If there's one aspect of cricket that has changed significantly over time, then it probably surrounds bowling. From the early days of the game wherein under-arm bowling was the norm to the recent crackdown on illegal actions, bowlers have had to learn to adapt their trade to the situation at hand.
According to the prevailing rules and regulations in cricket, any bowling action is deemed legal as long as the bowler does not bend his elbow more than the commonly discernible point of 15 degrees. While there may not be any official MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) guideline as to what constitutes the perfect action, reputed coaches as well as long-time cricket aficionados can point out a technically strong bowler from the manner in which he transfers momentum from his run-up to the delivery stride.
Extra Cover: 5 ugly bowling actions in cricket
In no particular order, let us take a close look at the most classical bowling action seen in each of the five different categories of bowlers. Due to the paucity of technically correct options, the classification of slow left-arm chinaman has been left out. For the genre encompassing both right-armers and left-armers, the subsets of fast, fast medium, medium fast and medium are all treated alike.
#5 Left-arm fast medium - Chaminda Vaas
The biggest surprise in the article may encircle this particular segment. After all, Wasim Akram remains the bench-mark for all left-arm fast bowlers. While the Pakistani icon's sprightly bowling action helped him conquer numerous opposition batsmen by generating deceptive pace as well as sharp swing, the same action applied enormous pressure on his rotator cuff muscles. However, Chaminda Vaas' bowling action was much more textbook when compared to the elegant pacer.
Operating from a not-so-long run-up, Vaas used to bring his right arm almost parallel to his bowling arm in order to find relentless consistency. The Sri Lankan great did not quite possess searing pace to run through batting lineups. However, his nagging line and commendable tactical nous proved to be the ideal foil for Muttiah Muralitharan. Even as the legendary off-spinner sent down countless overs and amassed wickets aplenty, Vaas rarely let down his captain despite being the only reliable seamer in his team.
Vaas' remarkable tally of 355 Test wickets and 400 ODI scalps saw him become the second most prolific left-arm fast bowler in both premier formats of the game. In what should be vindication of his ability to inspire the next generation, traces of the veteran can be seen in Vishwa Fernando's bowling action.
Watch Vaas' splendid hat-trick in the 2003 World Cup