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Tennis ball the secret for Slinger Malinga

Martin Gough | 19:22 UK time, Saturday, 31 March 2007

Martin GoughGuyana - Want to develop a bowling action like Lasith Malinga? Try bowling with a tennis ball.

Malinga grew up in Galle, in the south of Sri Lanka, doing just that. If you have tried to bowl over-arm with a tennis ball in the office, or your mother’s lounge, you will have found the exaggerated bounce a problem.

Try it side-arm and it skids through normally, although you may not be good enough to take four wickets with successive balls in an international, as Malinga managed against South Africa last Wednesday.

“He’s come through playing tennis ball cricket, hence his exaggerated low arm action,” said coach Tom Moody in response to a particularly vague question from a BBC reporter on Saturday.

“Thankfully in the process of moving up to international level he hasn’t been mucked about. He’s been left to be as natural as possible, he’s reaping the benefit and so it the team.”

Lasith Malinga

After his amazing spell against South Africa, the comments came pouring in about the legality of Malinga’s action and whether he throws the ball. Of course the International Cricket Council would swiftly haul him up if his elbow were seen to bend more than the 15 degrees allowed, especially on such a big stage.

I don't believe there is any flexion in his elbow and that the doubts arise because it is such a shock to see him in action for the first time.

In a change to the norm, nets at Guyana National Stadium are set up so that the hoi polloi can stand directly behind the batsman and get a real feel for what it must be like to face the world’s best bowlers.

In one net, bowling to Kumar Sangakkara, on Saturday were star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, pace bowler Dilhara Fernando and the man with the blond-tinted curls, Slinger Malinga.

Fernando was easy enough to follow, while I tried to get a look at Murali’s wrist and the turn on the ball without being too confident I would be able to put a bat in the right direction.

But with Malinga I had absolutely no idea where the ball was coming from or where it was going.

Shaun Pollock must have felt the same way when he was so confused he asked umpire Daryl Harper to remove his hat so he could sight the delivery better, only to be bowled by a slower ball.

“He has a very unique action, unique hairstyle, he’s unique in that he bowls at 90mph and is about 5ft 10ins,” said Moody.

“He is one of these unique bowlers that tend to crop up, particularly in Sri Lanka. We’ve had Murali who is a special bowler and this guy is a little bit different.”

I suggested to Moody it must be difficult to retain consistency and avoid injury with a style that unorthodox.

“It’s surprisingly grooved,” he said. “He has, over the past 12 months, continually improved his consistency with his control.

“So far – touch wood – he has been strong. We’ve rested him when we’ve felt that it’s not time to overload him but I think he’s going to be around for a while.”

There is more consistency to come, though. In the excitement over his bowling at the death against South Africa, it has been almost forgotten his first four overs went for 37.

“We’ve got to look at it realistically – he bowled poorly for six overs in that match and came back and bowled well for three overs,” Moody added.

“We’re working on those six overs now and bottling the confidence from the three overs. He knows he is far from bowling the complete match.”

Moody’s was the first of two media conferences at Guyana National Stadium on the eve of Sri Lanka’s clash with West Indies.

He was followed by Brian Lara, who looked tired but dealt patiently with an interrogation into selection policy.

Thankfully, it looks like Lara’s men will be roared on by a packed ground – or close to it – on Sunday with only a limited number of tickets still on sale the previous morning.

Lara made clear his disappointment at the swathes of empty seats in Antigua during the Super 8 defeats to Australia and New Zealand and perhaps a full house will help spark the home side back to life.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:37 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Tux wrote:

First "purdah" now "hoi polloi"? Have you got a thesaurus with you when you write these? ; ) I'm interested to see what the next synonym is going to be!

Love the blog : )

  • 2.
  • At 07:43 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Dave Peckham wrote:

I may be wrong but I class Malinga's bowling as chucking.
Surely coming in from the side is no more than throwing?

I just can't see it as overarm bowling?

Am I wrong?

I must admit, the first time i saw Malinga bowl i was more shocked than i was to see murali bowl. But after i realised that both bowlers are so talented, you can ignore the fact their deliveries seem a bit unorthodox to the eye.

Hope the Lankans do well (even though i am Indian).

  • 4.
  • At 08:51 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Mutahar Chalmers wrote:

I can't help that the instinctive suspicion of Asian bowlers with unorthodox actions betrays a certain prejudice. The fact of the matter is that in cricket's early days (ie 19th century), both round- and underarm bowlers were common. Indeed roundarm bowling preceded the now familiar overarm delivery, which was actually illegal before being permitted in the late 1800s.

Chucking is when the arm straightens during the final part of the delivery - Malinga's arm is straight throughout, thus it is not chucking.

  • 5.
  • At 09:44 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • eric mc gowan wrote:

ireland for the world cup!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 6.
  • At 09:54 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Pete wrote:

Presumably he'd moved on from the tennis ball by the time he learnt reverse swing.

  • 7.
  • At 11:08 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Martin Gough wrote:

Dave Peckham,

Here's the relevant law:,50,AR.html

Underarm is not allowed but anything above the shoulder is fine as long as the elbow doesn't bend. Jeff Thomson is just one example of a bowler with a round-arm type motion.

  • 8.
  • At 11:48 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • AH-1701 wrote:

Why is Michael Vaughan still in the England side ?

