Imitating Bowlers’ Actions

Did anyone else catch the IPL4 moment when a bowler — I think it was Manpreet Gony — used Lasith Malinga’s ‘slinga’ action instead of his own? As I remember it, the experiment didn’t work so well, with the balls landing wide off the off-stump. But I recall a certain amount of shock: a bowler’s action is his signature, almost his DNA. It’s exceedingly rare to see one bowler’s action look like another (Munaf Patel currently tops my list for Glenn McGrath impersonations).

So, for example, you will notice, as I wrote earlier, that every bowler has a personal habit — Malinga kisses the ball; Sreesanth has to put his hands out and calm himself; M. Morkel has to do a semi-circle before he begins his run-up; H. Singh has to cast his arms back (which Vettori kindly mocked at one point during the Ind-N.Z. series). Bowlers are creatures of habit — they have to do the same thing over and over again, and it helps if they can focus on the tiny things they need to change (a hint of swing, a change in line), rather than what needs to stay constant (their action). It’s always shocking, then, to see bowlers do strange things and abandon routine, as Gony did.

Anyway: I recall imitating a bowler’s action to be one of the chief delights of alley cricket. I remember pompously telling a friend — I was in 5th grade, mind you — that my decision to bowl like Allan Donald had clearly delivered measurable improvements. Imitating Kumble and Srinath was also a particular favorite — Srinath’s action was incredibly complicated but also beautiful in its flow. Which action did you guys pick?

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8 thoughts on “Imitating Bowlers’ Actions

  1. Rishabh says:

    It was Vinay Kumar who imitated Malinga. He must have tried it before too, because that kind of action can run pretty wild.

    Watching Kumble made me turn to legspin, and naturally I started out with his bouncy action. Being a different kind of bowler, though, I’ve had to put my own spin on it to get that flow and rhythm going.

  2. WIndian Patrick Patterson, Malcolm Marshall’s run up, Allan Donald’s jump and that ‘aiming action’ while jumping, Shoeib Akhtar’s everything, Shane Warne’s everything and Ajit Agarkar’s sudden burst of sprinting before reaching crease…. yeh, that’s about it, I have always tried to imitate.

  3. raj says:

    For my generation, it was Abdul Qadir. heck, even Sunil Gavaskar paid a tribute in a test match 🙂

  4. raj says:

    And confession time – I have actually bowled left handed just to imitiate my hero(:bowhead: :youknowiwasyoungandimpressionable:)…Ravi Shastri!

  5. […] another bowler’s action. I  thought a bowler’s action was sacred stuff; each one has his own signature (and each with his own tell). For Sharma to think he could just be like Zaheer by, um, being Zaheer […]

  6. pan perera says:

    no one can imitate malinga. but you could try…….. for fun.

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