The carrom ball

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< 1 minute read

Ajantha Mendis’s ‘carrom ball’ does look to be pretty much a new delivery. Inventing a new delivery is a pretty brash thing to do. It’s almost like discovering a new colour or introducing a new letter into the alphabet. We should have all the deliveries already – cricket’s been around for bloody ages.

Doubtless people have done similar things before now, but perhaps not in exactly the same way and certainly not to the extent that the delivery’s been branded, as the carrom ball has. Maybe previous trailblazers just didn’t have a good name. You’ve got to have a name.

The carrom ballYou can probably get a decent idea of what he does from the picture on the right.

His middle finger is bent down along the side of the ball. When he releases it, he flicks that finger, spinning the ball in the same direction as a leg-break.

He seems to have good control over where it lands as well, which is pretty astonishing. It might just get him the odd wicket, you know.

The name derives from the Indian table-top game ‘carrom’ where you use a similar flicking technique.


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  1. In Pakistan tens of thousands bowl this delivery. Over there it is called the “Finger”. However it is bowled with a tennis or taped tennis ball.

  2. Im not sure if Carrom is an Indian board game… its quite common in Pakistan as well. Im not sure of the origins but Wikipedia mentions China, Yemen, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and other African countries as possibile originators.

    “Carrom Board” as it is called is played on a wooden square with 4 pockets in the 4 corners.

    Instead of shooting spheres with sticks in Billiards, here one shoots round tiles (they look like poker chips) with fingers.

    There’s one striker that is the equal of the white ball in billiards using which u try and ‘pot’ the remaining tiles.

    The reason Mendis’ delivery is termed the ‘carrom ball’ is because the strike in carrom is flicked exactly the same way/

    And as Arif points out – the ball has been bowled forever on Pakistan’s streets but with a tennis or a taped tennis ball.

    I have never seen anyone, But Mendis ofcourse, do it so consistently and perfectly with a cricket ball.

  3. Incidentally, as any fule kno, Mendis is a leading brand of arrack, a rather fine distilled coconut sap spirit much beloved of Sri Lankans:

    Think Malibu crossed with whiskey.

  4. Do NOT talk to us about arrack, fenny or any other variant thereof.

    We haven’t forgiven it yet.

  5. Carrom ball has given birth to new words like Carromed-out / Carrom Break / the Carrom / Carrom Spin / Carrom Spinner / Carrom Bowling.

    There is now a third category of spin bowling after Leg Spin and Off Spin. It is called Carrom Spin.

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