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.
You 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.