In Cricket there are a few rules that I am aware of that deal with understanding what constitutes a fair delivery or not that I know of.

One rule is that the bowler cannot bowl from below their waist height (to prevent underarm deliveries).

Another rule is that once the bowling arm has reached shoulder height in the performing of a delivery, the arm cannot change its degree of bend by more than 15 degrees until the ball has been released.

This brings up the question in my mind, if a bowler bowled a ball with their arm above waist height at all time, but never above shoulder height, then is there any rule that says they can't bend/straighten their arm this way (since the bending rule only applies when the bowling arm raises above shoulder height)?

1 Answer 1


One rule is that the bowler cannot bowl from below their waist height

This is not exactly correct; the Law 21.1.2 simply specifies that "Underarm bowling shall not be permitted" and does not attempt to precisely define what is "underarm bowling". This may seem pedantic, but as your question is based on the letter of the Law rather than the spirit, it is important to get these things correct.

since the bending rule only applies when the bowling arm raises above shoulder height

I would disagree with this. Law 21.2 specifies "For a delivery to be fair in respect of the arm the ball must not be thrown."; the second paragraph of 21.2 should be interpreted as one definition of a throw, but not the only one. A bowler doing something like a baseball sidearm/submarine pitch is clearly throwing the ball, and should be no-balled for doing so. I accept that a team could try to make the same argument based on a literal reading of the rules that you are making here, and then appeal to the appropriate governing body if a no-ball were called. At that point, the governing body will tell them to stop being stupid.

The other option available to the umpires in this situation is simply to deem this tactic unfair play, which they are entitled to do via Law 41:

The umpires shall be the sole judges of fair and unfair play. If an umpire considers that any action by a player, not covered in the Laws, is unfair, he/she shall call and signal Dead ball

and if the action is then repeated, award penalty runs to the batting side. That will very quickly stop this tactic.

  • I can't find where in the Laws exactly it states it, but there are multiple websites that suggest the "below the waist" rule defines what an underarm delivery is. I suppose your mention of Law 41 would cover just about any loophole. Since standard bowlers bend and then straighten their arm prior to it reaching shoulder height, an argument could be made that when bowlers bowl with a completely side-on arm they should have some point in their delivery in which they are allowed to bend and then straighten their arm as well? I know I am being pedantic, apologies in advance haha.
    – James
    Jan 31, 2021 at 1:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.