Karachi, Dec 21: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) ad hoc committee on
Tuesday afternoon received a 20-minute video footage on Shoaib
Akhtar's bowling action from the International Cricket Council (ICC).
According to knowledgeable sources in the cricket headquarters in
Lahore, the PCB also received a letter dated Dec 2 from ICC manager
cricket operations Clive Hitchcock.
Hitchcock has further informed the PCB official that the nine-man
advisory panel of ICC on illegal deliveries will hold a telephone
conference call on Dec 30 to discuss Shoaib's bowling action.
Interestingly, the Pakistan team leaves for the second leg of the
Australian tour on Dec 29.
Pakistan will be represented by Imran Khan. John Reid, who has
questioned the legality of Shoaib's bowling action, will be
representing New Zealand.
However, on Tuesday, the PCB officials remained mum and maintained
that they have not received anything from the game's governing body.
Nevertheless, reliable sources confirmed to Dawn that the PCB
officials and the Australia-bound team officials watched the video
footage prepared on the instruction of Match Referee John Reid. During
the video session, Shoaib Akhtar was also present.
Sources, however, were not sure if the video included clippings on
Shoaib's bowling action in the three-Test series or from a one-day
match against Western Australia at Perth on Oct 27. That match was
supervized by Terry Prue and Ross Emerson.
Just to recap, WACA's director of umpires, Rick Evans, had submitted a
video footage on Shoaib's bowling action to the Australian Cricket
Board (ACB). But ACB chief executive Malcolm Speed had responded by
saying said that Evans had acted by himself and that matter would not
be taken further.
"The video footage had no official status as the match in question was
not sanctioned by the ICC so there was no official referee," Speed was
quoted as saying.
Sources admitted that in the video, Shoaib Akhtar's bowling action was
captured from different camera angles. The clippings also includes
actions in slow motion.
Sources in the board said the team management has been asked to submit
their views on the footage and ICC letter. They added that the PCB
would dispatch its point of view by the end of this week.
A team official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said if the
advisory panel of the ICC had any doubts in the Dec 30 conference
call, the paceman might return from Australia.
"But it is inappropriate that the conference call has been set for Dec
30 when the ICC is aware that the Pakistan team would leave on Dec 29
for Australia for the tri-nation series which begins on Jan 9. We (the
PCB) feels that it is an attempt to further humiliate the bowler
because the issue was raised in Australia and if he is not cleared by
the ICC panel, he would not be allowed to play in Australia," sources
Commenting on Clive Hitchcock's letter, sources said the ICC has not
asked the PCB to withdraw Shoaib Akhtar from the squad. They said
Match Referee (John Reid) and the two umpires (Darrell Hair and Peter
Willey) have questioned "the straightening of Shoaib's arm immediately
before a bouncer or an express fast delivery."
Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam threw his weight behind Shoaib Akhtar
saying that the pacer had a perfect bowling action.
"As far as I am concerned, he is a text book fast bowler.
"Had I been a match referee, I would have appreciated the talent
instead of putting his career on line," Intikhab, also an ICC match
referee, said from Lahore on telephone.
Intikhab believed that it was a pressure tactic to psychologically
disturb the key Pakistan bowler on the eve of the series which is
billed as one of the most thrilling series in a decade.
Intikhab said the ICC and ACB have been trying to sweep Brett Lee's
issue under the carpet and targeting Shoaib. "If the ICC feels any
suspicious about Shoaib's action, then it should alsotake action
against Lee who was picked on Tuesday in Australia's second Test squad
against India. "India has been questioning the bowling action of Lee,"