Holy Smokes!

...."WILD MAN, Slinga Malinga from Sri LANKA" [Show] the locals what yah gat, Sonny Bhai. If you'll just repeat the same hot bowlers, like you tossed those [nice boys from SA] next time around. You'd be the toast of the town ... Bowlahwallah. Yes, Maan!
Best regards,

PS: You don't mind a bit of advice, from a Guyana lady! ; o )

  • 10.
  • At 12:06 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

There is nothing wrong with Malinga's action, and to use a more modern example than Thommo, Fidel Edwards from the West Indies.

He is also an example of how well grooved the action needs to be, because with an orthadox action, if you time the release incorrectle, technically, the ball takes the same line, but the length is affected. With a sling action, an early release means the ball goes fuller and further towards the leg side (for a right hander) than intended, and a late release drags the ball short and wide on the off side.

I think Malinga is a fantastic bowler for having got the ball to go roughly where he wants it with some form of consistency, so well the action needs to be grooved, and that's before taking the pace and reverse swing into account.

  • 11.
  • At 12:44 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • chris wrote:

Lasith Malinga! is so frustrating to watch, Its a throw, its not baseball, its cricket, if Flintoff was to bowl like that he would be bowling over 150mph! its ridiculous. Can someone please have some reason with this!

  • 12.
  • At 04:19 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • andre wrote:

i think Malinga is now a great challenge to any a batsman in the world and his action is not very easy to immitate.

  • 13.
  • At 04:33 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • goose wrote:

Interesting fact but as a youngster growing up in the West Indies (Antigua) I can tell u that no one had the money or equipment for cricket. All lads up until senior high school years, learned to play and develop their actions and shots with tennis balls and self made wooden bats. It is only after being good at this, do you even get a chance at selection for a school team where you use the "real" stuff. If you chucked forget even being asked to play again. :-)


  • 14.
  • At 05:14 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • UDoGG wrote:

For all this time.. there was no talk of Malinga's bowling action.. all of a sudden he does something absolutely incredible.. and now there is something wrong with his action???? Humm.. this sounds familiar... didn't the same thing happen in 95 with a certain spinner from Sri Lanka as well??

If you can't face him.. don't give excuses.. He's been in international cricket for 3 years now.. so if the ICC hasn't found anything wrong with his action in 3 years.. chances are.. there's nothing wrong with it.. Its not like the guy changed his action yesterday..

Flintoff bowling 150mph?? he might wanna try to just bowl straight in the next game before he tries to bowl like Malinga.. hope that helps!

  • 15.
  • At 05:45 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • dizzy wrote:

His action is strange .......there is no question about that - and he must be a nightmare to mentioned in the article - you just wouldn't know where or when the ball was coming from! ~players who don't study his action could be easily fooled, as he proved from his 4 from 4 balls!

that said, his arm remains straight! - and as moody said, his action is legal, just different...

Malinga looks like a wild man, and bowls like a wild man! he is a true charachter of the game and entertaining to watch. Hope he does well! ...just not against the aussies! *wink*

  • 16.
  • At 06:32 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Chris Williams wrote:

Malinga's action is perfectly legitimate.

The cricket definition of a throw is where there is a straightening of the shoulder-elbow-wrist angle of greater than 15 degrees after the hand has passed above the shoulder. You can even bowl with a right-angled, cocked, throwing-style arm if you want to, provided you don't actually straighten it (as in the actual throwing part) during the delivery. Of course, you'll get less speed doing this (basic geometry), which is precisely why fast bowlers don't do it.

Now: A number of people think that Malinga's action ought to be illegal, and there are some perfectly rational reasons which might support this line of argument, but the fact of the matter is that, according to the actual rules of the game, together with other perfectly rational reasons, it isn't. It's perfectly kosher.

With regard to comment no. 6, Malinga gets swing in two different ways. One is that he cocks his wrist slightly upwards during the bowl, so he gets close to seam-based swing like a normal quick bowler. The second way is as a product of his unique action. If you bowl with an almost-horizontal slingy action, you can impart a kind of spin (as all quicks can - it's part of the seamer's delivery motion), except that, because of the delivery angle, the axis of the spin is almost vertical (so it's a side-spin), as opposed to horizontal as with a normal seamer (more of a back-spin). The ball will then "swing" or swerve according to the Magnus Effect ( The Magnus effect is the same effect which allows Beckham / Federer etc. to bend the ball in flight. "Normal" swing is not caused by the Magnus effect, but by an asymmetric turbulence induced on either side of an upright seam.

I've heard this offered as one reason why Malinga's action ought to be illegal; another is that the ball is released from a height and position which is impossible to achieve from any other bowling style. A good counter-argument, though, is "So what?", or "Deal with it". We don't proscribe any number of crazy spinners' actions, provided the action is legal (which Malinga's is), so the variety simply adds to the problems that batsmen have to cope with.

To those who think it's "cheating", I have a simple proposal: Go out and try it (I mean really try it, at speed, without straightening the arm). It's harder to be accurate and effective with that action than with a conventional over-arm style; good batsmen will tear any inaccuracy or waywardness to shreds, and prepare yourselves for a few wides. If Malinga can make it work, good luck to him, I say.

I do wish people wouldn't compare it to Jeff Thomson's action, though. Thommo's action was about twenty degrees off vertical; Malinga's is about fifteen off horizontal. Both legal, just nowhere near the same.

