General English


  • adjective using a bowling action in which the arm ‘is swung nearly pendulum-wise very much as it is at the game of bowls’ (Ranjitsinhji 1897). Originally all bowling was underarm, but with the acceptance of roundarm bowling in 1835 ‘the under-hand delivery tapered down in a few seasons to such small dimensions as to become kinsman to a curiosity’ (Box 1868). The only real survivor of this change was the lob-bowler, who could still be found even at the highest levels of the game until the beginning of the first world war (
    See lob
    ). The underarm delivery was used as recently as 1981 at international level, on the notorious occasion when Australia’s Trevor Chappell bowled a daisy-cutter as the last ball of a one-day game against New Zealand for the World Series Cup, thus ensuring that New Zealand could not get the six runs they needed to tie the match. Until the revision of the code in 2000, the Laws still permitted underarm bowling, provided the bowler informed the umpire of his intentions. But current rules state that ‘Underarm bowling shall not be permitted except by special agreement before the match’(Law 24 §1).
    See bowling
  • verb to throw the ball with an underarm action when fielding
    Citation ‘When the last ball was bowled, Carl Rackemann was tardy in starting for the bye to win the game as wicketkeeper Jeff Dujon underarmed the ball into the wicket for the run out’ (Phil Wilkins, Cricketer April 1984)


  • adjective carried out with the arm kept below shoulder height and usually close to the body