I'd advice to Cricket Law Fanatics.

Jonathan said...

Raj, I think your general rant doesn't really apply to Amy's original post, either! As for our differences - the attitude to rules keeps popping up. Of course, in this very discussion, I have pointed out again why I don't think your approach works, not that you are convinced. Having said that, I am surprised that you say "rules are the same for everyone now" - that is my point as well, and is all we can hope for in terms of fairness looking forward (that is, ignoring all the kids who gave up bowling because they were called for things that might be ok now).

The question of what the same rules should be is a separate one. It's far more subjective one, and I don't think I've said much here about my own opinion of where the line should be drawn (for what it's worth, originally I thought Murali's action deserved the benefit of the doubt - I just don't think the people who thought differently are part of some big conspiracy).

As for the name, it's not quite the only sport using the word 'laws' - I'd guess it's just because they are older than the rules of most sports, dating from a time when the word 'law' was used more widely. After all, even the laws implemented by our government include many arbitrary rules (e.g. traffic), not just things "inimical to mankind".

raj said...

Jonathan, right there. I guess we have fundamentally different attitude to rules. As long as rules are same to everyone, and interpreted accordingly, I see no problems. Even here, Aus and Eng had a veto at some point of time, and the rules werent same for all nations. Rules favoured aus and Eng,a nd if they didnt, they used their power to change the rules. BCCI is only continuing that tradition - I dont see a problem with that. That is how powerful people behave. This cycle will turn, and no matter how nicely BCCI behaves now and even if the BCCI were just and fair now, I am pretty sure that Eng and Aus, if they get back powerr, will go back to their pre-90's ways of misusing their power. SO, it makes all the more sense for BCCI to make hay while the sun shines because when the sun sets, you can be sure that ECB and CA will pulverize them