Cricket like every other sport has a few sets of rules and regulations in order to make the game fair in true sense.

For bowlers, the governing body of the sport, the International Cricket Council (ICC), has set a legal limit of permissible bending of the elbow joint.

What is chucking in cricket?

Chucking in cricket refers to an illegal bowling action which occurs when a bowler throws the ball instead of bowling. 

The bowler is considered to be chucking if he/she bends the elbow joint over 15 degrees while completing his delivery. The laws of the game also specify that only rotation of the shoulder can be used to impart velocity to the ball.

As per the rules, an umpire has the authority to declare it as a no-ball if the bowler is found to be chucking the ball.

The law set by the ICC is applied between the point where the bowling arm passes above the shoulder height and the point where the ball is released. Some sort of natural flexing of the elbow joint must take place and must be allowed during the course of legal delivery. 

ICC tests the players’ action using high-tech biomechanics and experts to determine the legality. If a bowler is found to be chucking, he/she needs to get their action rectified before they are allowed to take the field once again in international cricket.

Bowling action rules

The official rules state that, “a ball is fairly delivered in respect of the arm if, once the bowler's arm has reached the level of the shoulder in the delivery swing, the elbow joint is not straightened partially or completely from that point until the ball has left the hand.”

In simple words, once the bowling arm reaches the height of the shoulder, the elbow joint must not straighten until the ball is released. However, the bowlers are allowed to flex or rotate their wrist in the delivery swing.

Why is chucking illegal in cricket?

Chucking in cricket is illegal as it gives an added advantage to the bowlers in the game. If a bowler flexes his/her arm over 15 degrees, he/she gets to generate more pace and trouble the batters.

Chucking is also common among spinners in cricket, as they get an additional advantage. They are able to generate more rotations on the ball which is unfair to the batters and the sport in general.

Cricketers who have been accused of chucking

Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, Sri Lanka off-spinner Muthiah Muralitharan, India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and West Indies mystery spinner Sunil Narine have been accused of chucking in international cricket.

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Featured photo: WILLIAM WEST / AFP