  • 17.
  • At 06:45 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Manik wrote:

Well four wickets in a row, already people are questioning his action what a pity. Why not question Shaun Tait, Andrew Flintoff, Andrew Hall, Sreesanth. All of them are very suspect.

If Malinga is chucking he will never bowl the yorkers or the length he is bowling now, all what he bowl will be out of off stump or far away from it.

Get a life.

  • 18.
  • At 06:57 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Manik wrote:

Oooops I forgot onw more, he is not playing the world cup. BRET LEE.

  • 19.
  • At 07:51 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Ulhas wrote:

Nevermind the elbow being bent, lets have the whole arm from shoulder to wrist not straying more than 15 degrees from the perpendicular.

  • 20.
  • At 08:06 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • chintaka wrote:

Yes if Shohib Aktar and Bret Lee played at this world cup, it would have been even more interesting. I really like Bret Lee's cricket. Incase people haven't noticed. He's good at lower-order batting also.

  • 21.
  • At 08:56 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • chintaka wrote:


You are misinformed mate, Sidearm bowling is legal, as long as it is not on or below the horizon. Sidearm bowling thesedays is rare. But Waqar Younis and Jeff Thomson were also sidearm, even though their actions weren't that weird.

Annway I've met Lasith Malinga at a bank. I'm 5'10", he's defintely shorter - between 5'6" and 5'8".

And also, whenever a sidearm bowler releases the ball, his backfoot is always perpendicular to his front foot. Ina frontarm bowler the feet are close to parallel.

  • 22.
  • At 09:03 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • cricket mad wrote:

His action is weird but I think its OK long as he keeps his bowling arm straight

  • 23.
  • At 09:33 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • marc mckee wrote:

there is nothing wrong with malinga's action. you simply are not allowed to straighten the arm. oops, sorry, have forgotten that the icc has changed its laws to cater for one man who throws...hmm wonder who that can be.....? am appalled that murali is still allowed to play. all his stats should be expunged from the record books. warne proved that you can bamboozle batsmen without having to resort to cheating.

  • 24.
  • At 09:54 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Regarding Lara's comments about the empty seats, this rests entirely with the World Cup organisers who, in their greed, have set prices that the locals simply cannot afford. This is outrageous.

They should be ashamed of themselves, and it's clear for all to see how their elitist policy has backfired - spectacularly.

  • 25.
  • At 10:25 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • CTR wrote:

As someone who plays lowly club cricket, Malinga's action reminds me of that of several ageing fast bowlers who have kept going into their 50s and 60s. As age catches up with them and joints stiffen, the once high action slowly becomes lower until it becomes more sidearm than overarm. But if they retain their accuracy they remain very effective, and often surprise batsmen as the ball arrives along an unexpected line (batsmen are used to the ball coming from beside the bowler's body, not an arm's length away) and skids through rather than achieving the bounce that other bowlers do (since it has been released from much lower than normal). Another example of how pampered first-class cricketers can't cope with the variety that is part and parcel of club cricket?

i dont seem to see anything wrong with slinger Malinga's fact i think it brings a lot of diversity and a sense of thrill to the game,especially the more established batsmen.
i mean juss imagine him bowling to Gilly or Ricky...
at times the orthodox stuff tends to make the game a drag,especially if it tends to be one-sided,so a bit of variation in attack will not only keep the batsmen awake but also keep spectators the world over on the edges of their seats regardless of the team one is supporting.

  • 27.
  • At 12:41 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • geneva wrote:

Hay Guys.. don't waste your time on Malinga's action is too late & he has proved himself to be a worldclass specially against a giant team (South Africa)...Had there been any opportunity, interested parties in the form of media, umpires etc would have come forward through their close knits to destroy him well in advance as they tried to destroy Murali from Australian & South African frontiers, very tactfully. more over if Malinga was from SA or Australia will it be the same color of tone...Pl. hail his true sportsmanship with youthful smile, humbleness, nonarrogace, nonabusiveness & bless him to participate in the next world cup too to entertain us.

  • 28.
  • At 12:47 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Mike James wrote:

In England Malinga's natural action would have been coached out of him at a very early age. In England the bowling action must be pretty uniform. Can you remember any English quick of the 1990's having a distinctive bowling action? Andrew Caddick and Dean Headlry aside I cannot remember one.

The problem with quirky players is that they aren't allowed to be good, they are supposed to be a one or two match oddity that vanishes after sudden impact.

Being different always incurs the wrath of the majority, why? If you have worked long and hard not to be a sheep why can't you enjoy your success?

Cricket is a richer game due to the characters, people like Murali, Malinga, Paul Adams, Dwayne Leverock, Andre Nel etc - don't worry there are plenty of others the normal people can admire - the Lara's, Tendulkar's, McGrath's etc but please leave alone the people who want to do things a little differently!

If Flintoff tried Malinga's action he would probably seperate this shoulder whilst achieving a speed of 70 mph. It is a pity that some people think that Malinga created his bowling action 'overnight' and there is no skill involved. If England unrooted a player of similar style the same people who curse Malinga would root for him.

