Australia news October 1, 2014

Botha calls for more flexibility for spinners

ESPNcricinfo staff

Johan Botha, the former South Africa offspinner and current South Australia player, has suggested that the ICC increase the degree of permitted flex, possibly to around 20-25 degrees, following its crackdown on suspect bowling actions. Botha said easing the limits would allow spinners with different actions to compete better in a game that is dominated by batsmen.

Since June this year, ICC's match officials have reported six bowlers for suspect actions and Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal is among those who have been banned from bowling after their actions were deemed illegal during testing. In the ongoing Champions League Twenty20, four bowlers, including West Indian offspinner Sunil Narine, have been reported for suspect actions.

"I wouldn't wish it on any bowler, bowling for their careers. They are both world-class performers," Botha told the Courier Mail. "In a game where batters are dominating it is exciting to see guys with different actions.

"I understand the ICC move but the 15 degrees might have to be shifted up a bit, 20-25 degrees even, I am not sure. You don't want it blatant. However with all these guys going down and a World Cup around the corner, I, as a spectator, want to see batters working hard through the 15-40 over period when the game can die out.

"The variations of Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne made people excited and come through the turnstiles. Doosras need to be looked at but for normal spin I don't think a few degrees makes a lot of difference."

Botha has had problems with his bowling action throughout his career. He was first reported in January 2006, soon after his Test debut in Sydney, and was subsequently banned from bowling.

In August that year, his action was declared illegal once again, after which he was cleared to bowl in November. In 2009, following an ODI against Australia in Port Elizabeth, Botha was reported once again and this time the ICC ruled that his action while bowling the doosra was illegal and he was banned from bowling it. His other deliveries, however, were found to be within permissible limits. In October 2013, he was cited for a doubtful bowling action while playing for South Australia, before having his action cleared by Cricket Australia.