Mohammad Hafeez, the Professor, is yet again under scrutiny by International Cricket Council (ICC) for illegal bowling action. The all-rounder’s action was reported after the 3rd ODI against Sri Lanka. The Match referee found evidence that Hafeez’s action might have deteriorated yet again.
This is not the first time Hafeez has had to face such a situation; he has already served a 1-year bowling ban from international cricket and has been reported thrice in the last three years.
The off-spinner now has 14 days to get his bowling action tested at any of the ICC-accredited testing centers. Until then, he is clear to bowl in international games, which means that he will be available to bowl in the remainder of the matches against Sri Lanka.
However, the news comes as a shock to Sarfaraz, who almost always turns to Hafeez – one of the most economical bowlers in the world these days – when he needs to stop the flow of runs and needs to dismiss the lefties.
Providing balance in the Pakistan’s multi-faceted bowling attack, Hafeez may not always be amongst the wickets, but he has an impressive economy rate in limited over cricket, which makes him a useful asset.
Previous Instances of Suspect Action
Hafeez has a long history when it comes to suspected action. He was first reported to have an illegal action against West Indies at Brisbane in 2005, however, lenient regulations saved him.
The second time around, Hafeez came under scrutiny in the Champions League T20 in September 2014 while playing for Lahore Lions.
His action was again suspected in November 2014 in the test against New Zealand in UAE. The tests showed his arm to be bending beyond the permissible limits, therefore, he was suspended from bowling in December 2014.
Having cleared his action in an assessment test, Hafeez resumed bowling in April 2015, however, he was yet again reported in a test match against Sri Lanka in June of the same year. Failure to clear the test handed him a 1-year ban.
Hafeez rectified his action during his suspension period and returned in the national outfit against Australia earlier this year.
If a bowler is reported for a suspect action, he has to get his action tested at an ICC-accredited assessment center. If he passes an independent assessment, he can bowl in international games soon after clearing the test.
However, if the bowler is suspended twice in a 2-year period, and fails to clear the test, he is banned from bowling in international matches.
Luckily, Hafeez’s suspect action this time will be treated as the first report. If he clears the test, well and good, however, if he fails to meet the standard criteria, he will be suspended until he rectifies his action and gets it cleared from an independent assessment center.
Hafeez bowls in the nets after clearing his bowling action in December 2016.
Hafeez’s bowling in the ongoing Pakistan-Sri Lanka series.
Lets see how he fares in the bowling action test in the coming days.