  • 29.
  • At 01:03 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Boris wrote:

The only thing that suprise me about Malinga is that he makes a lots of guys cry foul.
The reason why?they have short memory just over 30 years ago a lad name Jeff Thomson came on scenewith the same action he was fast and everyone cheers him on

  • 30.
  • At 02:02 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Usman Shaikh wrote:

It is not related to this article but didnt know where to write it. So am using this platform.

Pakistan and India's exit from the tournament is not only a blow to the respective nations but also a big blow to the ICC and to cricket itself.

Cricket is a very predictable game. I dont agree with those who say it is unpredictable. If one good team is playing another good team, a few overs can decide the fate of the match. If not a few overs, one inning can decide the fate of the match. A team can bat the other team out by scoring a lot of runs. For example a target of 350+ is highly unlikely to be chased. Similalry a team can bowl the other team out. For example a team dismissing the other at only 120 or below. So even between the two good teams, matches can be predictable. It becomes even more predictable if a good team is playing a bad team. Australia will surely defeat banagladesh, ireland, netherland, scotland etc. Similarly other good teams will surely defeat bad teams. Yes exceptions are there but chances are very low. 1 in 1000 may be. The reason may be that there is always time to recover.

Now on one bad day, Pakistan and India lost to Ireland and Bangladesh. That was a shock to the world. Nothing to take away from the efforts of Bangladesh and Ireland but there was no comparison between the teams in both the matches. An event that comes after 4 years, you cant throw a team out for losing 1 match. If Pskistan play Ireland 20 times, I promise you they will win each time. If they play their A team against Ireland 20 times, that A team will also beat Ireland 20 times. Same is true with India and Bangladesh. India will beat Bangladesh almost as many times they will play each other. History suggests just that. Now dont you think their is some problem in the pattern of the tournament. Consider another sport. Football. It is far less unpredictable than cricket is. Any team participating in the worldcup can defeat any other team. If Brazil plays Ghana, brazil has more chances of winning but Ghana will win 1 out of every 5 matches. Greece who failed to qualify for WC are the EURO defending champions. Spain being a great team often fails to qualify for semis and quarter finals. All I am trying to say is that there is a huge competition in there. Even if two good teams play each other, match can change in the space of 2 minutes. A team leading by 3 goals can not be sure of winning. You must have remembered Champions League final 2 years ago. AC Milan vs Liverpool. In 6 minutes, liverpool levelled the match from 3-0 down. I remember countless examples where a match was dead and burried but other team went on to win. Yesterdays Chelsea victory, Manus loss to Arsenal this season, Manus Champions League Victory. I mean the excitement is there until the very end. But in cricket, such matches are very few. Like may be Africa defeating the Aussies chasing that 432. but how many of these do you remember? and only a few matches go down to the wire. For example in this world cup, only one match had a close finish. SA vs SL. and that was also pretty much predictable except for those 4 bowls by Malinga.

Keeping all these things in mind, keeping in mind the predictability of the game (cricket), exit of Asian Giants, India and Pakistan, have made it even more predictable. The worldcup has become bored. 10 matches of super 8 are mere formality. I mean the big teams playing Bangaldesh and Ireland. Had those two teams be India and Pakistan, it would have been a different story altogether. For example, if India had been playing Austrlia in yesterdays match, it could have been a close match. Now assume that West Indies lost to Sri Lanka today, they will be all but out of the tournament and you will be left with Australia, SA, NZ, SL, and England fighting for the 4 spots. Had it been India and Pakistan in the Super Eight, it wouldnt have been sure until the last match perhaps.

All I am trying to say is that the format of the current cup is not good. It is unfair to some extent. 92 worldcup format was the best where each team got to play each team. Yes the ICC would like to include more teams in the World Cup but you can eliminate them in the Prelimenary round. May be the top 6 qualify directly and the remaining 3 or 4 qualify by some preliminary round. There are so few good teams that each team can play each team.

Tomorrow Bangladesh play NZ and day after tomorrow Ireland play SA. What do you expect? Odds for NZ are 1.07 and for SA 1.03. So much predictability is not good for the game.

I hope ICC would consider changing this format the next time and give each team a fair chance. If you agree with me, kindly forward this to one of the ICC officials. If not, then tell me why you dont agree.

  • 31.
  • At 02:48 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Martin Gough wrote:

Usman Shaikh, Good to have you on board.

If you want to start your own discussion, the best place to do it is the 606 site:

And perhaps you could give me a hand with this thread while you're there:

  • 32.
  • At 02:53 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Dan wrote:

In response to Usman Shaikh:-

There is nothing wrong with the world cup format and to blame it for the exits of Pakistan and India is farcical. Firstly this format makes it almost ridiclously easy to qualify to the super eights as all you need to do is beat the two minnows. To fail to qualify you need to lose TWICE out of three matches.

It is a shame that India and Pakistan aren't in the super eights, but the format isn't to blame, exceptionally poor cricket from India and Pakistan is to blame for that.

By choosing to ignore the fact that sport is all about the performance on the day and choosing to focus on the relative skill levels of the players, you completely miss the point of competitive sport e.g. it is a competition between teams to see who is the better on that particular day.

The smaller teams should be given a fair chance to play the big teams (as it is clearly invaluable for their development) and the top teams do not have a god given right to play in the super eights.

