The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) recent crackdown on suspected chuckers has continued with the reporting of Bangladesh fast bowler Al-Amin Hossain.
The 24-year-old Hossain has been Bangladesh’s best fast bowler on their ongoing tour of the West Indies. He starred with the ball in the One-Day Internationals which the visitors lost but he was not reported then by umpiring officials for any faulty action.
Hossain was however reported for a suspect action following his team’s ten-wicket loss to West Indies in the first Test in St Vincent that ended yesterday. Al-Amin is the sixth bowler – and the first one who isn’t an offspinner – to be reported by the ICC’s match officials since July.
Al-Amin will have to get his action tested within 21 days at an ICC accredited facility either in Cardiff or Brisbane and can continue bowling in international cricket until the results of the tests are known. He is expected to play in this weekend’s second Test at the Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia.
Al-Amin’s team-mate, offspinner Sohag Gazi, also had his action reported during the limited-overs leg in the Caribbean. He has since returned home and was slated to undergo testing in Cardiff.
In the last few months, Sri Lanka offspinner Sachithra Senanayake, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, Zimbabwe’s Prosper Utseya and Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal have been reported. Senanayake, Williamson and the high profile Ajmal were subsequently banned from bowling after testing.
Ajmal was cited for throwing all of his deliveries and Pakistan officials have since sought out spin guru Saqlain Mushtaq to assist him with his rehabilitation. Last year through the aegis of the West Indies Cricket Board Mushtaq worked on a contractual basis with a number of West Indian spinners, including Shane Shillingford.
Shillingford recently returned to international cricket after also being reported for a second time for a suspect action. He was found to be throwing his doosra and has been banned from using that particular delivery. His effectiveness has noticeably diminished since the bar on the doosra.
West Indies batting allrounder Marlon Samuels was also cited for throwing his faster off-break and has been similarly barred from using that delivery.
West Indies mystery spinner Sunil Narine previously had questions raised over his action, especially during the Caribbean Twenty20 Tournament in 2011. However, he worked with bio-mechanical experts at the University of Western Australia in Perth to remove the kink in his delivery. Since that remedial action he has bowled untroubled in international cricket and domestic leagues around the world.
Over the past decade accusations of suspect actions have ended the careers of a number international bowlers including West Indies’ Jermaine Lawson and Pakistan’s Shabbir Ahmed.
The once express Lawson who made his Test debut in 2002 was reported for a suspect action the following year after his fearsome bowling against the touring Australians. He was subsequently cleared to return to international cricket after undergoing remedial action. Questions were again raised about the legitimacy of his action during West Indies’ tour of Sri Lanka, but he was again cleared by the ICC. However a change of action, decrease in pace and a spate of back injuries ended his international career in 2005 at the age of 23.
Ahmed’s two-year, 10-Test career came to an abrupt end in 2005 after being reported for the fourth time for a suspect action. He was the subject of much derision from West Indian fans during Pakistan’s 2005 tour of the Caribbean where many believed he threw every delivery.
The issue of suspect bowling actions came up during the ICC cricket committee meeting in June, where there was a general consensus among members that the methods used to detect illegal actions were imperfect. It had recommended changes to help match officials get more support from bio-mechanists in order to identify illegal actions with “more confidence”.
The current legal limit bowlers are allowed for the straightening of their arms is 15 degrees. According to the bio-mechanical experts, this means the angle or flexion at the elbow joint when the bowling arm is horizontal prior to delivery is measured, and the degree of extension that has taken place at the point of release is also measured. If the change in angle is greater than 15 degrees then a bowler’s action is considered under current ICC rulings to be illegal.
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