Saturday, February 12, 2005

15th degree murder

The little boy stood cowering in fear as his mother went through the contents of her purse and found several currency notes missing. She went into a frenzy, knowing fully well it was her errant son who pilfered the notes.

After letting off enough steam she asked,
"Son, did you steal 14 Rupees from my purse?"
Scared, but not petrified anymore, he replied,
"Yes mama, I did."
Relieved that she had got to the bottom of the matter, she asked,
"But, don't you know it is wrong to steal?"
"Yes mama, but it's ok to steal less than 15 Rupees, isn't it?"

That's precisely what the International Cricket Council is saying to youngsters who want to become the next Shoaib Akhtar or Muttiah Muralitharan. You can throw, feel free, but just make sure you keep the degree of flex under 15 degrees. It's tough not to be cynical when talking about the ICC. Who is to say this bar won't be raised to 30, 40 or 50 degrees when a few years down the road some scientist finds that 15 degrees is passe?

And, far more importantly, with what authority can a coach tell a young bowler that his action is illegal and needs correction? The ward can legitimately suggest that he is bending his arm, but under 15 degrees. He can tell his coach to forget his old-fashioned way of thinking, of judging a throw with the naked eye, and get with the latest technology. After all, if the International Cricket Council allows you to throw, who is a mere coach, at the school level, to tell you not to?

This new law has been widely welcomed by the great and the wise of cricket. You can be sure it has also been welcomed by the chuckers, from village green to Test arena.