  • 33.
  • At 03:28 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • abrar wrote:

Quite interesting and unique post. As i have been playing with tenis or tape tenis ball, its true that to get some extra speed with a lighter ball u need some sort of throwing. If u bowl the tenis ball with a normal action, it would hardly reach at the other end due to air resistance.
With a side arm action even the baller does'nt know exactly whats gonna happen, so how can batter know. Both r at guessing

  • 34.
  • At 03:30 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • abrar wrote:

Your posts always creats some controversies(like s8 no place for minnows)so let me say " MG is the Malinga of Sport Journalism"

  • 35.
  • At 04:19 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Usman Shaikh wrote:


I agree with most of what you have said. Exceptionaly poor cricket by Pakistan and India is to blame for their exit. Correct. Minnows deserve to play the better teams and it is invaluable for them. Correct. Top teams do not have a God gifted right to play in the super eight. Correct.

But I still do not agree with the format of the world cup. ICC not only expected but wanted the big 8 to qualify. Otherwise they wouldn't have opted for this super 8 format. This whole format was designed to see the 8 big teams to reach the next round and then have a competition among them. The idea was right but it didnt work that way. Once again, nothig to take away from the performances of Ireland and Bangladesh, but because of their presence in the Super 8, 11 out of 24 matches are meaningless. Before yesterdays match between Aus and Ban, both australia and newzealand had 2 wins out of 2. 1 carried from their group match and other against westindies. Both of them were (even before aus vs ban match) were vitually assured of a place in the semifinals because everyone knows they had to play Ban and ireland. Can you agree to a format where a team has to play 7 matches and it is assured of a semifinal place after just one match?

Consider from whatever point of view you like, the presence of Ireland and Banglandesh or for that matter the absence of India and Pakistan in the Super 8 is a blow to cricket. From the marketing point of view: Less interest from the Public as 11 of 24 matches are meaningless. Monetary point of view: Loss of ticket money of those 11 matches and loss of Sponsorships from Cricket Mad nations. Entertainment point for view: more than 40% boring matches in the Super 8. Competitiveness: 4 out of 6 rather than 4 out of 8 teams are fighting for the 4 spots.

One way or the other the format is wrong. I still insist that until the other teams grow in experience, it should be a tournament among 10 teams. 6 qualifying directly and 4 through some prelimenary round. In that prelimenary round, include the remaining 10 teams. If this looks unfair, then we should opt for a qualifying system like Euro qualifier or WC football qualifier which teams are placed in groups and each team plays other on home and away basis. Something needs to be done about it, whatever that may be. As it stands now, it is very boring.

  • 36.
  • At 05:12 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • DG wrote:

Usman Shaikh, unfortunately the comments do come across as a whine. If India and Pakistan had indeed beaten Bangladesh and Ireland respectively and qualified for the next round, would there be calls to change things up? People would have complained that the first round of matches was meaningless.

You can't have it both ways. Giving the "top six" teams byes into a second round wouldn't work. Who would be the "top six" anyway? No guarantee that India would be there.

Yes, it hurts from a money/sponsorship point of view to miss out on the potential 1.2 billion person support from India. But that's the nature of tournaments. Surprises happen and faulting the nature of the tournament because the 'big nations' missed out, is sour grapes. Let's suppose even that it was the smaller (in population) Test nations, Windies and Kiwis, that missed out. One would predict no outcry from yourself.

The football analogy doesn't make sense either. In the first round, superpowers get knocked out early as well (Czech Republic, Argentina in the past). Surprise teams (remember Senegal's great run?) enrich the tournament, and who's to say that a Bangladesh or Ireland don't have aone more magical moment in wait?

The only blow to cricket is the persons who really wanted to see India or Pakistan play further. The game hasn't taken a blow in Bangladesh, I'm sure of it.

But you're probably going to get your wish anyway and the ICC will rework the World Cup next time so that the big nations get two chances to pad their numbers and avoid the one-off "shock loss". Probably first round as normal with exception that they'll play each team twice. Then the second round would be two groups of four so as to cut down on number of matches. I don't think they'll give the bye option any credit as people want to see the big stars play as much as possible.

Come on Sri Lanka. I know you support the Heppers Lepers @

  • 38.
  • At 06:13 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Kingsley Peter wrote:

Brian Lara must be commended for his years of consistent cricket and also to sanath jayasuriya the old lion. Both the West ion dies and Sri Lanka must be commended for their vintage cricket performsnces.

  • 39.
  • At 07:24 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Jarad wrote:

he's a wonderfully unique bowler to watch. definitely not a "chucker", keeps his arm (essentially) straight through the action. there is nothing illegal about the round arm action (so long as it doesn't go below the horizontal plane), it's just that it's so unusual, and he leaves you wondering how he can bowl it so accurately with such an unorthodox action. I am Australian, and I think Sri Lanka have the best balanced attack in the WC (closely followed by the NZers).

  • 40.
  • At 08:51 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • shan wrote:

as i have said in my last comment, that this s.l guy has very funny style of bowling and i stand by that, somebody in icc should have second look at his bowling style.

  • 41.
  • At 09:37 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • rohan wrote:

have the racist Ausies come up with any technical team to question malinga's action ????
watch out Malinga you are next to Murali

  • 42.
  • At 10:36 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

I do wish Rohan had not played the racist card in regard to Malinga's action. It is so unnecessary. He should remember that the earliest bowlers who either had to change their action or leave the game altogether were not Asian. Remember Tony Lock, Harold Rhodes and Geoff Cope (all English) and Geoff Griffin (South African)?

