On the third day of an Under-23 CK Nayudu Trophy match between Bengal and Uttar Pradesh in Kalyania, near Kolkata, Uttar Pradesh’s left-arm spinner Shiva Singh, bowling to a right-handed batsman, came up with a never-seen-before bowling run-up that not only bamboozled the batsman but also caught the fancy of fielders and even the umpire.

The spinner, who was a part of India’s Under-19 World Cup-winning team last year, took a 360-degree swivel just before delivering the ball, a moniker which we are so used to associating with Proteas legend AB de Villiers.

The on-field umpire, Vinod Seshan, immediately called it a ‘dead-ball’ even though the bowler should be appreciated for his pinpoint accuracy as he made the ball to pitch it on and around the middle and leg stump as the batsman made a gentle forward push.

The Indian cricket board – BCCI also shared the video on their Facebook page (Indian Cricket Team). The video was also tweeted by the legendary Indian spinner Bishan Singh Bedi on his official Twitter handle.

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which lays down rules for international cricket worldwide, was asked to deliver its verdict on whether the ball can be deemed legal or not.

Under Law 21.1, the bowler must state his/her mode of delivery, which seems to have been left arm round the wicket in this case, but does not state how conventional the bowler’s approach should be.

Law 41.4 states:

41.4.1 It is unfair for any fielder deliberately to attempt to distract the striker while he/she is preparing to receive or receiving a delivery.

41.4.2 If either umpire considers that any action by a fielder is such an attempt, he/she shall immediately call and signal Dead ball and inform the other umpire of the reason for the call.

20.4.2 Either umpire shall call and signal Dead ball when intervening in a case of unfair play. There is an instance of a deliberate attempt to distract under either of Laws 41.4 (Deliberate attempt to distract striker) or 41.5 (Deliberate distraction, deception or obstruction of batsman). The ball shall not count as one of the over.

Another point made by the law is for the umpire to decide if he felt the action was done in order to distract the striker.

This is what the MCC said on Shiva's 360-degree run-up:

“The Law states that the offence is the attempt to distract the striker, rather than the striker actually being distracted. Consequently, it was for the umpire to decide if he felt that the tactic was done as an attempt to distract the striker.

“Unless the 360 degree twirl was part of the bowler’s run-up for every ball, the umpire may need to consider whether he/she feels that the twirl was done in an attempt to distract the batsman in some way. This is particularly so if there was no apparent advantage to be gained from the twirl, unlike, for example, the bowler varying the width of the release point or the length of his/her run-up, which are entirely lawful.

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“Stuart Broad received a warning from the match referee during a match against South Africa in 2009 for pointing at the cover fielder during his run-up, as it was felt to be a distraction tactic.

“If the batsman is distracted, he/she is entitled to withdraw from his/her stance and, if the umpire feels there has been a deliberate attempt to distract, then the procedure in Law 41.4 will be followed, including the awarding of 5 Penalty runs.

“This will depend on the facts on the day, which the umpire must interpret based on all the evidence. 

“If the striker has not been distracted, play can continue as normal unless the umpire intervenes and calls Dead ball under either of Laws (when there has been unfair play) or (when Law 41.4 above has been breached.)

“Again, this is up to the umpire based on his/her interpretation of the facts on the day.

“The umpire in this example felt that Law 41.4 had been breached, but it is not clear from the footage or reports whether or not he awarded 5 Penalty runs to the batting side.”