Former international umpire Simon Taufel has backed the decision of the on-field official to signal a dead ball after a bowler’s bizarre run up during a match in India.
Vision of young Indian spinner Shiva Singh completing a 360-turn as part of his run up has quickly gone viral, the unusual strategy having played out in an Under-23 match near Kolkata.
Having taken five steps in his run-up, the left-arm spinner than completed a full spin in the air before delivering the ball, which was signalled a dead ball by Umpire Vinod Seshan.
Shiva and his teammates seemed bemused by the Seshan’s decision, but Australian Taufel – a highly-respected umpire who retired in 2012 – says Seshan applied the laws of the game correctly.
"The umpire is entitled to call and signal dead ball under Law 18.104.22.168 (unfair play) or 22.214.171.124 (deliberate attempt to distract),” Taufel told cricketnext.
“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. (It) doesn't seem right or fair to me. If it is his normal bowling action, then maybe (it would be) a different outcome."
Taufel also disputed Shiva’s claim that his action is similar to a batsman changing his stance to play a switch hit or reverse sweep.
"The intent of the reverse action is different," Taufel said.
"One is necessary to play the shot, the other is not in order to maintain the same mode of delivery."
Taufel’s view was supported by the MCC, the official keepers of the Laws of Cricket, who said Seshan’s decision was correct if he deemed that Shiva had intended to distract the batsman.
“The Law states that the offence is the attempt to distract the striker, rather than the striker actually being distracted,” the MCC said in a statement. “Consequently, it was for the umpire to decide if he 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.”
Shiva said he’d incorporated a spin into his run up before and had not drawn any attention from the standing umpires.
"I delivered this 360-degree ball against Kerala in the Vijay Hazare Trophy as well, where it was fine,” he told ESPN.
“Batsman 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."