As an ACU&S qualified umpire, I have no problem with Malinga's action. His arm is just a lot lower than the stereotypical fast bowling coaches in England would countenance. But it sure is exciting!!

  • 43.
  • At 10:58 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • inoooooo wrote:

u r da brilliant man.we like 2 c hw u shout in sinhalese....
u SHOUT there
we SHOUT here.....
there u r beating points
here we r beating cakes.........
cup is in our ah......
GOD BLESS 2 MA TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 44.
  • At 11:46 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • D Dastur wrote:

Afer reading about a fantastic performance by Sanath Jyasuriya, who absolutely demolished West Indian bowling, and with also a superlative supporting effort by his Captain Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka stands all out now to even beat England, South Africa and New Zealand, though I feel New Zealand may give them some trouble.But I feel as per the present strength and form Sri Lanka will face OZ in the finals. I wished Shewag, Tendulkar and Dravid played with some consistancy, but it is all history.
Tendulkar won the batting honours in 2003 WC, except the finals, but today I wished he never came.

  • 45.
  • At 11:55 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • LDA wrote:

Mainga's action is close to Jeff Thompson's deadly
round-arm style. I'm surprised that no one ever
followed Thompson with a similar style, as it was
legal and scary to front line batsmen everywhere.
Bowling with Lillee, he was a fearsome adversary.

  • 46.
  • At 12:37 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • oneMK wrote:

"I may be wrong but I class Malinga's bowling as chucking.
Surely coming in from the side is no more than throwing?
I just can't see it as overarm bowling?
Am I wrong?"

Dave, I think the law says that as long as the bowling arm doesnt drop below shoulder level it is a legal delivery (assuming elbow doesnt straighten beyound 15 deg.)
From what I have seen so far Malinga's bowling arm doesnt drop below shoulder and there is no flexion of the elbow either. So I would say it is perfectly leagal. Just a wee bit weird thats all!!

  • 47.
  • At 02:07 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Joey Something wrote:

There was a guy who said earlier that Ireland and Bangladesh's presence in the Super 8 was 'a blow to cricket'.

How patronising could you possibly be? Ireland and Bangladesh have got to the Super 8 on merit, because they scored more points in their group games than the so-called bigger teams in their group. If these teams weren't supposed to get through, why involve them in the first place? In fact, let's go one step further - lets get rid of the 'minnows', and have a straight knock-out tournament with the big guns. Yeah, and we could have it every other year, and we could call it the 'ICC Champions Trophy'...and then we could all moan about how much of a big waste of time, money and players' effort it is.

Complaining about the format of the World Cup is like complaining about the format of the FA Cup. Should we just cut to the chase and have a semi final between Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal? No, it never works out that way, does it? Just because Ireland and Bangladesh have got to the Super 8 instead of 2 cricketing 'superpowers' doesn't mean you can go and demean the achievements of these two nations. Pakistan and India don't have a right to be in this stage - and if they were to play that badly, I daresay we'd have complained even more about the quality of the spectacle of this World Cup even more.

  • 48.
  • At 06:06 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • John wrote:

Firstly, I can't wait to see this Malinga guy bowl, living in Japan I miss out on a lot.

As far as the minnows debate is concerned- Mr Shaikh, you just don't have a leg to stand on. Firstly, as against what Martin Gough said on his other thread, Ireland also had to cause an upset against Zimbabwe in order to qualify so there was some consistency.

Secondly, the only way to be sure to avoid the possibility of these kind of results leading to a series of one-sided matches is to have a format like the football world cup whereby there is a number of knock out rounds. This of course would make no difference to Pakistan who would still be on the plane home. If there is any problem with the format of the WC, it is that it is too drawn out.

  • 49.
  • At 07:14 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Robert wrote:

Re: Malinga chucking - the arm clearly bends in the stride before his delivery, but the delivery itself seems perfectly legal. This may be what has started all the muttering. Still not sure how he bowls the ball without dislocating something, though

& the cf with Thompson isn't completely accurate. Throughout his career, Thommo bowled with a startlingly upright sling - it was his back which tilted massively to one side. Hence his speed, bounce & habitual inaccuracy

  • 50.
  • At 07:22 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Sanction Joao wrote:

Fantastic was Malinga against the Proteas. Now the voices of distruction are abound. Please let the guy enjoy his game.

I don't mind his jersey. I support him.Hail Malinga. Hail Murali. Hail Lankans.

  • 51.
  • At 07:25 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • gus wrote:

admittedly it was great to watch "the slinga" get his 4 for, but here`s a question to all the media pundits who are currently fueling the hype about him at the moment, what would the response be if (for example) jimmy anderson came out with a action like that next game?? i somehow can`t imagine bob willis being quite so enthusiastic when it`s one of our own players...

Malinga is the best bowler to watch, he makes cricket fun. His like a special character from a cartoon series. I want Sri Lanka to win the World Cup now.

  • 53.
  • At 09:30 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Steve Connolly wrote:

I watched the highlights of Sri Lanka v. South Africa at the weekend and I too would have to question Malinga's action. It looks more of a sideways action than an overarm action.

The MCC need to look at this guy again, definately suspect.

