Can a bowler spin around 360 degrees in their run-up?

In 2018, Shiva Singh became an internet sensation. The young gun’s bowling action became a talk of the town after his video went viral on social media. Shiva began his run-up and spun himself 360° before releasing the ball. Unfortunately, the umpire called it a dead ball.

Five years later, a Bollywood cricket movie called Ghoomar featured the protagonist who was one upper limb short. The female cricketer shown in the movie also had a similar action where she would spin around completely during the run-up before throwing the ball.

As per the laws of the game, there are no rules that have a stringent protocol on the bowler’s run-up. A bowler simply has to inform the umpire whether they would be bowling with the left arm or the right arm, pace or spin, and over or around the wicket. The umpire obliges by conveying this information to the batter.

In Shiva’s case, the bowler did say from which arm and side would he be bowling. However, since there was no rule regarding the approach in which the ball is delivered it seemed a fair delivery. Notably, there is another law in cricket which emphasises on unfair play. One of the means of unfair play is when the fielder or bowler distract the batter deliberately when he or she is about to receive a delivery. This too seemed the case in Shiva’s case, thereby justifying the umpire’s decision. A case of unfair play can often result in the opposing team be rewarded 5 points.

Though there are no rules in cricket on the type of run-up that the bowler sticks to, in fairness, the bowler must inform the batter and the umpire about their unconventional approach if they are to resort to any.

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