India Sports
Tennis ball secret of Malinga's sling arm action
Apr 2, 2007 - 5:17:13 PM

Guyana, April 2 - Amused by Sri Lanka's curly haired fast bowler Lasith Malinga's sling arm action? Try bowling with a tennis ball and you could develop a similar bowling action.

Malinga grew up in Galle, in the south of Sri Lanka, doing just that.

'He - has come through playing tennis ball cricket, hence his exaggerated low arm action,' said Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody.

Bowl over-arm with a tennis ball and one can find the exaggerated bounce a problem.

Try it side-arm and the ball skids through normally, though you may not be good enough to take four wickets with successive balls in an one-day international, as Malinga did against South Africa in a World Cup match here Wednesday.

He thus became the first bowler in the history of one-day cricket to scalp four wickets in four consecutive deliveries.

'Thankfully, in the process of moving up to international level he hasn't been mucked about. He's been left to be as natural as possible, he's reaping the benefit and so - the team,' Moody was quoted as saying by the BBC.

After the amazing spell against South Africa, doubts were raised about the legality of Malinga's action.

Fans should not be surprised if the International Cricket Council - springs into action and inspects the bowler's action to check whether his elbow bends more that the allowed 15 degrees.

Malinga's action leaves the batsman clueless, as they can't see where the ball is coming from.

South African all-rounder Shaun Pollock must have felt the same way Wednesday when he was so confused that he asked umpire Daryl Harper to remove his hat so he could sight the delivery better, only to be bowled by a slower ball.

'He has a very unique action, unique hairstyle, he's unique in that he bowls at 90mph and is about 5ft 10ins. He is one of these unique bowlers that tend to crop up, particularly in Sri Lanka. We've had Murali who is a special bowler and this guy is a little bit different,' said Moody.

'It's surprisingly grooved. He has, over the past 12 months, continually improved his consistency with his control. So far - touch wood - he has been strong. We've rested him when we've felt that it's not time to overload him but I think he's going to be around for a while,' he said.

Moody said that the aim is to make Malinga bowl all of his overs with the same intensity and effectiveness.

'We've got to look at it realistically - he bowled poorly for six overs in that match and came back and bowled well for three overs,' he said.

'We're working on those six overs now and bottling the confidence from the three overs. He knows he is far from bowling the complete match.'

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