Steve Connolly

  • 54.
  • At 09:48 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Van wrote:

Good comments Gough. It is always the same with the Aussies and the English men. Soon they find someone who does something they cannot do, its foul all the way. All of a sudden we have bio-mechanic experts giving comments in TMS. Malinga has done something no Lillee, Lee, McGrath could ever do, i.e take a Quatrick.

  • 55.
  • At 09:55 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Wilf wrote:

Malinga does not chuck it. Muralitharan does.

  • 56.
  • At 10:35 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

illegal? yeah right.. think Muralitharan is prob closer to that mark than Malinga ever will be.. Malinga's arm is as straight as a guy should be.. no problems watsoever..

tomorrow i'm gonna try bowling with a tennis ball like Malinga..

  • 57.
  • At 11:44 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Usman Shaikh wrote:


Yeah right if Pakistan and India had made it to the Super 8, I wouldn't have been writing this post. and yes you have every right to call it whining.

I am a Pakistani and thus I was supporting the Pakistan team. With so many controversies surrounding them before the world cup had started, missing of Ace bowlers, injury of Abdul Razzaq, ban of Shahid Afridi, Selection blunders; I wasnt very hopeful that they will lift the cup but I wasnt expecting them to miss on the cut for the super 8 either.

I am not against the minnows qualifying for the next round. Also I am not defending Pakistan or India's performance. All I am suggesting is that because of the presence of teams like Ireland and Bangladesh, who are relatively inexperienced to play at this lecvel, Super 8 has become more predicable and boring too. With each team playing the other team, the chances of minnows qualifying for the semis become almost zero(only theoratically possible but not practically). Super 8 format was designed with the assumaption that big 8 will qualify for this round and then all 24 matches will be good ones.

I agree with you when you said that had the big 8 qualified, people would have said that the first round was a formality. So yeah something is wrong with the format. Either way its not right.

Surprises can be seen in Football but there the competition is huge. At least 16 out of 32 teams in the world cup are real contenders for the cup. Even the teams that miss out for the final 32 are capable of defeating any good side. As you yourself mentioned Senegal. I mentioned Greece in my previous post. But these teams are good enough to go all the way. Same is not true in Cricket. Bangladesh and Ireland are not good enough to reach the semis let alone winning the cup.

Joey mentioned about the FA Cup. Joey you tell me how important is the FA Cup? Parallel to it is running another competition, Premiership, based on almsot same format as Super 8 where each team gets to play the other team on Home and Away basis. No body questions the legality of this format and champion coming out of this is the truly deserving champion. FA Cup is just another tournament with very little importance. There is carling cup going too and even lesser important than FA cup. Importance of these cups can be judged by the fact that most team, even the likes of Tottenham and Reading, play their second string team. Champions League is an important tournament and is played on Home and Away basis. Even in the first round where there are more than two teams, its played on home and away basis. This home and away pattern continues until the final. So even if we have Chelsea vs Barca in the second round, both get enough chances to prove their worth and end of the day, nobody complains. And above all, all these competitions come back every year. I hope I am clear on this.

Take another sport as an example. Tennis. Purely based on knockout format. One defeat and you are out of the tournament whether that be Roger Federer and the tournament is a GrandSlam. But how many Grandslams do you have in one year? 4 and plenty of other ranking tournaments. So enough opportunity to prove your worth.

After just 6 matches of the Super 8, you can safely say 3 teams, WestIndies-Ireland-Bangladesh, are already out of the tournament. and 2 teams, Australia and Newzealand, are already through to the semi finals. Now the remaining 18 matches, I repeat, the remaining 18 matches will decide who of the three, SA, SL, Eng will make it to the semis along with Aus and NZ. 9 of those 18 involve the minnows so meaningless. 50% of the remaining Super 8 matches are meaningless and will be boring. how on Earth can anyone support this format?

I dont know what should be the right format for the World Cup but I know for sure this is not the right one. What I suggested earlier makes some sense to me. You asked who would be the top six? The top six would be the 6 teams at the top of the ranking some 6 months before the tournament begins. If Pakistan and/or India miss out on that, so be it. No one would complain because that ranking is a comprehensive one and is quite fair. The other 3 or 4 should qualify by some pre World cup round.

By the way Martin, do you agree with what I am trying to say?

  • 58.
  • At 11:54 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Talal Desin wrote:

Why is everytime when an asian has problem with bowling action, media or people make the fuss about it. Aint any englishman, australian or south african ever had any with the bowling action, world never heard of it.

Malinga is playing international cricket for sometime now, if their was any problem cricket gurus/council would have already picked it up.

Now that Malinga had a world record the world started making fuss about his action, com'on asians are also good players and when they are playing good they deserve to be appreciated.

Way to go Malinga !!!!!

And now that Pakistan and India are out of the World Cup, only two Asian teams are left Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Though Bangladesh has shown positive results but they are still juniors (i'am not under-estimating, iam only talking about experience). And for Sri Lanka they can do miracles. So i hope that World Cup comes to ASIA.

End note, cricket is a game, some win it some lose it.

And one more thing in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh whenever a child starts playing cricket it is with the tennis ball. Don't know about India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh but in Pakistan we cover the tennis ball with tape. :-)


  • 59.
  • At 01:12 PM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Mike-waTsitsi wrote:

Paddy is on the prowl - go on u fightin' Irish!!!

