In the current days of batting superiority, bowling has become a rarely pursued art. In almost all formats of the sport, it is the batters who dictate proceedings and the bowlers balance out the equations with a more or less decent showdown.
However, in the midst of such astronomical flotsam and jetsam left by the batters, there are always bowlers who managed to survive and belt out top-notch performances. This story, however, isn’t about the ones who bowled one beauty after the other.
This story is about those bowlers who rocked the world for a different reason and that is unorthodox bowling actions. They are rare, to be honest, and on most occasions, they fade away sooner than expected.
However, that initial limelight that they bag in a brief period of time makes the world ponder what if these bowlers could have lasted a wee bit longer? What if the mystery would have never been unraveled? In the process of startling the batters, they sacrifice their flair at the altar of surprises.
Let us take a look at five bowlers with the most unorthodox bowling actions to date to have ruled the cricket world. Also to mention, this is a perspective-based piece and you are always welcome to add your opinions.
#1 Abdul Qadir
One of the rare leg-spinner of his time, Pakistani legend, Abdul Qadir packed a bizarre wallop with his exotic bowling style. It was an era of fast bowlers and Qadir quoted to have been blessed by the mentality and temperament of one. He would start his bowling with an initial dip and then hared in at the crease from a wide-angle. Then would arrive the menacing release from a nice high angle that would eventually take out several batters in his glittering antiquity.
#2 Colin Croft
Ideally, the running stride of a fast bowler begins from wide outside the crease and the final impact happens after he charges in and belts out a whiplash release to rattle the batter. However, Colin Croft was different as he would run in from behind the umpire, create a menacing angle with arms slightly slanting down the left and then would power the final release that spelled doom for many.
#3 Sohail Tanvir
Tanvir was an absolute revelation in the 2007 T20 World Cup not just with the ball but with the bat too. He proved extremely efficient in the initial edition of IPL, bagging the purple cap in the process. It is good to have an unusual action but it is deadly when the same is laced with a towering height of 6’5 and left-arm fast bowling. He darted in with his left arm slowly prepping for the final sling and once he arrived at the crease, he would produce a brilliant leap and then release the ball from a menacing angle that would go onto trouble the best in the world.
#4 Mike Proctor
This was one of the most surreal bowling actions you would have ever come across. To see him bowl was to savour a ritualistic dance that no history books have ever spoken of. He used to have a menacing long-run and his broad gait would have terrorized any batsman facing him without a helmet. He would hare in with his eyes set and ram that delivery onto the batter with a whirlwind of an arm that would remind everyone of those bowlers in our stories and movies who are meant to hurt the batsmen.
#5 Paul Adams
Needless to say but Paul Adams is synonymous with an unorthodox bowling act and agree or not, most of us have tried replicating his style after watching him for the first time. He would surprisingly look at the ground instead of the batsman and then rotate his arm over his twisted head and release the ball. This action not only stunned the world but it left a lot of laughter in its trail. With this unorthodox action, the chinaman spinner of South Africa bagged 134 wickets with a flickering aura of brilliance that got marred by injuries.