Carrom ball in cricket: All you need to know

The carromball is an unusual delivery in cricket. It is used by spin bowlers often. The grip is unique as the ball is held between thumb, forefinger and middle finger of the bowling hands. The spinner flicks his thumb and bends his middle finger as he prepares to bowl the delivery. This imparts spin that batsmen cannot negotiate. This is called a carrom ball.

The current era in cricket is seeing spinners become more important than ever. To outsmart batters, spinners constantly tweak and innovate their game by adding new deliveries and changing how they bowl regular deliveries.

The T20 Cricket game is increasingly batsman-dominated. Spin bowlers often rely upon their creativity and outside-the-box thinking to determine the course of a match. This creative thinking led to the creation of the carrom ball delivery, which is considered one of the most unique in cricket.

It was revived in modern spin bowling by Ajantha Mendis from Sri Lanka and Ravichandran Ashwin from India. What is the carromball, what are its origins and why is it so popular? Let’s see:

What is carrom ball and how did it originate?

Carrom balls, also known as Sodukku balls in certain parts of India, are a type of spin-bowling conveyance that is still used in cricket. To impart spin, the ball is released by strongly flicking the ball between the thumb and bent middle finger.

Origins of the carromball can be traced back as far as the 1950s, when Jack Iverson, an Australian from Victoria, used it extensively during his Test cricket career after the Second World War.

Iverson’s actions saw him flicking the ball from his hand with his fingers. Because it was similar to a carrom player flipping a carrom disc on a board, the delivery was called the carrom ball. Carrom was a popular indoor tabletop game.

Thanks to Ajantha Mendis from Sri Lanka, who popularized it during the 2008 Asia Cup, the delivery has returned to the modern era. Ravichandran Ashwin from India, another well-known exponent of the delivery, calls it the “sodukku balls”. Sodukku, in his native Tamil language means “snapping fingers”.

This can be seen in the delivery of the ball, which is done with a “snap”, or a snap of the middle finger and thumb. Ashwin claims that he learned this style of delivery from another youth in Chennai while playing street cricket. Ashwin then perfected his delivery technique using a real cricket ball.

Ashwin won nine wickets against West Indies in his first Test match in 2011. He also got rid of Marlon Sams with the carromball in the second innings. Mitchell Santner, New Zealand’s left-handed spin bowler, is believed to be the first to use the technique in international cricket. He got rid of Pakistani batter Fakhar Zaman using a carrom ball conveyance during a one-day international match. The world of cricket was abuzz by the carrom ball delivery.

Also Read: Virat Kohli T20 Stats

Best Carrom ball bowlers in the world: Top 3

Bowler Nation Career Span International matches International wickets
Ajantha Mendis Sri Lanka 2008-2015 145 288
Ravichandran Ashwin India 2010 – present 255 659
Sunil Narine West Indies 2011 – present 122 165

Ajantha Mendis

Ajantha Mendis is credited with bringing the carromball back to modern times through his widespread usage. Mendis used the carrom ball to great effect. He was hailed as a mystery spinner during his peak and almost impossible for batsmen to match. Mendis was the Asia Cup winner against India 2008, and his carrom-ball deliveries made it a historic moment.

Mendis’s action and delivery became easier to read by the batters, despite his great debut years. He was eventually caught out, and his popularity for Sri Lanka declined slowly, until he was no longer in favour. In 2019, Mendis quit cricket.

Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin was the most prominent carrom ball bowler in his generation. He has enjoyed a long, glorious career at top. His constant improvement and tinkering has been the key to his success. Ashwin is known for using the carrom balls more than the stock delivery. He also has a tendency of placing the ball deeper in his palm, which was a sign that he was trying to improve his game.

Ashwin also uses reverse carrom, where he turns the seam and approaches the delivery at different angles to make it more unpredictable. Ashwin has taken over 440 wickets during his Test career, and has more than 600 international wickets.

Sunil Narine

Sunil Narine rose to stardom in the Indian Premier League. The franchise won the IPL title in 2014 and 2012 thanks to Narine’s performance with the Kolkata Knight Riders. His impact was also felt at international level. Batsmen were not able to understand his approach and his bowling. Narine was a master at the carrom ball and had many doosra variations.

Narine’s problem was that he didn’t change his grip for any kind of delivery. That is why he was so difficult to bat against. Unfortunately, he has had to change his action several times after being instructed by the ICC. These variations aren’t as obvious, but he is still a very efficient bowler and one of the best exponents carrom ball.


Who is known to be the inventor of the carrom ball?

Australian Jack Iverson, who played cricket in the 1950s, is believed to have invented the carrom ball for cricket.

What is Ravichandran Ashwin’s carrom ball grip?

Ravichandran Ashwin places his ball in his palm a little deeper than normal to bowl the carrom ball. He also usually bowls it faster than his stock delivery.

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