Cricket world erupts over 'never-before-seen' mystery ball

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

The cricket world is divided over the legality of a young spinner’s controversial new delivery.

Video emerged on social media on Thursday, showing Shiva Singh bowling in an Under-23s match between Bengal and Uttar Pradesh in India.

The left-arm orthodox spinner, who was a member of India’s Under-19 World Cup team this year, does a full 360-degree pirouette before delivering the ball.

The young bowler does a full spin in the air before landing on the popping crease and bowling the ball.

How does he even do that? Image: Bishan Bedi/Twitter

The batsman handles the distraction easily enough, but the umpire deems it to be a dead-ball, leaving the bowler and his teammates up in arms.

The video has since gone viral on social media, with fans and commentators debating the legality of the ball and whether or not the umpire was correct.

“Bowler turning 360 degrees in his run-up is a sure distraction to the batsman. The umpire was right in declaring it a dead ball,” one user wrote.

The umpire called a dead-ball. Image: Bishan Bedi/Twitter

However another opined: “What about switch hits, reverse sweeps and other fancy shots.. Why can’t the bowler also perform some antics as far as the delivery is bowled legally.”

The MCC and a leading Australian umpire have also weighed in with their official verdicts.

A number of fans also commented on how remarkable the piece of skill is, and how they’d never seen such a delivery.

The relevant ruling appears to be in section 41 of the ICC’s official rulebook under ‘unfair play’.

Section 41.2 states:

“The umpires shall be the sole judges of fair and unfair play. If either umpire considers an action, not covered by the Laws, to be unfair he/she shall intervene without appeal and, if the ball is in play, call and signal Dead ball and implement the procedure as set out in 41.19. Otherwise umpires shall not interfere with the progress of play without appeal except as required to do so by the Laws.”

And under 41.4:

“It is unfair for any fielder deliberately to attempt to distract the striker while he/she is preparing to receive or receiving a delivery. 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.”

Bizarre day in cricket circles

It wasn’t the first strange occurrence in the cricket world in the last 24 hours, with England skipper Joe Root shocking purists by fielding on his knees.

Root employed the bizarre tactic during the second day of the first Test against Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

With debutant spinner Jack Leach bowling, Root decided to drop down to his knees while fielding at second slip.

But rather than pop up once Leach delivered the ball, he stayed on his knees the whole time.