After a successful career put to shame due to suspect bowling action allegations, Mohammad Hafeez has expressed his concern over International Cricket Council’s (ICC) methods.
The veteran all-rounder was suspended three times by the ICC and was recently cleared to bowl again. However, Hafeez claims that he holds no agenda against ICC and termed their methods as ‘suspicious’.
Speaking to a renowned news media outlet, Hafeez said:
There are so many things influencing [who gets called for suspect actions], it has a lot to do with the power of [some] boards and nobody wants to take them on. Mostly there are soft corners and relations between people which no one wants to spoil. What I say is why not implement the rule and get every bowler in the world to go through [the testing process]. What’s the difficulty in that?
The off-spinner claims that he was rather surprised to have been pointed out for the third time. According to Hafeez, “you cannot judge from the naked eye.”
When match umpires called me [for a suspect bowling action], I went for my test only to find the flex was recorded up to 16, 17 and 18 degrees.
I was surprised: how can anyone with the naked eye see flex from 15 to 16, and at times they are not able to call those whose flex is 25 and even 30-plus.
So I have my doubts about this [calling system]. This is suspicious, why are match referees or on-field umpires not able to see those flexing up to 35 but me with 16 degrees?
The process was previously questioned by former Pakistani spinner, Saeed Ajmal. In a TV show, he claimed that ICC’s decisions are largely driven by favoritism. He made several accusations against spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and that his action also needs to be checked. Saeed Ajmal also claimed that he had a physical disability which led to a slightly irregular bowling action and the ICC had previously allowed him to bowl despite the irregular extension in his bowling arm.
During the previous decades, we have seen Shoaib Akhtar and Muralitharan be allowed to bowl in international cricket due to their physical disabilities which often appear similar to an illegal action due to a flexible extension in the arm.
Here is a video of the interview where Ajmal asked questions with real merit: