The aspect of chucking in cricket simply refuses to leave the game. Every time one feels that one had seen enough of the rows over illegal bowling action a new brouhaha erupts. From Muttiah Muralidharan, Shoaib Akhtar to Saeed Ajmal, the unsavoury episode in cricket keeps rearing its ugly head from time to time. The latest to open up the pandora’s box happens to be a young fast bowler from Pakistan Muhammed Hasnain, who was accused by Australia’s Marcus Stoinis of chucking during the Big Bash League. Hence, it won’t be out of place to talk about some prominent cricketers to face scrutiny over their bowling actions over the years.
Muttiah Muralidharan (Sri Lanka)
One of the finest off spinners the cricketing world has ever seen was also in the news for his improper bowling action. In the 1995 Boxing Day Test in Australia, the wily tweaker was called out by umpire Daryll Hair for “throwing the ball” multiple times in the match. After enduring some tough times with Hair during the match the Sri Lanka team decided to approach the ICC after the game to assess what is wrong with their premier bowler’s action. After a lot of drama, Muralidharan was finally cleared to bowl post a biochemical analysis by two reputed universities across the globe, which concluded that the bowler’s action was creating a false impression of chucking. Despite the clean chit some of the prominent cricketers, especially the legendary Bishen Singh Bedi, continued to throw verbal barbs at the Sri Lankan off-spinner’s bowling action.
Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan)
The “Rawalpindi Express” also came under scrutiny over his bowling action in 1999. After the incident, Shoaib Akhtar was barred from bowling for a month and then came back to cricket with a remodelled action. Again in 2001, he was called out for his action and banned from bowling in international cricket. However, the ICC, yet again, cleared him of the charges and permitted him to bowl again. However, the torment of chucking continued to haunt him with several players like Virender Sehwag questioning the legitimacy of his action from time to time.
Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan)
Known in the cricketing circle as “Jadugar” Ajmal for his ability to create magic with the ball, the right-arm off spinner’s world came crashing down in 2014 when his action was deemed to be illegal by the ICC. After an analysis by ICC’s Human Movement Specialist, it came to light that the Pakistan tweaker was bending his arm beyond the prescribed limits, 42-44 degrees. Resultantly, he was banned from bowling further in international cricket. However, Ajmal came back to the world of cricket later on through a remodelled action, but he looked like a plain caricature of his past self in the new avatar. Eventually, he lost his place in the side and called it quits in 2017.
David Gower (England)
Known prominently as a batsman of grace and elegance, the former England cricketer also bore the brunt of chucking allegation in 1986. With just one run to get and eight wickets at disposal, victory was a foregone conclusion for New Zealand against England. However, Gower in a bid to bring some excitement into a no-hope scenario bowled with a peculiar action that was deemed illegal by the umpire. Thus, he managed the unwanted record of becoming the first English player to be no-balled in an international fixture. Well, the cricketing world did not witness Gower bowling much after the incident.