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Trivia: The mysterious spell of 0-0-8-0

Abdur Rehman, the Pakistan left-arm spinner, had the unique distinction of conceding eight runs wothout bowling a single legitimate delivery in the 2014 edition of the Asia Cup against Bangladesh. The left-arm spinner was barred from bowling before he had delivered a legal ball as he came on in the 11th over and bowled three consecutive full tosses above the waist. This forced umpire Johan Cloete to take him off as Rehman finished with figures of 0-0-8-0.

Cloete was indeed a tad lenient to Rehman as according to ICC’s playing conditions for ODIs, a bowler will be banned from the attack if he delivers more than one full toss above the waist.

Rehman’s first delivery was to Bangladesh left-hander Imrul Kayes. The ball slipped out of his hand and ended up high and well wide away from the off stump. It was called a no-ball. The second delivery was closer to the batsman, a tad too straighter and still chest high. Kayes pulled and was caught at deep midwicket but the replays confirmed it was a second no-ball.

At this stage, Cloete communicated to Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq but let Rehman continue anyway as he had already bowled two above the waist. However, the Pakistan spinner just couldn’t get a grip on the ball and delivered a third high full toss. This one was dispatched by Anamul Haque to the midwicket boundary. Umpire Cloete conveyed that Rehman could not continue bowling in the game and Fawad Alam completed the over.

The MCC’s Laws are slightly different for spinners and pacers when it comes to full tosses. Fast bowlers cannot bowl full tosses above waist height. But for spinners, the law says only deliveries above the shoulder are dangerous and unfair.

“A slow delivery which passes or would have passed on the full above shoulder height of the striker standing upright at the popping crease is to be deemed dangerous and unfair, whether or not it is likely to inflict physical injury on the striker,” according to Law 42.6.b.

However, the ICC’s playing conditions for ODIs treat fast bowlers and spinners alike. A bowler is warned after his first waist-high full toss, and barred from bowling if he bowls a second.

Rehman had come into the game as a replacement for Junaid Khan, who was rested. He had been impressive in his last few ODIs prior to this, clocking figures of 2/41, 4/48, 2/36, 2/23, 1/40 and 0/38. However, his ODI career came to a grinding halt with this game. His last ever ODI figures turned out to be a bizarre 0-0-8-0.


Rohit Sankar is a freelance cricket journalist stuck in a love-hate live-in relationship with the game. To rile him up, mention the 1999 World Cup semi-final. Rohit has been writing about cricket for well over 10 years now, and has written for a variety of news and sports outlets over this time.


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