Pakistan cricket team’s head coach Waqar Younis is not happy with the crackdown on bowling actions being carried out by ICC, saying this will affect preparations of teams for the World Cup.
“This crackdown is going to affect the preparations of teams for the World Cup especially those teams whose bowlers are being reported,” Waqar told PTI from Lahore.
“I am not sure about the timing of these new laws being enforced by the ICC. The new protocols and technology to test bowling actions could have been done after the World Cup,” he said.
Waqar’s grievances are understandable as Pakistan have had three of their top off-spinners – Saeed Ajmal, Muhamad Hafeez and Adnan Rasool reported for suspect bowling actions since last month.
While Ajmal is suspended by the ICC from bowling in international cricket after he failed a biomechanics test and is doubtful for the World Cup, Hafeez and Rasool have been reported by match officials during the ongoing Champions League in India.
The West Indies were also hit today when match officials reported top spinner Sunil Narine.
“When bowlers are reported at any level for suspect actions it obviously affects their confidence. I know Hafeez is concerned after being reported. So it does affect your preparations for the World Cup,” Waqar said.
He also felt that the ICC might need to review its new protocol to test bowling actions. “I don’t know because cricket has changed in the last decade or so, laws have changed and so have bowling actions. Spinners now use more variation and different deliveries because they are being tested constantly in all formats with the growing popularity of T20 cricket,” the Pakistan coach said.
I would debate the timing of the ICC crackdown, he added. The ICC laws presently allow bowlers to straighten their elbows up to 15 degrees but in Ajmal’s case, during the biomechanics test in Brisbane earlier this month, his elbow straightening was close to 43 degrees. “One can understand when the ICC rule for bowling action is being stretched so far but I still have my reservations about the timing of the new protocol for bowling actions,” he added.
Since the new protocol was enforced several bowlers have either been reported or suspended, with most of them being off-spinners.
The list includes Sohag Gazi and Al-Amin Hossain of Bangladesh, Zimbabwe’s Prosper Utseya and before them Shane Shillingford of the West Indies.
Waqar also said that bowlers should have been educated about the changes in technology and protocol for testing actions so that they could have adjusted accordingly.
“The doosra delivery is an unorthodox delivery but staple for spinners and it adds value to the game. I think the ICC needs to look at this aspect. Whoever bowls the doosra will always bend his elbow more than the allowed 15 degrees because it is natural. Secondly the medical aspect while testing bowling actions should also be taken into consideration.”
But Pakistan’s former top spinner, Saqlain Mushtaq disagreed and felt the doosra could be bowled with a legal action.
Saqlain who is presently working with Ajmal in Lahore to correct his bowling action, is seen as the pioneer of doosra.
Ajmal is presently trying to correct his bowling action with the help of Pakistan’s former Test spinner Saqlain.
The PCB has also come down hard on bowlers with suspect actions and in the recent national T20 championship, at least 16 bowlers were suspended from bowling by match officials while around 28 were reported.