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‘How low is a legal sidearm delivery?’: Riyan Parag’s variation ball raises eyebrows

Riyan Parag bowled a highly interesting over – starting with off spin, then bowling a very low sidearm delivery that made the commentary box explode in surprise and then an off spin delivery which claimed a wicket.

Riyan Parag went as low as legally allowed in cricket to release a ball when bowling to Chris Gayle during the Punjab Kings innings against Rajasthan Royals in the IPL on Monday. The umpire was seen having a word with the bowler after the delivery, as the commentary box exploded in surprise.

“How low is a legal sidearm delivery?” was the question raised by Harsha Bhogle. “Underarm deliveries are not allowed any more, as the Australians know well,” he said.

“Extraordinary!” was how former India spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan exclaimed. Michael Slater said that Parag seemed to have “got away with it”. The umpire, however, was seen having a word with the bowler, possibly telling him that he cannot go any lower than that.

Two balls later, as KL Rahul turned the strike back to Gayle, Parag was the one who had the last laugh — with a more conventional delivery. Gayle was caught in the deep by Ben Stokes to give Parag his first wicket of the season.

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Parag had started the over with leg spin, and with the surprise round-arm ball slipped in the middle, had reverted to off spin to get the wicket of Gayle.

Indian cricketer Kedar Jadhav, who was picked by Sunrisers Hyderabad before IPL 2021, is known to have bowled sidearm deliveries often, but as the commentary box pointed out, Parag’s sidearm delivery was released from a considerably lower height than Jadhav’s delivery.

Sanju Samson, captaining Rajasthan Royals for the first time, won the toss and chose to field first against Punjab Kings. Royals debutant Chetan Sakariya took the first wicket of the match as the renamed Punjab franchise started their season.

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