  • 60.
  • At 01:35 PM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Khurshed wrote:

Dear Chris William

A well thought out and educated argument, such as yours, is a pleasure to see. Personally, i believe, Mallinga's action is perfectly legal for it rests within the framework of the existing rules and if anyone can bowl successfully with a difficult action like that, then kudos to him.

  • 61.
  • At 01:53 PM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Tharindu Jayasinghe wrote:

I think UDoGG gave the perfect answer to Chris and all others who say Malinga's action is questionable after "three" years of his international career began. Flintoff to bowl at 150mph? Well, don't expect anyone else to bowl like Malinga and remember, it is not his bowling action that leads to his deadly speed it is his strength... Good luck for England in the upcoming match against the Lankans... I wonder how the British team is gonna face Malinga... Will be interesting....

  • 62.
  • At 01:54 PM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • JoeySomething wrote:

Usman - I disagree with your assumption that the Super 8 is more predictable with Ireland and Bangladesh. First of all, Bangladesh are a test playing nation. They may not be a good one, but they have a decent coach and some talented player - which some may say is more than the Windies and England have. They beat New Zealand at the start of the World Cup, and are a rapidly improving force in world cricket. Ireland should have beaten Zimbabwe, did beat Pakistan and I wouldn't have been surprised if they had pulled it off against the West Indies as well. Teams like these play with no fear - they have nothing to lose, so they never play within themselves. This is in contrast to India and, in particular, Pakistan, where we have seen the effects of public over-expectation. In these cases, they tend to buckle under pressure.

My point is, many people, apparently including yourself (which is no major deal - most international coaches and journalists are doing the same), underestimate the 'minnows'. If teams do it in the Super 8, where things like run rate will really count, they will come unstuck. If anything, this adds to the intrigue.

My point about the FA Cup...well, lets be honest here, the World Cup runs parallel to other competitions too, you know, like Test series and things like that. I'm not comparing the two like-for-like, but not having the minnows would effectively be the same as only having the big 4 in the semis.

Thought I'd best make a relevant point here as well...English players do get pulled up. Anyone remember James Kirtley? And I think people forget why such a big deal is made about Muralitharan's action - those who believe he chucks also believe he has a massive competitive advantage because of his action (I think he's taken a test wicket or two with it). I have my doubts about Murali still, but none with Malinga. His arm doesn't straighten, and he's fast as a very fast thing. I wouldn't want to face him - I'd actually prefer to face Shoaib or Brett Lee. He looks like a stunning talent, and if he can stay injury free, he could one of the best quicks of the decade.

  • 63.
  • At 02:01 PM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • I Don't Like Cricket wrote:

First point: Nothing wrong with Malinga, different action yes, illegal no.

Second point: racism. i am sick of the asian nations pulling the racism card. in fact their prevalance to use this at any time something done by their nations comes into question is in fact racsim in itself, as they are classing anglo nations stereotypically as biased and bigoted

Third point: at no point has malingas action been questioned by the australian team or press, so why have posters hence accused australia of bias, bigotry and rascism?

  • 64.
  • At 04:11 PM on 03 Apr 2007,
  • Tom Holder wrote:

Personally from watching him I have to say he looks like he's throwing or chucking the ball to me. I tried bowling like that and it feel like I was cheating !

  • 65.
  • At 10:18 PM on 04 Apr 2007,
  • Yorks2e878 wrote:

He throws the thing, how can people not see that!!! Ban it!

  • 66.
  • At 03:25 PM on 05 Apr 2007,
  • Simon Marshall wrote:

Am I alone in this world in recognising that Malinga is a chucker? I find it incredible that he is lauded as the 'bowler of the world cup' whilst someone like James Kirtley has to go through two official bans and seemingly never-ending investigation of his action. By insisting that the only measure of whether a bowler throws or not can only be determined on the basis of inflexion of the elbow is simply the ICC digging itself into a hole and failing to deal with issues which are damaging to the game.

  • 67.
  • At 07:33 PM on 11 Apr 2007,
  • Srilankansouljah wrote:

lol, you all just complaining coz sri lanka kicked england's ass n dey aint gonna make da semi finals now

  • 68.
  • At 08:26 PM on 26 Apr 2007,
  • Rishi wrote:

I think the WC final is probably the best advertisement for the game that there is. Flair, skill and passion against the indomitable Aussies. What could be better? It will be fascinating to see how Hayden, Ponting and Gilchrist take on Malinga and Murali.

As for India and Pakistan, here's Mukul Kesavan's take, with which I completely agree:

To quote: "the elimination of India and Pakistan leaves the World Cup in the West Indies a happier, less toxic tournament"

Spot on.

  • 69.
  • At 08:27 PM on 26 Apr 2007,
  • Rishi wrote:

On predictability:

With the right vision, Bangladesh might turn out the to be next Sri Lanka.

  • 70.
  • At 01:03 PM on 25 Nov 2007,
  • Hitty wrote:

the 5th paragraph of this article says it all. hes within the rules so calling him a chucker wont make him one. i bowl with the same action and i know that bowling like that is nothing like chucking infact its much more harder than bowling with an orthodox action. sure the ball goes faster but that is because your back is used much more than it is used with an orthodox action. i for one totally admire him just for the control that he has on his bowling. for all the people who think he throws try bowling with that action and you will know how much more harder it is


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