Shiva Singh’s 360-Degree Bowling Style Confuses Cricketing World

Left-arm spinner Shiva Singh became the talk of the cricketing world on Thursday after he rotated 360 degrees in his run-up, just prior to delivery. Much to the surprise of the bowler and his teammates the umpire signaled a dead ball, courtesy the Uttar Pradesh spinner’s unique delivery style.

The incident occurred on the third day of a CK Nayudu Trophy match between Bengal and Uttar Pradesh in Kalyani in West Bengal.

While Bengal were batting in their second innings, Shiva, who was bowling from around the wicket, ran in, turned 360 degree before releasing the ball. The Bengal batsman at the other end was caught off-guard while umpire Vinod Seshan immediately declared it as a dead ball.

Despite the 360-degree theatrics, Shiva, who was part of the U-19 winning squad in 2018, did not switch his bowling arm.

This incident comes at a time when bowlers are at the end of their wits to curtail the domination of batsmen in the game. Bowlers have tried everything from ambidextrous bowling to pausing in the middle of the bowling action to get the better of the batsmen.

According to Shiva, this is not the first time that he had bowled in the 360-degree style, but it was the first instance when an umpire called it a dead ball.

"“I delivered this 360-degree ball against Kerala in the Vijay Hazare Trophy as well, where it was fine. Batsmen always go for the reverse-sweep or the switch-hit against bowlers. But when bowlers do something like this it’s deemed a dead ball.”" - Shiva Singh to ESPNCricinfo

"I use different variations in one-dayers and T20s, so I thought of doing the same because the Bengal batsmen were developing a partnership. The umpires said dead ball, so I asked, 'why are you calling it a dead ball?' added Shiva.

Five-time ICC Umpire of the Year Simon Taufel sided with the on-field umpire and said Seshan was well within his rights to call it a dead ball.

“The umpire is entitled to call and signal dead ball under Law 20.4.2.1 (unfair play) or 20.4.2.7 (deliberate attempt to distract/deceive/obstruct). It's up to the umpire but one would have to ask why the bowler did this and have to assume the only reason would be to distract or put the striker off. Doesn't seem right or fair to me. If it is his normal bowling action, then maybe a different outcome," Taufel told cricketnext.

The law-keepers of the game, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), stated that it was for the umpire to decide if he/she felt that the tactic was done as an attempt to distract the striker.

"Unless the 360-degree twirl was part of the bowler's run-up for every ball, the umpire may need to consider whether he/she feels that the twirl was done in an attempt to distract the batsman in some way. This is particularly so if there was no apparent advantage to be gained from the twirl, unlike, for example, the bowler varying the width of the release point or the length of his/her run-up, which are entirely lawful,” MCC under the 'law blog' section of the Lord's website.

Under Law 41.4, the bowler is counted as a fielder and the law states:

  • 41.4.1 It is unfair for any fielder deliberately to attempt to distract the striker while he/she is preparing to receive or receiving a delivery.
  • 41.4.2 If either umpire considers that any action by a fielder is such an attempt, he/she shall immediately call and signal ‘dead ball’ and inform the other umpire of the reason for the call.

The cricket world seemed to be divided regarding Shiva’s antics. While former England captain Michael Vaughan was impressed with Shiva, India’s spin legend Bishan Singh Bedi called Shiva "weirdo".

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