Zimbabwe all-rounder Prosper Utseya has become the fourth off-spinner to be reported for an illegal bowling action by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in recent months as the governing body continued their crackdown on the issue.
The off-spinner’s action raised concerns during Zimbabwe’s seven-wicket loss in the third and final one-day international against South Africa in Bulawayo on Thursday, the ICC said in a statement on Friday.
“The match officials’ report… cited concerns regarding Utseya’s arm ball and fast delivery, and concluded that the bowler’s action needed to be tested,” the governing body said.
Utseya made his international debut in 2004 and has since taken 10 wickets in four tests and 123 wickets in 156 ODIs. The right-handed batsman also has 24 wickets in Twenty20 internationals.
The 29-year-old has to undergo testing within 21 days as per the ICC regulations but can continue bowling in the triangular one-day international series against Australia and South Africa, which starts on Monday, until the results are known.
The governing body allows a 15-degree limit for all bowlers to flex their elbows but the ICC cricket committee, at its meeting in Bangalore during the first week of June, noted that there were a number of current bowlers bending that rule.
While the ICC has not given any new directive to match officials to be more vigilant about chucking, the renewed vigour in identifying bowlers with illegal actions has been evident.
“It is something they are expected to do as part of their job,” Geoff Allardice, ICC general manager for cricket, told Reuters recently.
“Although the concern about suspect actions expressed after the recent ICC cricket committee and chief executives meetings may have given the umpires greater confidence to report.”
Just after the June meeting, Sri Lanka’s Sachithra Senanayake and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson were reported and then later banned from bowling by the ICC after the off-spinners were found to have illegal actions.
Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was also reported earlier this month after the team’s defeat to Sri Lanka in the first test in Galle.
It was the second time Pakistan’s leading spinner, who has taken 178 wickets in 35 tests, has faced question marks about his bowling after being reported and later cleared for a suspect action in 2009.
Ajmal will fly to Brisbane to undergo tests on his bowling action at an ICC accredited biomechanics lab.
Top off-spinners Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka, the highest wicket-taker in tests with 800, and India’s Harbhajan Singh have also been reported for illegal actions in the past but were later cleared by the ICC.
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